I become really excited about culinary discoveries that are ancient to the world but new to me! And Loomi is a sub-lime find!
Is there any Loomi, also known as Black Limes, sitting in your pantry? Compared to the refreshing attraction of ripe limes, Loomi has little eye appeal. The dark shriveled pods are lightweight and resemble something discovered in a long forgotten mercantile. The intensely aromatic, fermented flavor infuses food with a distinct tartness, lacking the sweetness of fresh limes.
The Silk Road Spice Merchant, located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, offers the following description...
Categories: Spices, Citrus & Acidulents
Cuisines: Middle Eastern
Loomi (known variously as Black Limes, Black Lemons, Omani Lemons and many more names), are dried, preserved limes used widely in Middle Eastern cuisine. They are made by boiling limes in brine and then sun-drying them until the inside pulp turns black.
Their flavour is very intense, and they add an unmistakable tartness to food that is particularly suited to soups and stews. To use them, simply puncture the lime a few times with a fork and simmer in a dish, or grind to a powder in a spice grinder.
Wikipedia gives this explanation...
Black limes are usually used in legume, seafood or meat dishes. They are pierced, peeled or crushed before adding them to the dish. After cooking they become softer and edible. They can also be powdered and added to rice dishes. Powdered black lime is also used as an ingredient in Gulf-style baharat (a spice mixture which is also called kabsa or kebsa). It is a traditional ingredient of Arabic cooking and also Persian.
It is possible that I have actually tasted this exotic spice while dining in Middle Eastern restaurants; nonetheless, I have never experimented with it in my own cooking. I'll be sharing the results.