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Tajín - a quickie

"So why should you use Tajin? Simply put, it just makes so many things taste better." Nancy Lopez-McHugh/The Spruce Eats

I'm not a huge fan of Mexican food, which may simply be that I have not had good Mexican food, and people tend to be so rude about TexMex and Mexican restaurants. Maybe I should try again. Anyway recently I saw somewhere a reference to this particular spice mix - Tajín followed by a TikTok video of someone sprinkling it over olives. Which, of course, I can no longer find. Anyway I thought it a mildly interesting potential topic which demonstrated how many spice mixes there are out there in the world.

This is not an ancient or traditional mix though. It was invented back in 1985 in Mexico by:

"Horacio Fernández, who wanted to recreate in powdered form the flavors of a sauce made by his grandmother." Wikipedia

Those flavours are pretty simple - chillies - three different kinds - dehydrated lime juice and salt - which are all pretty standard Mexican flavours. And bonus - apparently the chillies are not too hot. Mr. Fernández formed a company, started exporting to the US in 1993 and now exports to the world. You can buy it here in Woolworths and Dan Murphy's. Dan Murphy's? Well yes because there are several cocktails that use it, and you can put it on the rim of the glass containing your Margarita - or your chilled beer.

Minor interesting fact - it was named for the Aztec site of El Tajín, which our inventor had recently visited, and noticed that the name of the place contained the word 'ajín' which means chilli.

I wonder whether my, or your brain, will decide to keep that little useless fact, or will discard it, or will it remain hidden somewhere ready to emerge at a moment's notice?

Anyway in America it is extremely popular, probably in Mexico too, and since it is made from three specific types of chilli and dehydrated lime, it's not that easy to make yourself. So if you like spicy food go and buy a bottle, because:.

"The difference between Tajín and regular chile powder is that Tajín is saltier and more acidic from the lime. Tajín doesn't overpower a dish like a vinegary hot sauce might, though. You reach for Tajín when you don't want to smother your dish in the heat but just add a little zing." Lesley Téllez/Eating Well

I'm not sure where I first came across it. It may have been one of those Guardian secret ingredients, in this case the secret ingredient of Ravinder Boghal a British chef of Kenyan Indian descent. In her brief piece on it she talks of the memory of street food in Kenya, which this spice mix reminded her of:

"They used to have this speciality where they would take a raw mango, make deep cuts all around the stone and then fill it in with this mixture of chilli, sugar and salt. I would walk along the street, pulling off bits of the mango and my mouth would absolutely tingle and burn with this chilli mixture and the sourness of the raw mango."

and she adds that: "Tajin is even nicer because of the lime zest."

Fruit of all kinds in fact seems to be one of the most favourite uses for Tajín. Any fruit. Mostly it is just sprinkled over it, sometimes with some extra lime juice or zest, and maybe some cheese. But I did find two slightly different fruit things - Candled mango tanghulu from the What Great-grandma Ate website which is a Chinese/Mexican fusion in which chunks of mango are dipped into a syrup which cools and hardens and is then sprinkled with Tajín, or Frozen grapes which comes from a website called Kale Junkie. She uses monk fruit sweetener instead of sugar - I guess it's a healthy thing but I'm sure you could use sugar:

"To make these grapes, simply start by washing and drying your grapes, then add them to a large bowl. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the grapes, then add your monk fruit sweetener and your Tajin! Toss to fully combine, then cover the bowl and place it in the freezer for two hours, or overnight."

On a hot day, either of those could be really tempting.

Vegetables also are a target for the Tajín junkies and I have to say they all speak with the enthusiasm of addicts. One article said that some people were so enthusiastic they carried pocket sized bottles around in their handbags to sprinkle at will when needed. The company has cunningly produced pocket sized bottles in addition to the standard size.

The vegetables vary from cucumber which seems to be a favourite to corn on the cob - another favourite. I even saw a crudités version on the Epicurious website from Claire Saffitz, although it featured jackfruit, which is not easily available here. Wrong ethnic mix here. You could certainly substitute something else. As for the corn, The Kale Junkie offered: "grilled corn on the cob that is slathered with mayo, Tajin, and cotija cheese".

Popcorn seems to be popular too.

And of course it can be used in a marinade. ThatTurkOfShiraz contributed on reddit: "My favorite meat marinade for the grill is yellow mustard, oil, cumin, and a LOT of tajin. It’s incredible." and Rick A. Martinez provided The New York Times with a recipe for Tajín grilled chicken. There were quite a few recipes for chicken.

So there you go - another spice mix to add to your collection. I might try it some time, but if I do I vow not to leave it to linger in the pantry with all the other spice mixes hidden at the back there. I did mean to tackle them all one by one, but I still haven't got around to it.


I picked up the latest Coles Magazine today and lo and behold these two suggestions for Easter spreads - Curtis Stone's Lemon meringue pie and a plate of crudités with an olive dip. Talk about coincidence, or am I just so with what's trending?

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