Chili-salt, a fruit booster

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Three simple ingredients that do amazing things to fruits: fresh chili, salt, and sugar, simply mixed together.  If you’ve been to Thailand, I’m sure you’ve seen this trilogy before.  You get them in little paper packets with every piece of fruit you buy off one of those carts on the street.

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They are wonderful on sweet fruits, adding an interesting layer of flavors that take it beyond simple sweetness.  They are even better on fruits that are slightly acidic–the salt and sugar taming the acidity and the chili giving it a kick that make everything even better.  It’s so easy, and so crazy good.  You simply must try it.

Thai Chili-Salt, Prik-kab-klua

2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1-2 fresh red chili

Put all the ingredients in a small mortar and grind everything together.  The red chili will tint the entire mixture a lovely shade of light pinkish orange, and the moisture from it will turn everything the texture of wet sand.  Serve along side fresh fruits cut into bite size pieces (so no one double dips on you!)

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Try it with tart green apple, or with crunchy green mango.  It even works well to revive those not so sweet mangoes you get from the grocery stores.  Toss a bit into a bowl of early-season
tart berries.  Even dip a juicy chunk of perfectly sweet watermelon
into it for just a little change of scenery.

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  • http://maceratingshallots.blogspot.com Tommy

    What are you still doing up, young lady? (I have an excuse: I work nights) I’ll have to give this one a try. Is that pineapple in the first photo? I’ll bet it’d be good with mango as well…

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com claudia (cook eat FRET)

    i love this idea
    thank you
    i’ve done the salt thing – great on oranges
    but never thought to add the sugar and chili
    this could become a staple around here

  • http://www.oakmonster.com oakley

    I suddenly have a craving for green mango…

  • http://www.thursdaynightsmackdown.com michelle @ TNS

    i want a bowl of this and a whole, fresh pineapple for lunch. i would be o so happy.

  • http://www.monkey-foodanddesign.blogspot.com/ monkey

    There’s a version of this in Mexican cooking as well. But I think they omit the sugar, using just chili powder and salt.

  • http://www.monkey-foodanddesign.blogspot.com/ monkey

    I just remembered – sometimes fresh lime replaces the sugar.

  • Adam

    Can you make bigger batches of this and store the salt? I assume you can but maybe you have to dry the mixture out first? Thoughts/advice appreciated, thanks!

  • http://foodietahiti.canalblog.com La foodie

    avec de la mangue verte, miam ! Dans le meme esprit à la Réunion aussi, mais sans le sucre. Je n’avais jamais pensé à le piler au mortier, voila pourquoi je ne retrouvais pas le gout !

  • alex

    Half a ripe mango tossed in sweet soy (kichap manis) & a judicious sprinkle, read a ton of this on it & oh my God,……

  • http://tamarindandthyme.wordpress.com Su-Lin

    Oh! I thought it was always chili powder, not fresh chili!

  • Brigid

    Ooh, I miss this, and fruit vendors in Thailand. Would you be able to answer a quick Thai fruit question? I’m not sure about the name of one of my favorite fruits that I tried while I was living in Bangkok. It was about the size and shape of a guava, but wasn’t cut up into individual slices–it came hacked, but still whole. The flesh was semi-crunchy and intensely bitter, but the core of the fruit was the sweetest, creamiest custard. “Custard apple” sounds about right, but since I bought it off the street, I was never sure what it looked like with skin.

  • http://www.teaandfood.blogspot.com Aaron Kagan

    I find the idea of sugar on fruit a bit like cheating, but I do love to eat almost any fruit with a shaker of powdered ginger on hand. Especially tropicals like mango and papaya.
    And on the other end of the spectrum, a squeeze of lime does wonders for those mangoes that are too sweet.
    http://www.teaandfood.blogspot.com

  • http://www.thelivingkitchen.wordpress.com elarael

    Amazing, I just sat down to look at the blogs, and yours first, with a big bowl of freshly cut pineapple! So I just tried it, but had to use cayenne powder because I don’t have any chili’s on hand. Very interesting! I think it would be great at a party. I’ll try again with fresh chili for the next pineapple. Thanks!

  • http://blog.daryn.net Daryn

    Another variation is fish sauce instead of salt; especially with slices of green mango or green papaya, but also nice with ripe fruit (especially pineapple)

  • Chee

    Ah – It just brings me childhood memories. During the season my grandma works on a strawberry batch, with every visit she comes with buckets full. My mom would usually slice them into quarters and put the same ingredients you noted together – makes a good dessert. However mama also add on unhealthy MSG to top it off.

  • http://www.potsandpins.com nan

    I just discovered your blog and I’m so glad – it’s great fun! Thanks! Nan

  • Truc

    You should also try eating green mangoes with fish sauce mixed with sugar and chillies. Yummo !

  • http://www.eatlikeagirl.com Niamh

    Oh lovely! I’ll have to try this.

  • http://velvetlava.blogspot.com/ Ann

    I just read about this somewhere else as well, so now I’m doubly intrigued to try it. Just not sure on what, but it look delicious!

  • http://www.outtospace.com ‘Pong

    Brings back the memory. It’s mouth watering.

  • http://www.londonelicious.com Krista

    What a great idea! I’m not a huge fruit eater–I always think of it as breakfast food–but this livens it up a bit as a midday snack!

  • http://kelleymensa.blogspot.com –Lisa

    We use a latin american spice mix called Tajin on fruit. It is basically kosher salt, chile pepper and lime zest. I’ve told myself I will make my own next time I run out but we will see!

  • http://kelleymensa.blogspot.com –Lisa

    We use a latin american spice mix called Tajin on fruit. It is basically kosher salt, chile pepper and lime zest. I’ve told myself I will make my own next time I run out but we will see!

  • Ann

    I agree about the mango and fish sauce comment …amazing stuff. Fish sauce should be thickened with white sugar until it reaches a syrup like consistency and fresh chilis should be chopped into the mix. Add a nice, un-ripe mango, and you’ve got all the best flavors going on…salty, sweet, spicy, and super sour! Umami overload.

  • kayenne

    is that fine salt or coarse salt? i love fruits with sour plum powder… learned that trick in singapore. but i do sometimes eat green mangoes with spicy-soy-vinegar dip that’s sold on street corners when i visit my aunt in the mountain province. here in manila. it’s fermented shrimp past – salty or spicy.

  • kayenne

    is that fine salt or coarse salt? i love fruits with sour plum powder… learned that trick in singapore. but i do sometimes eat green mangoes with spicy-soy-vinegar dip that’s sold on street corners when i visit my aunt in the mountain province. here in manila. it’s fermented shrimp paste – salty or spicy.

  • foureight84

    you should try a blend of fish sauce and sugar. it’s roughly a 2 to 1 ratio. or just add the sugar until you get a syrupy consistency. a great sauce with green unripened mangoes.

  • James in Beijing

    I just left Bangkok after a wonderful few days, and one of the highlights was fruit (unripe mango) dipped in a spicy-sweet chili mix that I bought at the Tha Tien ferry terminal market near the Grand Palace. Is this recipe going to produce that spice paste? If not, do you know a recipe for it, or the name so I can do my own search so I can make it!?

  • alec

    hi
    does this still work using dried chili?

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  • http://www.chezpim.com/blogs/2008/05/chili-salt-a-fr.html#comments Nok

    omg! omg omgomgomgomg! so i stumbled across someone else’s food blog, where she mentioned someone named Pim. I thought to myself–that is a Thai name if I’ve ever heard one! And sure enough, I’m so delighted to find someone who actually has authentic thai recipes online. I am Thai too! You describe yourself as too eastern for the West and too western for the East and I can totally relate. I guess as soon as I saw this post I just got really excited. I live in Hawaii now so there is always plenty of fresh fruit. When all else fails, i resort to my chili-salt-sugar mixture and it brings me right back home. everyone here thinks i’m strange for eating mangos or pineapples before they’ve ripened, and especially strange for dipping them in this concoction. but i love it. and i’m so glad to have found someone else in the western hemisphere who loves it too! :)

  • http://www.tiffanyfree.com/tiffany-pendants.html Tiffany Pendant

    The pictures say it all, what a wonderful party this is! Great job!

  • jch67

    if you don’t have fresh peppers you can use red pepper flakes (to taste) and add a sprinkle of water for a bit of moisture. It’s not quite as good but will save you a trip to the market!

  • Nicola Hogan140

    Nicely written, reinvigorates the humble pineapple and transports you back to your hols !

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