Skip to content

Subscribe to campari&sofa and receive new posts via email

The Perfect Chili Lime Salt.

Posted in Food & Entertaining

Lot's wife - salt wasn't a happy discovery for her.
The Dead Sea – salty source of kosher salt.

I drove camparigirl crazy in NYC.

We went out for brunch with her pal Bettina and I had a sneaky cocktail. It seemed rude not to when there were at least 10 on the menu that I would like to have tried. The cocktail was okay – but the salt around the glass was fabulous. Punchy chile-lime umami-ness… I licked the rim.  “Oh you can find it everywhere,” the waiter assured me.

Well – we tried everywhere. We tried some everywheres twice. I even emailed the maker…. nothing. Eventually I settled for a lime salt from Williams Sonoma. And lugged it home with me. Opened excitedly and rejected immediately: nasty chemical-lime tasting stuff.

El-Tajin-680x340
El Tajin – Mayan ruins in Veracruz, Mexico – and a salty inspiration.

But I am not easily discouraged – so I did a search in SA – and turns out there is a fellow in Plettenberg Bay who imports things from Mexico and “yes” he said: he had plenty. A friend was there for a wedding and four days later I had more Tajin than any amount of cocktails would ever use up. Unless I really put my mind to it. And I will

It is as good as I remember. I’ve sprinkled it on a couple of things since – Cucumber Maki, Avocado on Toast and even dipped a boiled egg in it. Fabulous, all. I am planning a Bloody Maria or two in McGregor this weekend – I have a chipotle infused vodka that’s whistling to me from the fridge. Not to mention salting a Michelada glass. Hmm – I see a Mexican themed evening coming on.

So here it is then – Tajin. A Mexican gem – costing all of $4.

k2-_b655412c-5d42-4265-b081-19e3ed737e84.v2

Now, on the off-chance that you come up empty when you search for this salty little miracle in your metropolis (though you can order it online in the USA),  I thought I would offer a DIY version that will work almost as well. We don’t want you missing out.

Chill Lime Salt
2 tablespoons flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (add smoked paprika if you have only regular chili powder)
Zest of 2 limes

Toss 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt and 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder on a baking sheet. Finely zest 2 limes over the mix.
Bake in a 350°F oven, stirring occasionally, until lime zest is dry, about 5 minutes.
Let cool.
Store in a dry container.

Making flavoured salts is pretty easy. Long as you stick to the basic ratio which is one teaspoon of flavouring per 1/4 cup salt. Flavour is always to personal taste – so if you want a stronger flavour balance – simply add more. Salt combinations are endless: think dried mushrooms, lemon basil, orange rosemary, saffron fennel, vanilla cinnamon. Or crisp bacon, allowed to dry out completely in the oven and then fine-ground. I even tasted a red wine salt at the supermarket today – not bad. For all combos – there’s only one absolute: flavour ingredients should be dry, otherwise your salt will clump.

A note on the salt: coarser, flakier salts are a better bet – for their texture and they look classy. Try kosher salt (least expensive option), Maldon salt or fleur de sel. If you want to stick with regular table salt, use a higher proportion of flavourings.

The fella who promised me Tajin in New York swears by a sprinkle on watermelon. He eats it in the sea after he has been surfing (or so he says.). I will be extending that thought to honeymelon and mango: to snack when lounging in the pool over the holidays. And, I am sure Tajin will play well with a spatchcocked chicken, cooked over coals and finished with a glug of green olive oil, a drift of coriander and some fresh sliced avo. For dessert – a little tour of the internet revealed this recipe for Watermelon Tajin Paletas (natural fruit ice-lollies). Or perhaps dulce de leche with a tangy sprinkle. There’s a whole new world of possibilities out there, folks.

Viva Mexico!

(This post was not sponsored by Tajin.)

Share on Facebook

7 Comments

  1. Winston Moreton
    Winston Moreton

    Absoluut approve the cocktail peregrinations even at the expense of LTiH. We have been recording it for two months each Saturday and don’t know how it finishes either. Doesn’t the headmistress look like Christine McVie at the same age

    November 28, 2015
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I just watched the last episode. I felt the third season was stretching the story a bit much but overall liked the whole thing. I must tell Sue how it ends. And yes, the headmistress bears a resemblance to C. McVie now that you make me think about it. Let me know what you think once you finished watching.

      November 30, 2015
      |Reply
      • Oh hello – recovering well I hope. We have now seen series 3 come to an end too and yes the plot is improbable as good escapist fare is. It must have been fun acting it out. How could Caroline keep such a straight face in the face of those confessions from Gillian. BTW I have finished reading i giorni dell’abbandono and if you would like the book (paperback 200 pages – one previous owner) for yule tide please DM your postal address and I will oblige.
        Seasons Greetings to you both in case this is the last opportunity

        December 1, 2015
        |Reply
  2. Glenis
    Glenis

    Did you get to see the final episode of Last Tango In Halifax. Like the salt this was also “available” in South Africa a few months ago. Have a Wonderful and Peaceful Thanks Giving. Many Blessings On You.

    November 26, 2015
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Glenis, I have one more episode to go. I think I will watch it tonight, as I attempt to digest the turkey. I skyped with Sue a few days ago and gave her the blow by blow of what has happened so far. Don’t give away the ending yet! I will treasure your blessings.

      November 26, 2015
      |Reply
  3. I am so going to try and find this for the sole purpose of putting it on my avocado. Also, I say if you have it, keep making cocktails!

    November 26, 2015
    |Reply
  4. camparigirl
    camparigirl

    I can attest to having explored the insides of every grocery store in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Then she gets home and emails me pictures of her (easy to find) Tajin bought in South Africa! For all the hoofing around we did on this Tajin related business we could have watched two more episodes of Last Tango in Halifax on the sofa.

    November 26, 2015
    |Reply

Got some thoughts? We would love to hear what you think

%d bloggers like this: