A pinch of salt

March 10, 2010

As mentioned a couple of posts ago, I bought something called lemon salt in Istanbul last week. The guy in the shop described it as a natural salt from the east of Turkey, which could be used in cooking for a variety of things. I did a bit of online research on the stuff, and quickly discovered that it is, in fact, citric acid.

Nothing much wrong with that in itself, as citric acid is commonly used as a natural preservative or as a flavouring in things like fizzy drinks – but it certainly isn’t the condiment I was led to believe it was. (I shall be having words with my friend Abdullah the next time I’m in Istanbul!)

However, determined not to let it go to waste, I thought I’d experiment with it in a sweet and sour aubergine salsa. An aubergine had been sitting in my fridge since well before I went to Istanbul, and apart from a slightly squidgy brown patch, which I cut out, it wasn’t in too bad condition. But, I thought, if it didn’t survive the lemon salt, it wouldn’t be too tragic.

I made the salsa as normal, with some paprika, ground cumin seeds and soft brown sugar, and at the end of cooking, instead of adding a squeeze of lemon juice, I sprinkled over a pinch of the lemon salt/citric acid.

The result? Well, there was certainly a strong citrussy kick to it – rather as if I’d added one of those effervescent vitamin C tablets! In other words, it did not taste good.

I’m going to chalk this up to experience, but I’d certainly like to use up the rest of the lemon salt in a rather more appropriate way. Anyone have any ideas?

In the meantime, I’ll post the original recipe for the aubergine salsa, which is, I promise, very tasty.

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