If you love the flavors of Southeast Asian and Thai cuisine — such as makrut lime leaves (aka Thai lime) and coconut — then you’ll LOVE this simple kuzu pudding recipe. It’s easy to make, silky smooth, and amazingly delicious.
First, a quick primer on two key ingredients in this recipe, just in case you’re not familiar with them:
1. Makrut lime leaves
Makrut limes leaves (aka kaffir or Thai limes) are a staple in Southeast Asian cuisines. The leaves taste like lime combined with lemongrass with subtle spicy notes.
The mature leaves are what are commonly used, either fresh or dried. We grow our own makrut lime tree, so we get to use all edible parts of the plant: mature leaves, delicate immature leaves, flower petals, and fruit.
To learn more about makrut lime trees and their uses, read our article: How to grow and use makrut limes (Citrus hystrix).
2. Kuzu starch
We live in the southeastern US (South Carolina), whose hot humid environment is ideal for the infamous kudzu plant. Kudzu is a giant vining legume that is rightly considered a noxious invasive plant here since it blankets entire fields and forest edges, drowning out competing/native plants.
However, in Southeast Asia (where kudzu is native) it’s a revered food plant that doesn’t grow out of control. The leaves, flowers, and roots are all eaten by people — and even considered to be medicinal.
“Kuzu starch” is the powder made from kudzu roots. Similar to corn starch or other starches, kuzu starch can be used to thicken soups, sauces, drinks, or desserts. Kuzu starch is tasteless and creates a silky-smooth thickened texture.
Nope, we didn’t make our own kuzu starch, we purchased ours from Eden Organics. (Their kuzu starch is made from Pueraia lobata roots, one of multiple Pueraia species commonly called kuzu or kudzu.
In this makrut lime leaf, coconut milk, and kuzu pudding recipe:
- makrut lime leaves are the prominent flavor,
- coconut milk provides the rich, creamy backbone,
- honey is the sweetener, and
- kuzu starch is the thickener.
One egg yolk (ideally a duck egg yolk but a large chicken egg yolk is fine too) also serves to add body and thickener to the pudding. We also added:
- a splash of fresh Meyer lemon juice to bump up the acid, and
- a pinch of salt to turn up the volume on all the flavors.
Important recipe notes
1. Using makrut leaves, fresh or dried
This recipe only uses six makrut lime leaves, but that’s all you need to get a ton of flavor.
Do note that we used fresh leaves harvested directly off our tree, which means maximum flavor. Dried or frozen leaves are fine too, but they might not pack quite the same punch as fresh. And flavor may vary depending on the brand and drying methods used. Experiment as needed.
Regardless, your aim is to extract as much flavor as possible from your makrut lime leaves then strain them out. If using fresh leaves, we recommend cutting them into small 1/2 – 1″ pieces then quickly crushing them in your hands before adding them to the coconut milk.
We used a saucepan that has a strainer on the front of the lid, making it easy to strain out the leaves at the same time as we tempered the egg/honey/kuzu mixture. If you don’t have a straining saucepan, you can strain out the leaves prior to tempering the egg/honey/kuzu mixture.
2. Kuzu starch (or substitute)
We’d highly recommend using kuzu starch for this recipe. It provides a silky-smooth finish AND it’s an authentic Southeast Asian starch.
Our kuzu starch comes out of the bag like small rocks. Thus, we ground it into a fine powder before using it. Be sure your kuzu is also finely powdered prior to use so it can thicken your pudding without forming chunks.
If you don’t have kuzu starch, make sure to use proper substitution ratios for whatever starch you do use.
We used immature makrut lime leaves and makrut lime flower petals as a garnish. If you have a makrut lime tree, these delightful ingredients are available in early spring.
The immature leaves are purple, tender, and exquisitely flavorful. Makrut lime flower petals are our favorite edible citrus flower: they’re soft, tender, and sublime.
Other possible garnishes to consider: shredded coconut, citrus zest, cinnamon, or nutmeg.
6. Let it cool before eating!
When making this recipe for the first time, The Tyrant and I tasted it while it was still hot on the stove. We were a little disappointed and thought we were going to have to make more revisions because the makrut lime leaf flavor wasn’t as strong as we wanted and it was too sweet for our tastes…
Then we tasted the pudding after it cooled. It was perfect. The makrut lime flavor came out to party and the honey-sweet was now in perfect balance. Recipe ready to share!
Recipe: Makrut lime leaf, coconut milk, and kuzu pudding (honey-sweetened)
Makrut lime leaf, coconut milk, and kuzu pudding (honey-sweetened)
A silky smooth, decadent pudding recipe packed with Southeast Asian flavors (makrut/Thai lime and coconut) and thickened with kuzu starch.
- 1 can unsweetened organic coconut milk (full fat) (1 can = 13.5 fl oz)
- 1 egg yolk (preferably duck egg or large chicken egg)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 6 large makrut lime leaves, fresh or dried, chopped into 1/2 - 1" pieces (if using fresh leaves, also crush in hand just before adding leaves to help extract more flavor)
- 2 tbsp kuzu starch, finely powdered
- 1 tbsp fresh Meyer lemon juice (optional, but recommended since it adds a nice touch of acid to balance things out)
- pinch of salt
- optional garnishes: immature purple-colored makrut lime leaves, makrut lime flower petals, light dusting of cinnamon or nutmeg
Put coconut milk and *chopped makrut lime leaves into saucepan over medium-low heat with lid on - you don't want too much water to evaporate. (*If using fresh makrut leaves, also crush the leaves in your hand before adding.) Remove lid and stir every few minutes to ensure ingredients aren't scalding in bottom of pan. If coconut milk starts to boil, immediately remove pan from heat, turn down burner, and let cool for a minute before returning to heat. You're trying to get the makrut lime leaf flavor to infuse the coconut milk without burning it, which will take about 20 minutes.
After the coconut milk & makrut leaves have been heating for about 20 minutes, start the next piece of the recipe... Combine honey and egg yolk in a mixing bowl and vigorously whisk until mixture is fully combined, about 2 minutes (it still has a thick consistency, but will be lighter/runnier than honey). Add finely powdered kuzu starch and whisk again for about a minute.
Next you'll need to strain out the makrut leaves from the coconut milk and start tempering the egg/kuzu/honey mixture (pouring all the hot coconut milk in at once will make the yolk and kuzu a chunky mess). How you do this will vary based on whether you used a saucepan with a straining lid on it (option 1) OR you have to strain the leaves out through a separate strainer before tempering (option 2).
Option 1: While whisking vigorously, slowly pour about 1/4 of the hot coconut milk into the egg/honey/kuzu mixture through the strainer lid on your saucepan. Once mixed, add another 1/4 of the mix, then another until all ingredients have been combined, whisking constantly.
Option 2: Strain out the makrut leaves by pouring the coconut milk through a strainer into a pouring dish/large measuring cup. Then pour the coconut milk back into the saucepan and heat for another minute. Now it's time to temper the egg/honey/kuzu mixture with a SMALL amount of hot makrut-infused coconut milk. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour about 1/4 of the hot coconut milk into the egg/honey/kuzu mixture through a strainer. Once mixed, add another 1/4 of the mix, then another until all ingredients have been combined, whisking constantly.
Transfer ingredients from mixing bowl back into saucepan over medium-low heat and add salt and lemon juice (lemon juice optional, but recommended). Continue cooking for about 10 minutes until mixture thickens, whisking regularly so it doesn't burn or form chunks. Transfer to serving bowls, let cool to room temp before serving (or put in fridge if serving later). You'll be amazed at how the flavor of the pudding develops after it cools (the makrut leaf flavor really intensifies). Once cooled, garnish and serve.
We hope you enjoy this Thai-inspired kuzu pudding, flavored with makrut lime leaves, coconut, and honey!
Chew on more citrus articles from Tyrant Farms:
- How to grow and use makrut limes (Citrus hystrix).
- Potted citrus garden video tour
- How to grow citrus in pots in any climate zone
- All about calamondin or calamansi fruit – with recipe roundup
- Thai tom kha gai soup with makrut lime leaves and maitake mushrooms