Why Omani Loomi (Dried Limes) is a Must-Have Ingredient in Your Kitchen

Skip the fridge and look into your pantry the next time you need a fragrant citrus burst for your salads, grilled salmon, or stews. You’re looking for black lime, a dried lime spice from Persia. Even if you are unfamiliar with Persian cuisine, you will quickly discover that this will become your secret weapon in the kitchen. Chefs like Ottolenghi have been striving for years to get loomi or dried limes out of Middle Eastern family kitchens and into the mainstream. So, what are they, and how do you use them?

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What are black dried limes?

Black limes are essentially fresh limes that have been blanched in salt water (which means they have been briefly scalded in boiling water before being plunged into freezing water) and dried until rock hard, resulting in golf-sized, brown to black-colored balls with a brittle texture that easily yields to a grinder. While black limes are usually sun-dried on banana-leaf mats, they can also be produced in an oven or dehydrator. Dried limes will likely take two days to manufacture in the oven, but the finished product can be stored for up to two years. When the lime is light and hollow, it is ready. Dried limes, also known as limu Omani (‘Omani’ since it was initially developed in Oman), are an important flavoring ingredient in the cuisines of Iran, Iraq, and other Gulf States. Originally, they were obtained in this location by leaving the limes to dry on the trees rather than collecting them. With only a sprinkle of this basic ingredient, you can transform various recipes.

How do black dried limes taste?

Sour and aromatic, like concentrated fresh limes, but beyond the obvious citrus flavor, dried limes offer sour, fermented notes that give it a richness that its brilliant green predecessors did not have. Its flavor, similar to that of the more popular sumac, is the foundation of many stews and braises prevalent in Middle Eastern cuisines, bringing life to heavy meat dishes and otherwise dull vegetables.

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How to Use Dried Black Lime?

These are natural flavor bombs that come in two types: whole or powder. When black limes are left whole, such as in soups or stews, they rehydrate and infuse the cooking liquids with their flavors. Before use, thoroughly wash and puncture them with a sharp knife to allow them to succumb to the liquid. Another option is to ground it into a powder that can be used as a spice or garnish. Ground black lime powder is delicious as a marinade for poultry or a garnish for salads, meats, and pasta. Cocktail mixologists understand how to make the most of this astringent, sour spice. Black lime powder, whether used to rim glasses or to dip fruit garnish slices in, adds drama to any good cocktail.

Traditional concoctions seasoned with black lime

One of the most common uses for black lime is loomi tea, a sour drink popular throughout the Middle East. Combining rum with angostura bitters gives you a very artistic drink. Black limes are also often used to season fish and other meats, such as chicken, on the Arabian Peninsula. This spice, for example, is important to Bahrain’s most iconic cuisine, chicken machboos, a spicy chicken and rice dish that includes rosewater and Baharat, a typical Middle Eastern spice blend.

What is the chemical make-up of Loomi?

Learn about the chemical makeup of Sun-Dried Lime or Noomi Basra. In a serving size: 1 tsp. (2g) Black lime or sun-dried lime contain:

Calories 0, Fat Cal.0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Sat Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholest. 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 0mg (1% DV), Total Carb.1g (0% DV) Fiber (0%DV), Sugars (0%DV), Protein (0%DV), Vitamin A (0%DV), Vitamin C (2%DV), Calcium (4%DV), Iron (4%DV).

What can I do with Loomi?

See how to use dried lime in your cooking and beverages. Loomi / black limes/sun dried limes are extremely hard and need some effort to grind. You can do this at home by wrapping the sun-dried limes in a towel and crushing them with a hammer. The remaining large pieces can then be ground in a spice mill or using a mortar and pestle. Instead, pierce a whole noomi basra with a fork and submerge the fruit in your meal for flavor absorption. When used whole, just puncture the skin to allow liquids to travel through the black lime and into your meal.

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  • Tagines, stews, soups, fish, grilled meats, and vegetables are all flavored with sun-dried lime.
  • Sun-dried lime can flavor rice, chickpeas, or lentils by adding it straight to boiling water.
  • Black limes are used in soups, meat dishes, rice, and stews to add a lemony, smoky taste with a slight tang.
  • You can use them for drinks and cocktails like Loomi tea or daiquiri.
  • Sun-dried lime powder can flavor cakes, pastries, and sauces.


Omani Loomi (Dried Limes) is an essential ingredient in any kitchen. Not only does it add a unique, earthy flavor to many dishes, but it also helps boost immunity and provide relief from cold and flu symptoms. Its robust nutritional profile with high levels of vitamin C and other antioxidant-rich compounds make this versatile culinary essential a must-have in any home. It is time to add this nutritious ingredient to your repertoire and unlock its flavor potential.

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