Lemon Spice Salsa

Hey there everyone, do you like mango, citrus and salsa? If so then I’ve got the perfect recipe for you!

Today’s is exactly that, with lemon, lime and the lemon spice jalapeño that I recently found all building on a smooth and fruity mango base. Naturally a little sweet but so fresh and tart that it’s definitely not dessert.

Instead, this recipe is an excellent dip for tortilla chips and samosas, a great way to liven up a salad or bean burger, a terrific topping for tacos or the perfect accompaniment to oily fish. Among other uses that I haven’t yet discovered, I’m sure.

And, while it does use a particular numex chilli that I found at challock chilli fest, you can make some substitutions if you don’t have access to it.

I don’t see the lemondrop/aji limon working here because, while it would compliment the citrus, it lacks the yellow pepper and jalapeño-specific notes that help it stand out. Instead, I would recommend the milder, 📽️ regular yellow jalapeños 📽️ if waitrose has them ripe again, orange or yellow habaneros if you want a bit more fruitiness and heat or any of the roxa family of peppers if you can get them, because they, too, are delightfully fruit flavoured.

So, now that you’re done picking your peppers, it’s time to get everything else ready:

2 chillies

1 mango

1 lemon

1 lime

1 medium-sized red onion

½ cup coriander leaf

A pinch of salt

A dash of black pepper

And pay attention to the quality of your mango. For this dish to truly be its best, you want the main fruit to be ripe and juicy but not overripe. Not so ripe that it just turns to mush or so fibrous that it tears instead of cutting. It won’t make or break the flavour either way but it will definitely impact the texture quite severely.

As will, for that matter, the sharpness of your knife. A good, clean, squish-free cut is crucial to getting the most distinct little cubes of mango and the least eye-water from your onion.

So much so, in fact, that you may want to leave any larger chunks that you might end up with. Cutting the mango further after the first go round will more than likely pulp the fruit and, while about six to eight millimetres is probably the perfect size, larger slivers keep our little bursts of mango flavour intact. They just might make dipping a tad more awkward.

Peel and chop the fruit carefully and delicately if you can but, at the end of the day, tasting the mango a little less because it’s gone to pulp and blended with the citrus isn’t the end of the world and nor is having a chunkier texture.

Plus, you can relax a little when you’re done with the mango because you can pretty much mince the onion, chilli and coriander until the cows come home. They won’t fall apart or turn to mush so it’s super easy to get something like this:


Place all the chopped ingredients into a bowl and add the zest of your two citrus fruits, grating until no colour remains.

Then slice them in half and squeeze in the juice, flipping your grater over to cat any runaway pips. Most graters are surprisingly handy like that but, if yours has more of a column-based design to it, you can always use a sieve. It just means marginally more washing up.

Finally, add your salt pinch and a few grinds from a black pepper mill (or the piper retrofractum long pepper if you’re feeling fancy and want to bring out the jalapeño and herb taste a tad), stir everything together gently, cover your bowl with cling film (I believe that that’s “saran wrap” to my american readers) and toss it in the fridge to allow all the flavours to mingle.

After about an hour, it should be ready to serve and look a little like this:


Only with rather less mushiness because I couldn’t find any ripe mangoes near me. Only one that was a little past its best.

It was still delicious, though, with a complex citrus zing, notes of fruit and yellow pepper and just a touch of something distinctively jalapeño beneath its fresh herbs.

As for its spice, well, it was pretty medium. The high end of a



for this version and the very bottom of a


for the test batch that I made with cereja roxa. Basically the same strength as I’d expect from a habanero version, if that helps any of you.

It’s a super simple salsa once you’ve got the hang of cutting the mango down, it’s highly versatile in its use and it’s thoroughly tasty, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a go next time you have any of the suitable pepper varieties. Just do bear in mind that this is a fresh salsa. It will not keep for more than a few days so make sure you know what it’s going on first.


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