Not Your Usual Ingredient: Kala Namak

As is my custom, I’m always on the lookout for ingredients that aren’t run of the mill. One day recently, I was sitting at the computer with one of my best friends, Google. I was putting Google through its paces to find yet another strange and exotic ingredient. I happened upon a vegan site that was talking about BLACK salt, or Kala Namak.

Black Salt

It adds a distinctive flavor reminiscent of boiled eggs but much better. I’m hooked on this stuff. I haven’t used my mother’s salt for years—you know, the kind that comes in a blue box with the picture of a girl with an umbrella on the front. However, the sea salts I have been using don’t even come close to this. They have their own flavors but they are very muted. This is in-your-face with flavor. It has a sulfurous smell that can be off-putting at first but you need to give it a chance. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

A little goes a very long way. I was reaching into the bag and getting a pinch to put on my food but that wasn’t getting it. I got out my extra salt shaker that had Himalayan Pink in it, emptied it into the other shaker and filled it with the black salt. Now I can sprinkle it on with a careful hand. I still use the Pink as my “everyday” salt. I haven’t abandoned it.

Himalayan Pink Salt

Himalayan Pink Salt

The Kala Namak goes in every savory dish imaginable. I haven’t tried it in a sweet dish—yet. I may get there but it might be just a little strange to mix those flavors.

In the description of the product it says, “This condiment is used in India and is used extensively in Indian cuisine as a condiment or added to chaats, chutneys, all kinds of fruits, raitas and many other savory Indian snacks. Chaat masala, an Indian spice blend, is dependent upon black salt for its characteristic sulfurous hard-boiled egg aroma. Non-Indians who are not accustomed to black salt often describe the smell as similar to boiled eggs.”

Well…all kinds of fruits. Guess I’ll have to branch out some and try it on something sweet, after all. As for Indian food, I’m very much a newbie. You’ll have to remember that I grew up in the Deep South. A lot of progress has been made over the years between then and now but I still have lots of exploring to do. And it’s something I really do enjoy.

Let me know if you are familiar with black salt and how you use it. And if you aren’t and don’t, be brave and try it!

6 Responses to Not Your Usual Ingredient: Kala Namak

  1. Cheryl November 21, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    I love kala namak! I discovered it just over a month ago in a workshop given by Dr. Aris LaTham. During the workshop he used it in with fruit/sweets as well as savory dishes and it was wonderful. Now I use it in everything. It’s likely to take the place of my himalayan pink, although I probably won’t let the pink go entirely.

    • Tommie November 21, 2011 at 7:33 am #

      Good to hear from an experienced user! I’ve only used it IN something once and, other than that, as a finishing salt. Do you substitute 1:1?

  2. Lila November 22, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    I never heard of Himalayan Pink. let alone kala namak! Glad you’re enjoying your new discovery.

    • Tommie November 22, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

      It’s much better than the usual sea salt you find on the supermarket shelves. The Kala Namak is extra specially good!! It’s kind of my treat for the month (or maybe two).

  3. Genese November 24, 2011 at 1:15 am #

    it DOES smell and taste like eggs.. but that’s not a con.. just unusual. it was good on the mashed potatoes Bell left for me…

    my mind’s in overdrive trying to imagine how it would enhance different foods.

    • Tommie November 24, 2011 at 9:35 am #

      So far, I’ve liked it on everything I put it on.

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