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Nov 30, 2001 10:36 AM

Black salt

  • l

Last time I went on a spice run to Jackson Hts I picked up some black salt. Not sure what to do with it. Is it really salt? What's the usual way to use it?

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  1. Interesting question! Black salt is new to me, too. Here's what I found out. It's an Indian spice. Its Indian name is either kala namak or sanchal. It is a strong-smelling rock salt that adds a "very unusual flavor totally different than its aroma". It's used in snacks and pickles. It is actually pink, or purplish-brown. You can buy it at, four ounces for $1.60.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cats

      One use for black salt (kala namak) is on chaat basically the indian version of fruit salad usually in combination with a number of other spices including regular salt, chilipepper, lime juice

      1. re: zim

        Thanks for info.

        Thing is, I have it already, so last night I put it in a yogurt dressing (with cumin, garlic, coriander powder, etc.) for a chaat that also had spicy dry-cooked potatoes, asofetida papadum cracked up, chickpeas, tamarind chutney, green coriander pickle, cubes of cucumber, and sev.

        The black salt is really hard and comes in large chunks, like quartz, so I grated it with a microplane, and it smelled sulphuric. I can't put my finger on the taste, but it was sort of like "rotten" salt, with a little sour flavor. Can't think what else to do with it. It was pricey, for Jackson Hts, so I suspect it's valued for something.

    2. I've been enamoured by the "idea" of black salt for a long time, until I recently tasted it... It has been called for in several Indian dishes I've wanted to prepare, so when I was finally in the right place at the right time, I bought this precious dust, and all I can say is BLECK!!! Mixed it with yogurt and sugar as per the recipe, and not only did it smell like a rotten egg, I couldn't get past the smell to appreciate the taste - which I might add was somewhat stomach curdling... I don't get it, but would love to hear from someone who does... Oh yeah... and if you're from Toronto, don't get it at House of Spice... Go to Sunny Market... for less than you'll pay for a tiny amount at HOS, you can get a large pouch of it from Sunny Market...

      1. One common use for black salt is in Jal-jeera, a spiced cool drink from Northern India. Some of my Punjabi friends make this in the Summertime & is quite refreshing. I was able to google recipes but can't say which one is best (in addition to cumin & black salt, I feel amchur (mango powder) would be a key ingredient as well).

        1. A shop near me sells it. I had one grain of it, it didn't taste too bad. I thought it would look really pretty on salted caramels. (The contrast)

          1. It's used in very tiny qualities in chaats and is an addition to any good chaat masala mix. It is known to be good for digestion, and is added to salty lassis and jal-zeera along with other ingredients like cumin and mint. The smell is sulfuric, and it may taste sulfuric if one eats a pinch of it on its own, but it isn't meant to be consumed that way. It is also sprinkled on fruit and soft-boiled eggs along with chile, cumin, and dried mango powder (the basic ingredients of chaat masala). Fresh in-season fruit doesn't need any doctoring, but any fruit that is a little over ripe can be revamped with a sprinkle of this mixture.