Yesterday, my lovely Thai neighbors hoisted a big bag full of gorgeous freshly picked limes over our shared back fence. I can see their lime trees from my kitchen and had been, I admit enviously, admiring the ripening plump and surely juicy fruit from afar. It was a steamy hot and humid afternoon and I was in the kitchen in a flash juicing some of those limes pronto to make nam manao!
Nam means water and manao means lime in Thai. This Thai limeade is served throughout Thailand. Believe me when I say there is nothing more refreshing and thirst quenching than a tall glass of icy nam manao to beat the heat here in the tropics!
Limes are abundant and the juice used in just about everything from savory curry pastes, soups, salads, to freshly squeezed over many dishes to enhance the flavors and compliment the ever present fiery chilies in most Thai dishes.
There are several types of limes in Thailand. The small firm green limes, about 1 ¼ inches in diameter, are picked before they are ripe for their tartness and intense lime flavor. Very similar to the key lime found in the Florida Keys and throughout Mexico.
Another variety is larger, about 2 ½ to 3 inches in diameter, very juicy with just a slight hint of sweetness, and a perfumed lime flavor. Similar to the Tahitian lime and ideal for nam manao and lime based cocktails.
Easy to prepare!
Nam Manao (Soda) serves 4
Thais call this Nam Manao Soda. The soda is optional, but the fizz really hits the spot on a hot day!
- 1 ½ cups/ 350ml freshly squeezed lime juice (I used larger variety seen above)
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons/ 95g super fine sugar, or more to taste
- good pinch of flaked sea salt
- 2 ½ cups/600ml cold water
- 12 thin slices of lime
- 8 small sprigs fresh mint
- 1 cup/240 ml soda water (optional)
- plenty of ice
Combine the lime juice, sugar, and salt in a large glass pitcher. Stir until the sugar and salt is completely dissolved.
Stir in the water. Add 8 lime slices, and 4 of the mint sprigs and stir. If you are serving immediately add the ice and top off with the soda water. Stir and ladle or pour into tall glasses. Garnish with lime slice and mint sprig and serve.
If you plan to serve later refrain from adding the ice and soda water and refrigerate. Add the ice and soda, stir, garnish with lime slice and mint sprig, and serve.