Black Salt (Kala Namak)
Black Salt is a type of rock salt commonly used in South Asian and Indian cuisines. Black Salt’s distinctive flavour and aroma come from its high concentration of sulphur. Also known as Kala Namak, Black Indian Salt and Kala Loon, Black Salt actually varies in hue from browns and dark pinks to reds and violet due to the presence of iron. Black Salt appears light pink when ground into a fine powder, which is its commonly used form for cooking.
Origins of Black Salt
Black Salt is mined from the Himalayan mountains in Pakistan, Nepal and India. Traditionally, it is transformed from its raw form through a centuries-old reductive chemical process that involves sealing the salt in a ceramic jar with charcoal and spices before firing for 24 hours. It’s then cooled, stored and aged resulting in its final form rich in iron, sulphur and other trace elements.
Black Salt’s unique trace minerals
Like pink Himalayan Salt, Black Salt largely consists of sodium chloride, but they differ in the trace minerals they contain. Additional to the iron sulphide that provides its distinctive colour, Black Salt contains sulphur which gives it its savoury taste and characteristic egg-like smell.
Cooking with Black Salt
Black Salt is used extensively in South Asian cuisine in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as a condiment used to flavour chaats, chutneys, salads, fruit, raitas and many other dishes. Black Salt is a key ingredient in chaat masala, a traditional Indian spice blend. It can be used in vegan cooking to mimic the taste of eggs because of its unique sulphur flavour. Black Salt is also delicious on popcorn, naan, focaccia and bagels.
Black Salt for Health
In traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Black Salt is regarded as a cooling spice. It’s used to improve digestion, relieve flatulence and heartburn and is also used as a laxative. Black Salt is thought to improve eyesight and has even been used to treat hysteria. Mixed with other minerals and herbs, it can be crushed into a powder believed to be good for dental hygiene.