Avoiding Salt With Marinades

Posted on: 25 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Cooking without salt needn't be as bland as you might think, as long as you use herbs and spices to flavour the food instead.

Marinades provide a fast flavour injection and they can be made in advance if you are just using dried herbs.

To encourage the flavour into the meat or fish, score the food first so the oils of the herbs and spices can seep into the flesh.  The quickest method of actually putting the marinade on the food is to put the meat or fish in a re-sealable freezer bag with the marinade, then you can rub the flavours into the food without getting too messy.

The marinades below will be enough to flavour meat or fish for 2 people, so you will have to alter quantities accordingly.

For Beef - Put 1 tsp of mustard seeds and 1/2 tsp black pepper corns into a pestle and mortar and grind them into a powder.  Add the leaves from a couple of sprigs of thyme and 1 peeled clove of garlic.  Continue to bash in the pestle and mortar until the flavour starts to exude. 

Put 1 tbsp of freshly chopped marjoram, 1tbsp of freshly chopped oregano and 2 cloves of garlic in a pestle and mortar and crush into a paste.  Add 1 dessert spoon each of balsamic vinegar and red wine, combine and use as above.

Bash the leaves of 5 sprigs of rosemary in a pestle and mortar with 2 cloves of garlic in a pestle and mortar and 1 dessert spoon of red wine until you have a paste.  Use as above.

Mix 2 dessert spoon of Dijon mustard with 5 sprigs of tarragon.  Use as above. 

Lamb

In a pestle and mortar put the leaves of 2 sprigs of rosemary, 1 peeled clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp of black pepper corns and 2 tsp of water.  Grind into a paste and use as above.

Put 1tbsp of fresh mint leaves into a pestle and mortar with 1 tbsp of vinegar and 1 tsp of black pepper corns.  Bash to release the flavour before using as a marinade.

Chicken or fish

Put juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp cayenne pepper and 1 chopped bunch of coriander in a pestle and mortar.  Bash to release flavour then use as above.

Put 2 cloves of garlic, a 5cm piece of grated ginger, 1 chopped deseeded chilli and the juice and zest of 1 lime into a pestle and mortar.  Bash to release flavour then use as above.

Put 1 tbsp thyme leaves into a bowl with 2tsp of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.  Mix together and use as above.    

Citrus chicken or beef

Put the juice and zest of 2 limes and 1 lemon in a bowl with a handful of lemon balm leaves.  Add the zest of the orange and 1 dessert spoon of the juice.

Thai style beef, chicken or fish.

In a pestle and mortar put 1 deseeded chilli, 2 cloves of garlic and 1 tsp of olive oil.  Grate a 5 cm piece of ginger into the mix using the finest side of the grater.  Bash into a paste before adding 2 sticks of peeled lemon grass, the juice and zest of 1 lime and a large bunch of coriander.

Curry Style Marinade for chicken or beef

Put 1 tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp of cumin seed, 2 tsp coriander seeds and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper in a pestle and mortar.  Grind into a powder.  Add 4 tablespoons of no-fat Greek yogurt.

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