The kaffir lime is a species of lime that is native to Southeast and South Asia. Its fruit is about the size of a golf ball and has a slightly lumpy exterior. The limes themselves don’t contain a lot of juice, but the zest and double (figure eight–shaped) leaves are used to impart a fresh, limey flavor and exquisite aroma. The fresh limes can be hard to find in U.S. markets, but the leaves are available dried and frozen and occasionally fresh in Asian and gourmet markets. Thai Kitchen is a good source for dried kaffir limes. If you can’t find any of these, substitute the zest of a ½ regular lime.


Kalamata (also spelled Calamata) olives are purplish-brownish olives from Greece that are salty and pungent.


Kalustyan’s is a specialty food shop in New York City. It is a hub for Indian and South Asian ingredients and cuisine. For more information on Kalustyan’s, click here.


Kamut is a type of khorasan wheat. It’s an ancient Egyptian grain recently re-discovered by modern farmers. Kamut has a firm texture as well as a rich and nutty flavor, and is often used in pilafs, soups, and salads. The grain can be found at most major grocery stores and online at Bob’s Red Mill.


Kanji is a form of Japanese writing. Kanji is written in Chinese characters and often used to write nouns and the stems of adjectives. Many kanji words have two pronunciations: one Japanese pronunciation and one more akin to the Chinese pronunciation of the character. 


Kashk is a preserved dairy product, similar to whey, that has been used by Middle Eastern cooks for centuries. It is available in Middle Eastern groceries or online, and comes in dry and jarred form. If you can’t find it, plain yogurt is a good substitute.


Kashkaval is a semi-hard, yellowish cheese made from either sheep’s or cow’s milk. It is most like cheddar cheese in flavor. In Romania, Bulgaria, and Macedonia, the term “kashkaval” is used generically for all yellow cheeses


Kasseri cheese is a Greek sheep and goat milk cheese with a soft interior and a mildly salty undertone. It melts well and is the basis of a famous Greek flaming cheese dish. If you can’t find Kasseri, substitute muenster, gouda, or havarti, plus 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese.


Kefalotyri is a hard, salty cheese from Greece. Made with sheep milk or a combination of sheep and goat milk, it is eaten as is, fried, or grated and added to all sorts of dishes. It can be found made without animal-based rennet, but often it has no hechsher.  If you can’t find it or chose not to use it, Romano is a good substitute.


Kefir is a cultured dairy product that is similar to yogurt. It can be made from the milk of cows, sheep or goats that is mixed with a yeast-based fermentation starter. Like yogurt, it is a probiotic; it is also touted as a natural remedy for numerous illnesses, although the evidence is preliminary. It originated in Europe.


Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from vegetables and spices. It is fermented and often both spicy and sour.


Kirsch, or kirschwasser, is a cherry brandy that originated in Germany.


Short for kirschwasser, this is a colorless German brandy made from cherries.


Chametz (khometz) are foods forbidden by law during Passover. Kitniyot are items prohibited by custom or tradition. What constitutes kitniyot is extremely controversial and it varies not just by tradition but often by home.

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Klezmer music is a style of music associated with eastern European Jews. Klezmer has now been adapted and combined with more modern styles of music, such as rock, afro-pop, and hip-hop. Klezmer music declined in popularity after World War II, but made resurgence in the 1970s. For more information on klezmer music, click here.


Kombucha tea is made by fermenting sweetened black tea with a flat pancake-like culture of yeasts and bacteria called the “kombucha mushroom”  a name derived from the shape and color of the sac that form on top of the fermented tea. Since the early 19th century, this drink has been promoted for its many health and immunity boosting benefits, as it contains probiotics, antioxidants, and vitamins. The roots of kombucha trace furthest back to ancient China and East Asia and then was introduced to Germany at the turn of the 19th century and it has more recently become quite popular in the United States, particularly among HIV patients and the elderly. It has also most recently become a trendy drink although as with any “healthful” drink that is not monitored by the FDA, care should be taken when drinking it.


Korea is a country located on a peninsula in eastern Asia. For more information on Korea, click here.


Keeping kosher is maintaining a system of eating, cooking, and handling foods that fulfill the Jewish dietary requirements of ritual purity, cleanliness, and supervision. There are over three thousand years of thought and literally millions of rulings on kashrut (being kosher). Our recipes use products that are available with an OU, K, or OK, and we follow middle-of-the-road, contemporary Ashkenazi rulings. For more information on Kashrut and keeping kosher, click here.


The Jewish holiday of Passover prohibits eating leavened bread, among many rules. Our recipes are based upon Ashkenazi conventions of keeping Passover. For more information on keeping kosher for Passover and the holiday’s traditions and customs, click here.