Black limes, a staple of Middle Eastern cooking, give this amazing braised chicken an intense tanginess.

By Andrew Zimmern
March 24, 2014

I got hooked on salted dried limes in India, and then fell in love when I ate them in Syria. Often referred to as loomi or lumi, these limes are crucial to the authentic cooking of the Middle East and northern India. The flavor of these limes is intense. They're citrusy, then explode in musty, fermented notes that dance away as you breathe and eat. I grind them in a mortar and pestle after halving them and removing the seeds. I use them to season lobster or shrimp before grilling or to rub onto fish before roasting. I also use them most elegantly in a spring stew like this one. They are available at or at any Middle Eastern or Indian market.

One tip: For fish or shellfish, you can sprinkle on the limes before cooking, because the cooking time is short. For chicken or pork, make a seasoned paste with the dried black lime, some olive oil, herbs, garlic, shallots, chiles and other seasonings, rub it on the meat, let sit for 24 hours and then cook. This amazing braise is ideal for all seasons and is delicious cold as well. Serve with seasoned couscous, rice, farro or other grain. Get the Recipe

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