Common Name: Black Himalayan Salt Scientific Name: Kala Namak
Origin: Himalaya, India (Indian Subcontinents) Other Names: Indian Black, Himalayan Lava Salt
SO WHAT IS Kala Namak?
Of all the world’s black salts, Indian Black Salt is the most revered. Also known to as Kala namak, its name is actually a little deceiving: made from crushed Indian volcanic rock salt, it isn’t black but rather a lovely pinkish brown color. Due to its greater level of mineral concentrates, it is a highly desired and more premium salt than its pink rock counterpart.
Indian black salt has been used for hundreds of years in Asian countries surrounding the Himalayan mountains, such as India, Nepal and Pakistan. In antiquity, it was harvested from either volcanic mines in Northern India and Pakistan, or the salt lakes surrounding Sambhar and Didwana in Rajasthan. Although originating from a similar part of the world, it is distinctly different from Himalayan pink salt, both in color and flavor. Long has the origin of both pink rock salt and black salt been disputed, as the biggest Himalayan salt mines are controlled intellectually and privately by the Pakistan Government.
CULINARY AND COOKING
Black Salt are one of the most unique and desired gourmet salts on the market, sourced from different corners of the earth, and each with their own distinct characteristics. Their bold flavors and dramatic colors make them perfect use as finishing salts, drink rims, and on food with contrasting colors.
Kala namak is a complex compound packed with a range of minerals. Like other salts, it is mainly composed of sodium chloride, but you’ll also find traces of iron sulfide, which provides its pinkish hue, sulfur compounds, which impart a distinct savory flavor that is reminiscent of eggs, and acidic bi-sulfates and bi-sulfites that contribute a mildly sour taste.
Don’t let these unique flavors deter you. While Indian black salt may smell a little odd, this dissipates very quickly once in food, and what it lacks in smell it certainly makes up for in taste. It is bold and distinct on the palate, and by no means ordinary.
Many believe Himalayan Lava Black Salt is beneficial in the following ways:
Controlling the water levels within the body
Reducing sinus infections and sinus related problems
Increasing bone strength
Helping with better and more restful sleep
Kala namak is widely used in Southern Asian cuisine, such as those from Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan. It is a central ingredient in cha-ats, chutneys, Raitas and many other savory Indian foods. Because of its rich mineral taste, it is excellent as a condiment too, particularly good in salads and on fruit.
It is also popular with vegans who are looking to bolster a meal with the flavor of eggs, but cannot eat the real thing. Try it on tofu, roast veggies, sandwiches or just about any other vegan dish!