Mined from the volcanic regions of Pakistan and India, Black Salt is commonly used in Indian cuisine as a condiment. Known as Kala Namak or Sanchal in Hindi, this volcanic rock salt is actually purple/red grey in colour rather than black and has a very distinctive sulphurous mineral taste, somewhat similar to the taste and smell of hardboiled egg yolks.
Owing to its’ distinct sulphurous flavour, it is not usually interchangeable with regular salt and may give the dish a different taste, which could be undesirable to some. It is available in three forms: Fine, coarse medium crystals and uncrushed lumps of small rocks.
Black Salt adds a unique flavour to tangy fresh salads called ‘chaats’, and also in fresh chutneys, snacks, pickles, raitas (yoghurt-based salads) and many other savoury Indian items, adding a different and unique flavour than that of ordinary salt. It is sometimes used to flavour summer cool drinks like the famous cumin-scented Jal Jeera. It also enhances the flavour of fruits such as bananas, apples and citrus fruits, as it adds a different flavour and balances the sourness of tart fruits, such as oranges or lemons.
Black salt is often used by Vegans, as it mimics the taste of eggs. In a vegan diet, black salt can be used to spice up tofu, thereby creating a flavour similar to that of egg salad.
According to India’s traditional medical science Ayurveda, black salt is full of therapeutic benefits. It is rich in iron, and is a cure for flatulence and heartburn. Ayurvedic doctors also state that sea and rock salt, such as black salt, are the most beneficial forms of salt because contrary to usual salt they don’t increase the sodium content of blood and are therefore recommended for patients with high blood pressure. It is also a rejuvenator in aiding digestion and improves eyesight.
Black salt’s unique flavour and taste profile is unlike any other salt, creating a unique taste for those with courageous palates.
By Aimee Goliath