Lime juice is mainly used in adding sour to many Thai dishes. this juice also has a strong citrus aroma and flavour and is a staple in Southeast Asia.
The only single word “lime” is quite broad which can cause misunderstanding for many. Therefore, whenever we talk about “lime juice” in this site, it refers to the juice of the มะนาว (Manāw) fruit, also well known as key lime, Mexican lime and West Indian lime. It is a kind of the lime in the species of Citrus aurantiifolia, which is native to Southeast Asia and made its apparent way from there to the Middle East and North Africa, then to Sicily and Andalucía and via Spanish explorers to the West Indies, including the Florida Keys. It is a shrubby tree, to 5 m, with many thorns. Its fruit is a globose fruit, 2.5-5 cm in diameter, with high vitamin C content, that is yellow when ripe, but usually picked green commercially.
The fruit has a high content of essential oils, such as citronellal, citronellyl acetate, limonene, linalool, terpineol etc., and alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA) like citric, malic and ascorbic acids.
In Thailand, only the juice of this fruit is mostly used part in Thai cuisine. However, in some places where have a shortage of makrut lime leaves and rind, people may make use of its leaves and rind instead. This lime has flowers and fruit throughout the year, but sometimes has some shortages in the dry season, so the Thais sometimes make use of tamarind paste instead. Also, pickled lime is used in making some Thai soups in Thai Chinese style.