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Black Salt or Kala Namak

Posted by deborahmclaren on January 1, 2011

Several friends have recently been searching for black salt. What the heck is it? Where do you buy it? Why would you want it?

Apparently it is used a lot in Indian cooking. Kala Namak or Black Salt is a special type of Indian mineral salt. When ground into the small crystals or powder, it actually changes color to pink. It has a very distinctive sulfurous mineral taste (like hard boiled egg yolks).

Black Salt or Kala Namak

Its smell is mainly due to sulfur content. Kala namak consists primarily of sodium chloride and trace impurities of sodium sulfate, iron sulfide, and hydrogen sulfide.

Sodium chloride provides kala namak with its salty taste, iron sulphide provides its dark violet hue, and all the sulphur compounds give kala namak its slight bitter taste as well as a highly distinctive smell, with hydrogen sulphide being the most prominent contributor to the smell. Vegan chefs have made this salt popular for adding in eggy flavor to dishes like tofu scrambles. Kala Namak is used in authentic Indian cooking, and popular in mango smoothies.

Indian black salt is not to be confused with Hawaiian black salt, smoked sea salt or “black salt” used in Wiccan ceremonies (for jinx removing). Black rock salts are mined in several parts of the world, including Hawaii, Utah, Bolivia, the Murray-Darling basin of Australia, Peru, and Poland are marketed as Himalayan salt or pink salt. The color results from iron oxide.

Indian black salt comes from the Himalayan Mountains and has been used for centuries in Indian cuisine as cooking and finishing salt. In addition to the supreme taste it also has some exceptional health benefits. In India black salt is recommended for people with high blood pressure and to people who are on low-salt diets, because it is lower in sodium and does not increase sodium content in the blood. It is also know for comforting intestinal gas and heartburn. It is believed to help with indigestion. It is also considered a cooling spice in ayurvedic medicine which uses this salt as a digestive. Great on: yogurt and cheese Exceptional on summer favorites such as cucumbers, watermelon and mangoes.

It’s about $4 dollars per 6 ounces.

More recently, large crystal rocks are also used as Salt lamps. A salt lamp is a lamp carved from a larger salt crystal, often colored, with an incandescent bulb or a candle inside. The lamps give an attractive glow and are suitable for use as nightlights or for ambient mood lighting.

salt lamp

Ayurvedic Properties: It pacifies Vata and increases Pitta and Kapha. It contributes the salty taste and has a heating quality.

In ayurveda, black salt is considered an aid to digestion. Ground with ajwain and lemon juice and eaten, black salt helps balance the digestion. A couple of pinches of black salt and 1/8 tsp. dry-roasted ground cumin can be used to make digestive lassi. Black salt, with lemon and cliantro, is used to make a dressing for spicy fruit salsa or chick-pea salads.

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4 Responses to “Black Salt or Kala Namak”

  1. Mmm. Is it a heating or cooling spice in ayurveda? I’ll have to investigate further!

  2. Cooling!

  3. mbbii said

    Also used in some parts of India to treat goiter. I would go to the nearest Indian grocery store and buy a large packet for a few dollars, instead of buying from pricier health food stores. Ditto for cumin, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida etc. I also buy yogurt (Dahi) from Indian grocery. The best is “Deep” brand yogurt found in Indian grocery stores in the US. Make a lassi with 1/2 cup of Dahi, blended with 1/2 cup water or milk, pinch or two of powdered asafoetida, 1/2 teaspoon of powdered – dry roasted cumin seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon of Kala namak. (you can adjust the kala namak based on taste). Blend and drink it up – great for digestion, blood pressure, acid reflux, bacterial infections etc…but I drink it because it is so yummy and addictive.

  4. I found it at the “Little India” store at 18 1/2 street & Central Ave North in Minneapolis for less than $2.00 for a small bag.

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