Can you guess why vegan’s love using black salt? Vegan’s use Black Salt in order to mimic the smell, taste and flavor of egg. Black salt is very high in sulfur. It is the sulfur that gives your vegan recipes the smell and flavor of cooked eggs.
Kala Nanak, also known as Black Salt is such an exciting ingredient to use in vegan cooking! I’ve personally used this special ingredient in my egg’s Benedict recipe, tofu scramble and even french toast!
What is Black Salt?
Black Salt (Kala Namak) is a Himalayan salt popular in South East Asian Cuisine, specifically used in India. It is usually pink in colour-but do not confuse this with Himalayan pink salt-they are two very different ingredients! Let me tell you why!
What is the difference between Black Salt and Pink Salt?
Although Black Salt is still pink in colour, it has a very distinctive sulfur taste. If you somehow ended up using black salt instead of a pink Himalayan sea salt I think you would be pretty surprised by how it flavours a dish. Depending on what you were trying to make, it might totally ruin it!
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Where does Black salt come from?
Black salt is found in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and not surprisingly, the Himalayas. It is mined from the salt beds and then put through additional processes to transform it into Kala Namak for culinary use.
How Black Salt is Made
In order for Black Salt to be transformed into the culinary salt we know and love it is super heated. Other additives such as activated charcoal, harad seeds and others are added to the salt to help bring out it’s distinctive flavour and smell.
This process takes place when it is still in it’s large rock formation-not yet ground. This is what turns the salt from its natural pink colour to black. Once the salt is ground into a powder, the colour resembles more of a pink shade.
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How to Identify Black Salt
Black salt does not actually look black in it’s powdered form. It had a light pink colour similar to Himalayan pink salt.
The most identifiable characteristic is the sulfur smell it has. If you are shopping for black salt and you are not able to smell the product-look for “Kala Namak” .
This is it’s traditional name and will not be confused with any other salts of similar colour.
The different Types of Black Salt
There is a fantastic article put together by “The Salt Box” that outlines the different types of black salt and their uses.
In addition to Indian black salt there are also:
Cyprus Black Flakesalt: known for its crunchy texture, and black colour. A perfect finishing salt.
Hawaiian Black Lava Salt: Also used as a finishing salt, this one comes from the Pacific ocean and is created using activated charcoal from coconut shells.
What Cultures Use Black Salt?
As mentioned above, Black salt is traditionally used in Indian cuisine. You can find this ingredient used extensively in snacks, chutneys, raitas, and chaat.
Is Kala Namak Good For You?
Black salt is still a salt after all. It’s main component is sodium chloride. It does have other trace minerals in it as well, so it could be considered to be more health promoting than plain old table salt, however there are most likely better options to get these micro-nutrients (such as from whole plant foods) with out all the added sodium.
The Nutritional Properties of Black Salt:
When I was taking a peek at the nutritional aspects of Kala Namak, I came across a few sources. One source was from “Blooming Your Lifestyle”. In this post they described back salt as being about 37% sodium, 0.3% potassium, 0.2% calcium and around 0.1% magnesium.
The brand of black salt that I purchased was by “Pride of India”. On the back of that package it says the sodium content is about 18%. There were no values for any other minerals stated.
From what I’ve learned, it seems that the nutritional value of black salt depends largely on where the salt was mined, and how it was produced.
Black salt as medicine
Black salt is very popular in Ayurveda which is a type of healing belief that originated in India. It is known as a “cooling” spice.
It is said to help with various ailments such as digestive issues like constipation, bloating and heartburn.
People also say it can help with respiratory issues-and even depression!
Although there is no scientific research backing this up that I found, I still like the idea of black salt helping with more than just my taste buds!
How to Use Kala Namak
As mentioned above, Black Salt can be used in cuisine to replace the flavour of eggs. With this being said, I have seen this ingredient used in dips, baking, savory dishes and sides. Personally I’ve used it in Tofu Scrambles, my Hollandaise Sauce, pancake recipes and french toast!
Black salt and Magic??
So this is pretty cool…
When I was first discovering black salt I did a bit of research. Apparently black salt’s magic goes beyond just flavour in cooking to bring about that delicious egg-like taste.
People who follow Wiccan traditions and rituals say that black salt can be used to purify or protect.
This form of black salt is not used for culinary purposes, and it can be made at home.
This website, Learn Religions had a ton of different information on the history and uses of salt in rituals if you’re interested in learning more.
Where To Get Kala Namak
I actually had a pretty hard time finding this ingredient. My local Bulk Barn didn’t have it, and neither did any well stocked grocery stores or health food stores in my area.
I didn’t check in Edmonton (which is a pretty big city as you probably know). And if you are in my area, it could be worth phoning around to some specialty spice stores.
I just saved myself the trouble and added it to an order I already was making on Amazon.
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Megan Kerry is a Vegan Lifestyle Educator and Licensed Practical Nurse. Her content focuses on vegan recipes and ethical living. She is a mom of four children, a long time vegan, and an even longer time foodie. She loves veganizing any and all dishes and sharing her recipes and lifestyle tips with all of you!