Taste of the Tropics Li Hing Mango Margarita

A tasty Hawaiian treat – sweet and salty li hing mango – makes this margarita recipe a cut above any other. It’s festive and bright both in flavor and color and is sure to be the talk of the town at your next fiesta!

This Li Hing Mango Margarita makes a beautiful cocktail out of a classic Hawaiian snack. It's sweet, salty and tangy all in one! #margaritaweek #margaritarecipes #lihingrecipes

Boy, do I have a great cocktail recipe for you today! It’s just the right amount of sweet, salty and tangy and looks as beautiful as it tastes. This Li Hing Mango Margarita is sure to knock your socks off.

I’m so excited to be participating in Hola Jalapeño’s fourth annual #margaritaweek today. With Cinco de Mayo and lots of fun summer festivities right around the corner, it couldn’t come at a better time! I’ve already been drooling over all of the #margaritaweek recipes of years past, and this year I’m so excited to contribute my own.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying li hing mango, you’re in for a treat. I typically only snack on it whenever we’re in Hawaii, but it’s also sooo easy to make on your own as long as you have two ingredients on hand: a deliciously ripe fresh mango and li hing mui powder!

This Li Hing Mango Margarita makes a beautiful cocktail out of a classic Hawaiian snack. It's sweet, salty and tangy all in one! #margaritaweek #margaritarecipes #lihingrecipes

But wait, I know what you’re thinking: What the heck is li hing mui powder? Well, let me tell you.

What is li hing mui?

In a nutshell, li hing mui is a dried Asian plum, and the powder is simply these same plums ground into a fine dust. It’s quite popular in the Hawaiian islands, most often used to give a salty twist to sour gummies or dusted over fresh or dried tropical fruit. The third most popular use of li hing mui? You guessed it – in cocktails!

While you may be able to find li hing mui powder at a good Asian grocery store, I’ve found that simply ordering it via Amazon Prime is the most surefire way to get a hold of it, and it lasts forever because just a little bit goes a long way. You can find my favorite li hing mui powder here[affiliate link]

How to Make a Li Hing Mango Margarita

Aside from the li hing powder and mango, this recipe very closely mirrors a typical margarita recipe. You’ll need both fresh mango (for garnish) and mango juice (for the cocktail), but other than that we’re looking at the usual suspects: tequila, orange liqueur and limes.

Now, before we get into the actual cocktail-making, we need to prep our glasses. Since the li hing powder is already a tad salty, I decided to rim my margarita glass with a combo of lime juice, sugar and that bright red salty stuff. I simply ran a lime wedge around the rim of my glass, and then dipped it in the sugar-li hing power mixture. Then you’ll want to load up your glass with ice to make sure your margarita is nice and frosty as soon as it’s poured.

Once that’s done, we can get into the good stuff. We’re going to throw our tequila, mango juice, orange liqueur and some more li hing powder into a cocktail shaker with more ice, and give it a good rattle or two. After that, simply strain into your prepared glass, garnish with a lime wheel and mango wedge and, voila, you’re ready to sip on the tastiest margarita in town.

This Li Hing Mango Margarita makes a beautiful cocktail out of a classic Hawaiian snack. It's sweet, salty and tangy all in one! #margaritaweek #margaritarecipes #lihingrecipes

You can check out all of the official #margaritaweek recipes here (and be sure to check back, because new recipes will be posted all week!), but I’ve also gone ahead and put together my own little margarita recipe roundup from here on the site. If nothing else, I hope it inspires you to get in the kitchen and whip up your own favorite margarita (or two) this weekend!

More Margarita Recipes to Try

If you prefer your margie blended rather than on the rocks, give these Frozen Watermelon Peach Margaritas a shot!

If you’re into margaritas in the neon color family, this bright pink Prickly Pear Margarita is definitely one for you.

Looking for something different that will bring out your newfound taste for mezcal? You’ll want to try these Smoky Pickled Strawberry Margaritas.

A great wintertime margie? This Pomegranate Margarita fits the bill!

This Li Hing Pineapple Margarita is for you if you want to try li hing with alllll the tropical fruits.

Get it while you can: this Blood Orange Margarita always speaks to me when I can find those elusive blood oranges!

More pineapple with a shot of extra acidity – If you’re a fan of grapefruit, you’ve got to try these Pineapple Pummelo Margaritas!

This Li Hing Mango Margarita makes a beautiful cocktail out of a classic Hawaiian snack. It's sweet, salty and tangy all in one! #margaritaweek #margaritarecipes #lihingrecipes

Taste of the Tropics Li Hing Mango Margarita
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

A tasty Hawaiian treat – sweet and salty li hing mango – makes this margarita recipe a cut above any other. It’s festive and bright both in flavor and color and is sure to be the talk of the town at your next fiesta!

Course: Drinks
Keyword: cocktails, drinks, Hawaiian, mango, margarita, tequila
Servings: 1 drink
Calories: 309 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the rim:
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon li hing mui powder
  • 1 lime wedge
For the cocktail:
  • 1 1/2 ounces white tequila
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur (Triple Sec or Cointreau)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (depending on how tart you like your margie)
  • 2 ounces mango juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon li hing mui powder
To garnish:
  • Lime wheel
  • Mango slice
  • Cocktail pick
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl or ramekin, mix together the sugar and li hing mui powder for the rim. Once mixed, pour onto a small round plate in a circle the size of the rim of your glass.

  2. Take the lime wedge and run it along the rim of whatever glass you are using, then dip the rim in the sugar-li hing powder mixture. Add ice to fill the glass and set aside.

  3. In a cocktail shaker halfway filled with ice, add the tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, mango juice and li hing mui powder. Seal tightly and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds, then strain into your prepared glass.

  4. Slide the lime wheel and mango slice onto the cocktail pick and use it to garnish your drink, then enjoy!

Spicy Beet Poke

Reinventing the wheel right here ↓

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, I have to admit that this wasn’t my own inventive idea, but I do have to say I’m pretty darn excited that I’ve created my own version to enjoy WHENEVER I want. Spicy Beet Poke is going to be my jam for the foreseeable future.

I first tasted Beet Poke at Mud Hen Water on my trip to Honolulu in November. As soon as I took a bite, I kicked myself for not having thought of this idea myself. Basically, we’re talking all of the delicious flavors that go into making the classic ahi poke, but subbing in this hearty, sweet root vegetable instead of the fish. The version I had at Mud Hen Water was dressed as classic ahi poke is, but me being the heat-lover that I am, I had to go ahead and spice it up a bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I love good old Spicy Poke with fresh ahi just as much (or more) than the next gal, but I love it soooo much that sometimes I think I should cool it on my raw ahi intake (or drink a ton of green tea to counteract the mercury!) I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, balance is the key.

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

P.S. Did you know my Spicy Poke Bowls are the number one pinned recipe on Pinterest??

This is also a great alternative for those who either (a) do not like or (b) cannot eat raw fish. I’m all about finding alternative versions of dishes that everyone can enjoy!

Plus, did I mention how healthy this Spicy Beet Poke is? Beets are chock full of Vitamin C, potassium and folate, and the dressing is incredibly light yet super flavorful. We use sesame oil and soy sauce, and feel free to use low-sodium soy if you’re watching your sodium intake. For the spice, we throw in some sambal oelek (aka Korean chili paste), and of course we need to add in the classic sliced green onions and white sesame seeds, for both great color AND flavor.

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

In other words, this is the PERFECT dish for kicking off your New Year’s healthy eating resolutions on the right foot. And, if you roast the beets ahead of time, it comes together in less than 10 minutes flat. Healthy AND quick, how about that?

We’re heading back from Lake Tahoe today and, although it was so fun spending such quality time with our parents, I’m excited to get back home and get back into my routine again. I’m also working on my goals and content for 2017, so please let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see more of here at CaliGirl Cooking for the New Year.

Have a great rest of the week and I’ll see you on Friday with a “healthy” cocktail recipe!

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

Spicy Beet Poke
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A vegan take on the classic Hawaiian ahi poke, with beets taking place of the fish and a spicy kick that will keep you coming back for more!

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 medium beets, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (or sriracha)
  • Seaweed salad, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place beets on a jelly roll pan lined with aluminum foil and drizzle on olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss a bit to combine. Roast in oven for about 40 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the beets with a fork. Remove and place in refrigerator until cold to the touch, at least 30 minutes.

  2. Remove the cold beets from the refrigerator and cut into cubes. Place in a medium mixing bowl. Add green onions, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil and sambal oelek and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with seaweed salad. This dish is best served cold.

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

It’s so healthy you can eat the whole thing!!

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn

Popcorn = life.

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn | CaliGirl Cooking

We’re back in the states and I’m feeling serious vacation hangover. I wish we could have stayed in Belize for just a little while longer! I just keep reminding myself that we took a shorter honeymoon so we can take some more big vacations later this year…It will all have been worth it in the end!

Right now all I want to do is sit on the couch with a big bowl of this Healthier Hurricane Popcorn and sift through all of our wedding and honeymoon photos. Do I really have to adult today?

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn | CaliGirl Cooking

Regardless of whether or not we have to face the real world again, I’m definitely going to be popping up some of this deliciousness today. Who here has ever even heard of Hurricane Popcorn? If you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time in Hawaii (or just gone to see a movie while visiting), you’ll likely have heard of Hurricane Popcorn. It’s essentially extra-buttery popcorn tossed with furikake (one of my absolute favorite Asian ingredients made up of nori, sesame seeds, and other seasonings) and arare (a.k.a. Japanese rice crackers.)

If you’ve never heard of or don’t have any idea where to find things like furikake or arare, have no fear. Both are available on Amazon (as is everything else under the sun.) So there really are no excuses not to stuff your face with this Healthier Hurricane Popcorn right away!

Seriously, this stuff is like crack. Once you start eating it, you’ll hardly notice that 5 minutes later you just MIGHT have eaten the whole bag. And you have the buttery fingers to prove it. Now aren’t you glad I’ve come up with a healthier version for you?

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn | CaliGirl Cooking

It’s a SUPER easy swap: I simply used coconut oil instead of butter! Not only is it healthier, but it adds an extra-tropical touch to a recipe that’s already associated with warm weather and humidity.

Here’s how we do it:

We pop up some plain popcorn in a pan and use coconut oil to pop instead of the usual peanut or canola oil one might use.

After the corn is popped, we add just a little more coconut oil and the furikake and give it a good toss.

Lastly, we toss in the arare and eat up all of the Healthier Hurricane Popcorn immediately!

Pretty easy, right? Healthy, delicious, addicting…This is the perfect “I can’t adult today recipe.” Now, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be sitting on the couch with a giant bowl of this and putting off any work I should be getting done today.

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn | CaliGirl Cooking

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 
A healthier take on a popular Hawaiian snack: popcorn popped in coconut oil and topped with furikake and arare. A delicious movie treat!
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil liquid state, divided
  • 6 tablespoons popcorn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon furikake
  • ½ cup arare
Instructions
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a couple of unpopped popcorn kernels to the pan. Once they pop, add the rest of the kernels.
  2. Cover pan with a lid and shake gently over heat to ensure as many kernels as possible get popped. Once you no longer hear popping, remove pan from heat.
  3. Add 1 more tablespoon of coconut oil and furikake to the popped corn. Toss to coat.
  4. Finally, stir in the arare.

 

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn | CaliGirlCooking.com

Feed me.

If you liked this recipe, you might also like:

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

How to Make a Li Hing Pineapple Margarita

Learn how to make an exotic Li Hing Pineapple Margarita in a few easy steps. It’s a showstopper of a cocktail to serve at your next get-together!

Two Li Hing Pineapple Margaritas in front of a whole pineapple and some sliced limes.

These Li Hing Pineapple Margaritas are the perfect, refreshing adult beverages to (a) make for your next cocktail party (b) serve ice cold at your next pool party  or (c) whip up when you get home from work this evening because, let’s face it, you will most DEFINITELY be needing a margarita after a long day at work. And if you’re looking for inspiration on the food side, I dare say this Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts would be just perfect. Let’s just make it a Hawaiian-themed evening!

But what, you say, is this bright red ingredient called li hing?

Li hing is actually officially known as “li hing mui,” which is a salty dried plum found at Hawaii’s numerous “crack seed stores.” I’m not a huge fan of the plums in their whole dried form, but li hing mui powder [*affiliate link] is one of my absolute favorite Hawaiian ingredients. It’s sweet, with just a little bit of saltiness. Some of my favorite uses for li hing mui powder are to sprinkle it over fresh mango and pineapple, mix it into the Japanese arare rice crackers or, of course, use it in a margarita!

The slight saltiness of the li hing mui powder is the perfect contrast to the typically highly acidic margarita. Plus, I must add that it imparts such an amazing color to the drink! Go ahead, skip the lipstick for the evening, you definitely won’t be needing it if you’re enjoying one of these Li Hing Pineapple Margaritas.

An overhead shot of two bright red Li Hing Pineapple Margaritas, surrounded by more fresh pineapple, lime and a cocktail jigger.

How to Make a Li Hing Mui Margarita

Once you have the li hing mui powder in hand, these drinks are a snap to make. We even get fancy and rim our glasses with a little extra of the good stuff because, when in Rome (or Hawaii?)

I used Trader Joe’s pineapple juice for this recipe (we love their juices because they don’t have a bunch of unnecessary added ingredients) BUT if you wanted to use fresh pineapple juice, you could easily make what juice you need and then cover any leftover pineapple in li hing mui powder. Just saying. Maybe even add it as a garnish for the drink? Now I’m kicking myself for not thinking of that.

Once you have all of the ingredients ready to go, simply toss them into a cocktail shaker with some ice, give ’em a good shake, and then strain it over some fresh ice in your nicely rimmed glass. You have your fair share of garnish options – feel free to use something as simple as a lime wheel or as extravagant as a li hing mui dipped wedge of fresh pineapple and an umbrella. I’ll leave that decision up to you 😉

Oh, and if you like this recipe, you’ve GOT to try out my Taste of the Tropics Li Hing Mango Margarita I created for #margaritaweek2019. It’s another showstopper!

If you have any fun suggestions for how to use li hing mui powder, drop them in the comments below!

A single Li Hing Pineapple Margarita garnished with a pineapple wedge.

 

Li Hing Pineapple Margarita
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

Learn how to make an exotic Li Hing Pineapple Margarita in a few easy steps. It's a showstopper of a cocktail to serve at your next get-together!

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Keyword: drinks, Hawaiian, margarita, pineapple, tequila
Servings: 1 drink
Calories: 188 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ ounces white tequila
  • ½ ounce Triple Sec or Cointreau
  • Juice of 1 lime divided (you will need ½ for the actual drink and ½ for rimming the glass)
  • 1 ounce sweet-and-sour I prefer Sonoma Syrup’s Five Citrus Sweet & Sour
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon li hing mui powder plus ½ - 1 teaspoon more for rimming the glass
Instructions
  1. Combine tequila, orange liqueur, juice of ½ of a lime, sweet-and-sour, pineapple juice and 1/4 teaspoon li hing mui powder in a cocktail shaker with ice.

  2. Using two small bread plates, squeeze juice from the other ½ of the lime on one and ½ - 1 teaspoon of li hing mui powder on the other. Take margarita glass and dip in lime juice first, then dip in li hing mui powder. Set aside.
  3. Shake ingredients in the cocktail shaker vigorously for about 30 seconds, then pour into rimmed margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wedge or li hing mui-covered pineapple chunk, if desired.

 

Kamaboko Dip

A delicious Hawaiian party dip for your next luau or tropical get-together, where kamaboko (Japanese fishcake) is the star along with green onions and dashi. The perfect accompaniment to potato chips!

A classic Hawaiian party dip, serve it as an appetizer or side dish at your next luau or tropical get-together!

Today I am sharing one of my favorite Hawaiian party dips and I couldn’t be more excited. I first have to give credit to Auntie Leona, who has been making Kamaboko Dip for us whenever we visit Oahu for, oh, since I can remember? This dish always has to make an appearance when we’re there, or else my brother would never forgive Auntie.

Now, my kane and wahine, this is so simple to make. The hardest part will be tracking down some of the ingredients, but I’ve included links to buy the tricky ones and easy substitutions for others so you have absolutely no excuse not to go into your kitchen and make Kamaboko Dip right this instant (or in two days when your Amazon Prime order shows up at your door.) Plus, I’m sharing this recipe a full TWO WEEKS before Super Bowl which means it better be making an appearance in front of the TV on game day (along with these Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates, this Caramelized Fennel, White Bean & Gruyere Dip, this Mango Salsa and this Pastrami Pizza.) Just saying.

A classic Hawaiian party dip, serve it as an appetizer or side dish at your next luau or tropical get-together!

Did I mention this dip is also pretty darn healthy? Whoa whoa, let me back up a bit. The original Kamaboko Dip recipe, like “Auntie’s version,” is not exactly what we would classify as “healthy” (hello sour cream and mayonnaise!) And if you could care less about your Super Bowl Sunday being “healthy,” then by all means go for the full-fledged version (which I also tell you how to do here), but this blog is all about balance, right? I took the liberty of taking the original recipe and tweaking it just a leeeetle bit to make us feel slightly less guilty for consuming it all in one sitting using Maui onion potato chips as a vehicle from bowl to mouth. Oh, is that just me? You can tell I really love this dip.

So, although you may not recognize all of the ingredients, the list is short and simple: Greek yogurt, a tiiiiiny bit of mayo, kamaboko (fishcake), dashi powder and green onions. Shred up the kamaboko, chop up the green onions, throw everything together in a bowl and we’re ready before the National Anthem has even been sung.

 

Even though we’ve “healthied” this recipe up a bit, it still tastes absolutely amazing (if the rate at which the fiancé and I ate it is any indication.) You really cannot tell that we’ve used mostly Greek yogurt instead of the standard version of half sour cream and half mayonnaise. There’s a slight sweetness from the kamaboko, the tartness from the yogurt, and the combined flavor of the green onions and dashi that make this Kamaboko Dip the perfectly balanced, healthy party dish. And, although it is delicious with plenty of healthy “dipper” options (vegetables, pretzels, pita bread or chips, etc.) please, please, please do me a favor and at least give the Maui onion potato chips a shot. You won’t be sorry, even if you have to do a few extra lunges the next day.

A classic Hawaiian party dip, serve it as an appetizer or side dish at your next luau or tropical get-together!

Happy Sunday my friends! Aloha!

Kamaboko Dip
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

A classic Hawaiian party dip, serve it as an appetizer or side dish at your next luau or tropical get-together!

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Keyword: appetizer, dip, Hawaiian, kamaboko, luau, party food, side dish
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 175 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 green onions, chopped (both green and white parts)
  • 1 dashi powder packet
  • 8 ounces kamaboko, shredded You can use imitation crabmeat if you can't find kamaboko.
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine. For best results, let dip sit for about a half hour before serving. Serve with crudites, pita chips, tortilla chips or Maui onion potato chips (the best!)