Watermelon paletas with chili-lime salt are Mexican style ice blocks or popsicles made using fresh seasonal fruit and dipped in chili-lime salt before eating to create a sweet-sour taste sensation. I first heard about this flavour pairing in the Flavour thesaurus by Niki Segnit which mentions chilli watermelon Mexican sweets and on further researching this pairing I became fascinated with Mexican paletas. The vibrant colours and flavours of these ice blocks are amazing: watermelon with chili-lime salt or tajin and mango with a sweet-sour chilli and fruit sauce called chamoy being two of the standout flavours.
My version of watermelon paletas with chili-lime salt relies on orange juice for sweetening rather than sugar, but still has a nice sour note from the lime. For making cocktails such as my watermelon margarita I like to add cinnamon to the chilli-lime salt for a little extra sweetness and heat. Making flavoured salt is a great way to use up citrus rinds and create a delicious condiment. The chili-lime salt uses mild Ancho chili, salt flakes and for cocktails cinnamon.
This paletas recipe uses the fruit of the watermelon – reserve the rind to make watermelon rind pickles which are delicious in cocktails such as my watermelon margarita or a classic lime margarita. The citrus rinds from the limes and oranges can be saved and used to make flavoured salts or to enhance pickles.
These watermelon paletas or ice blocks are very popular with my kids who like them without the chill-lime salt, while I prefer the sweet-sour sensation especially on a hot day, they are a great way to cool down.
Watermelon paletas with chili-lime saltPrint Recipe
- Watermelon paletas: 500 grams watermelon fruit, reserve the rind to make quick pickles
- 1 lime, juiced, reserve the zest to make dehydrated lime zest for the chili-lime salt
- 2 oranges, juiced, reserve the zest for quick pickles
- Chili-lime salt: 1 teaspoon dehydrated lime zest
- 2 teaspoons Ancho chili
- 3 teaspoons salt flakes
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
Watermelon paletas: Blend the watermelon, orange and lime juice in a blender
Add the watermelon mix to ice block moulds
Allow to partially freeze and add ice block sticks
Freeze for 4 hours
Enjoy dipped into chili-lime-salt
Chili-lime salt: Place lime zest on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10-15 minutes 140 C until completely dry
Grind the zest in a mortar and pestle
Add the chili and salt and cinnamon (if using) and grind to combine
Inspired by the watermelon chili pairing mentioned in the Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit.