Whilst the whole island was being painted red, literally, with the Chinese New Year celebration, we were away and hence missed all the national festivities here. This Lunar New Year is snynonymous with wooden crates filled abundantly with mandarin oranges that overflowed the neighbourhood, miraculously appearing in supermarkets year after year without fail. Before I left for holidays, I made sure that I had my stocks of mandarins and tangerines and what-nots in the fridge, as I had a lingering idea of what to do with them, which is better than eating them raw.
It is time to make some Mandarin Chilli Salt.
Tangy, spicy and full of flavours!
Drawing inspiration from here, I have been waiting eagerly for the mandarins to arrive so I can experiment with this novel meat ‘rub’, the perfect marinade for our BBQ Sundays, or even to sprinkle on slow roasting poultry that needs some oriental, citrussy kicks. Gourmet enough for homemade gifts too.
I scoured around for techniques on drying the mandarins before grinding them to fine powder, but unfortunately couldn’t find the tips anywhere on the Google Glory. Sun drying did occur to mind but that would take days, and where is the sun?? With such temperamental weather, the best resort would be back to the good old roasting. So the old tray was out, the mandarins were sliced thinly and voila, off they went to caramelise and shrivel to almost charred beauties.
You see! Aren’t they beautiful?
I left them completely dried out, before grinding them with some chilli pepper flakes, then mix with good quality sea salt. The tantalising taste of citrus complements really well with the heat from chilli, making this a delicious marinate for any seafood, chicken, beef or perhaps even simple root vegetables.
The first experiment was on prawns, with additional drizzle of extra virgin olive oil so the marinade would stick on. It was ready in no time, and I think this would well go into our list of homemade gifts. As they are certainly not available from the shop! Keep a jar on the table for some drizzle on meals, as the salt certainly brings out the flavour as well as nice citrussy aroma- definitely much nicer flavoured than the humble table salt.
What’s your favourite marinade?
Prawn Satay with Mandarin Chilli Salt
3 large mandarins- sliced
2 tbsp chilli pepper flakes
2 tbsp kosher salt
500g jumbo prawns
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Place the mandarin slices on a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes at 170C, under watchful supervision that they are not burnt or charred.
2. Once roasted, leave the oven door open and let the mandarins dry out overnight or few hours.
3. Mix the dried mandarin with chilli and grind to fine powder.
4. Mix in the kosher salt and store in a jar for up to a month.
For prawn satay:
1.Combine a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil with 4 tbsp of mandarin chilli salt.
2. Marinate the prawns for at least 1 hour.
3. Prick the skewer through the prawns and grill on both sides until prawns are well done.