Chile lime salt (aka Tajín) sprinkled over fruits and vegetables is a popular Mexican snack, often served in small cups in Latin America as Mexican street food. Tajín is the “brand name” of the ubiquitous chile lime salt, but a homemade DIY version is much fresher, allowing the simple ingredients (only 3 ingredients!) to stand out. Chamoy is a sweet and tangy sauce which often uses Tajín as an ingredient. Try these fruit cups with either or with both for your own Mexican street food!
What is Tajín?
Ingredients and Substitutions
Chamoy and Street Food Condiments
How is Chile Lime Salt different from “Tajín”
Tajín (pronounced ta-heen) is a brand name for a popular salt that you will find in most grocery stores and on most Mexican tables. While the Tajin company does have some variations of the blend, the Tajín Clásico is the most popular and the easiest to find.
It is a blend of red chiles, sea salt and dehydrated lime juice/peels. It also includes some anti-caking agent so that it stays fresh on the grocery store shelves.
Because the seasoning is so simple, consisting of only 3 ingredients, it is easy to make your own. There are a lot of “recipes” that you can find by searching for chile lime salt or chile lime seasoning. While the ingredients do not vary that much the ratios most certainly do.
The recipe below is my favorite blend, after doing a LOT of trials with different spices, different salts and different ratios. The recipe and the video below also shows how to best use chile lime salt with fruits and vegetables, ala Mexican Street Food!
Ingredients and Substitutions
I tried a number of different variations of the salt, the chile powder and the dehydrated lime. The one I ended up favoring was:
- 1 Tbsp pink himalayan salt,
- 2 tsp True Lime, and
- 1 1/2 tsp spicy chipotle powder.
If you want to try my packaged version (using very fresh chile peppers) , you can purchase it from HeathGlen. Just know that my version is quite a bit spicier than commercial Tajin.
Variations in the 3 Key Ingredients
- The lime ingredient: I tried the lime ingredient in three different ways: fresh lime zest that I then dehydrated, storebought lime zest from a reputable company in San Francisco, and with True Lime (powdered lime juice). The “True Lime” definitely gave the salt the strongest flavor of lime;
- The chile powder: Tajin uses a blend of red chiles, but most of them are fairly mild. I prefer more heat so I used some of our hot chipotle powder and it was quite spicy. There are plenty of chile powders that you can try, however so customize to your heat preference.
- The salt: I tried kosher salt and pink himalayan salt. They were both good with the kosher salt making it coarser if you use it for rimming cocktails, and the pink salt making a prettier blend.
The Ratio of the 3 Ingredients
I tried a number of different recipes available online, some of them quite salty! I wanted the lime flavor to be predominant so I ended up with the ratio of:
- 1 Tbsp salt,
- 2 tsp lime, and
- 1 1/2 tsp chile powder.
**Tip: The spicier the food the more salt it needs to remain balanced. Chile lime salt is great for this and can temper the heat with it’s salt.
Mexican Street Food: Chamoy, Fruit Cups and Condiments
There are so many wonderful uses for chile lime salt, but probably the most well-known is for the fruit cups you will see in cities in Latin America, often referred to as Mexican street food.
Here are some tips to be aware in making your own fruit cups with Tajín:
- The most popular fruit used in the fruit cups is watermelon or mangos
- Typical vegetable cups include cucumbers or jicama.
- Mexican street food often includes a sweet and tangy fruit sauce called chamoy to go with the snacks.
What is Mexican Chamoy?
Where you find Tajín you also usually find chamoy, as chili-lime salt is usually an ingredient in chamoy. Like Tajín, you will find chamoy drizzled over fresh fruit, but it is also popular in smoothies (often with mangos), known as a chamoyada.
Chamoy is made from a combination of dehydrated fruit (such apricot, mango or plums), chili powder, salt, and a little citrus juice (often lime juice).
Want to make your own? This recipe for homemade chamoy sauce will walk you through the steps….it’s not that difficult and is totally worth it.
More Popular Uses for Tajín (or Chile Lime Salt)
Tajín is not limited to fruit cups or Mexican street food of course. There are many ways that we use chile lime salt in home cooking,. Here are a few favorites:
- marinades or rubs for chicken, fish, or shrimp
- a coating on grilled corn (Elote)
- a topping on fruit popcicles (Paletas)
- sprinkled over popcorn
- try it with a jicama slaw on a fish sandwich
- as a rimming salt for Micheladas or this chili chocolate cocktail
Recipe for Tajín on Mexican Fruit Cups
“Tajín” for Mexican street food
- Medium sized bowl
- wire whisk Or slotted spoon
For the chile lime salt blend
- 1 Tbsp Salt Kosher salt or pink himalayan salt
- 2 Tsp True lime
- 1 ½ Tsp Chipotle spice Or other spicy chile powder
- 1 Small Jicama
- 1 Med Cucumber
- 1 Mango
- 1 Avocado, pineapple, papaya, etc. Your favorite fruit or vegetable
- For the seasoning blend: With a whisk or slotted spoon, thoroughly blend together the salt, True lime and the chile powder1 Tbsp Salt, 2 Tsp True lime, 1 1/2 Tsp Chipotle spice
- For the fruit: wash and peel the fruit you choose to use. Cut into planks or spears (see youtube video above for cutting illustration)1 Small Jicama, 1 Med Cucumber, 1 Mango, 1 Avocado, pineapple, papaya, etc.
- Place fruit spears in a large bowl and sprinkle with the chile lime salt. Cut wedges of lime and serve fruit/vegetable spears on a plate with lime wedges for people to squeeze over the fruit/vegetables.
Watch the Step by Step Video for More Details
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Monday 24th of February 2020
Oh, dang, this made my mouth water! I'll be ordering some True Lime.
Monday 24th of February 2020
? it makes my mouth weather too Beth! Make sure you use a spicy Chile powder in the blend!