Dried lime (also known as: black lime; noomi basra (Iraq); limoo amani (Iran); limoo (Oman)) is a lime that has lost its water content, usually after having spent a majority of their drying time in the sun. They are used whole, sliced or ground, as a spice in Middle Eastern dishes. Originating in the Persian Gulf -- hence the Persian name limoo amani (Omani limes) and Iraqi name noomi basra (lemon from Basra) -- dried limes are popular in cookery across the Middle East.
Dried limes are used to add a sour flavor to dishes, through a process known as souring. In Persian cuisine, they are used to flavor stews and soups. Across the Persian Gulf, they are used cooked with fish, whereas in Iraq they are powdered and added to rice dishes and stuffing. Also, they're made into a warm drink called Hamidh (sour). Powdered dried lime is also used as an ingredient in Persian Gulf-style baharat (a spice mixture which is also called kabsa or kebsa). It is a traditional ingredient of Arabic and Persian cooking.
Dried limes are strongly flavored. They taste sour and citrusy like a lime but they also taste earthy and somewhat smoky and lack the sweetness of fresh limes. Because they are preserved they also have a slightly bitter, fermented flavor, but the bitter accents are mainly concentrated in the lime's outer skin and seeds.
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