hei hei salt GBK style on sticky wedges
Here’s a recipe for hei hei salt GBK style.
I found myself in GBK at the weekend. It was supposed to be family lunch at Las Iguanas, but a few seconds of appalling customer service had me trundle a few steps down Lakeside’s Boardwalk to the burger parlour.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed it – a tasty “Capital” cheeseburger with standard accompaniments, a choice of brioche or regular sesame seed bun and all the monkey nuts you can eat. But the shoestring fries were great, particularly when you shake over their hei hei salt. Pretty much all American diner-style eateries in the UK coat the fries in a salty concoction, and I’d been meaning to make one of my own for ages. Serving up wedges this week meant this was a great excuse.
Hei hei salt, also known as black salt, is a type of Hawaiian sea salt that is mixed with activated charcoal, giving it a distinct black color. The salt gets its name “hei hei” from the Hawaiian phrase “heihei kai,” which translates to “sea chicken” or “flying fish,” as the salt is said to resemble the color of these sea creatures.
The salt is made by mixing sea salt harvested from the pristine waters surrounding the Hawaiian islands with activated charcoal, which is derived from coconut shells. The charcoal not only gives the salt its distinctive color, but also adds a slightly smoky flavor to the salt.
Hei hei salt is used in a variety of dishes in Hawaiian cuisine, including seafood, meats, and vegetables. It is also popular as a finishing salt, sprinkled on top of dishes just before serving to add a visual and flavour contrast.
GBK’s Hei hei salt appears to be a guarded recipe but appears to be a variation of chicken salt. This is my version based on what I could taste.
If you’re looking for an interesting salty-spicy mix to dust your chips or wedges, this is a great place to start. You can then of course add or remove other spices to your taste – a curry powder or garlic powder would be nice.
There’s two levels of seasoning here; in my experience of roasting potatoes the salt flavour simply disappears (where does it go?). So the initial salt is merely grist to combine the ingredients, whilst the second salting is the true seasoning of the wedges.
Hei hei wedges
- 4 - 5 medium potatoes Maris Piper or other fluffy variety
For the marinade:
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 ham stock cube chicken would be fine
- Large pinch salt
- olive oil
For the seasoning:
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Slice the potatoes into wedge shapes.
- In a pestle and mortar, combine all the marinade spices and pound withe garlic until you have an orangey-brown paste. Add oil until you have a gloopy mixture and coat the wedges liberally. Arrange cut sides down on a baking tray and roast for 40 minutes, turning every ten minutes, until crisp and cooked through.
- Combine the seasoning ingredients and shake over the fries as you serve. You'll probably have excess seasoning for another day.