What Makes Padma Lakshmi's Chicken Soup So Unique

Recently, Padma Lakshmi shared her chicken soup recipe on Instagram. While grandma's recipe might be the cure for all that ails you, Lakshmi's recipe has an unique ingredient that adds umami to every spoonful. As explained in the video, Lakshmi used Persian dried lemons, also known as Omani limes. The fermented limes are a pantry item that can be found at a spice store or other specialty market. According to Lakshmi, the Persian dried lemons have fermented, dark taste instead of a bright citrus flavor.

In this recipe, Lakshmi smashes the fruit with a mallet, but she also suggests that the Omani limes can be pierced with a knife. By breaking up the entire lime into pieces, Lakshmi explains that it allows all the bold flavor to permeate the broth. After the broth simmers, Lakshmi separates and blends the Persian dried lemons and spices into a paste to put back into the soup for added depth. While sometimes soup can take a long time to develop its layers, this special ingredient could be the bold twist that makes everyone ask what makes it so different. More importantly, it wouldn't have anyone telling the cook to pack their knives and go.

How to use Omani limes

Though Padma Lakshmi used hers in a soup, Omani limes, or Persian dried limes, could be a flavor enhancer for a variety of dishes. According to Serious Eats, the limes can be a substitute for sour or citrus flavors. While there is no mistaking that they are limes, the fermented quality brings a vinegar note. Given that these limes are usually reasonably priced, the value makes it a great substitute for expensive vinegars.

In addition to using it as a flavoring agent in a broth, you can grind these limes into a powder to use as a rub. This can add a touch of "funk," or be used as an alternative to coriander on a steak. The limes can also be used to add flavor to other proteins such as chicken, fish, or legumes. Given that the hint of acid can cut through the richness of a dish, these Persian limes might be the secret ingredient that you do not want to share with your foodie friends.