Kala Namak, also known as black salt, is a type of natural volcanic rock salt mined from the Northern Indian and Pakistani Himalayas salt ranges. It is used as a salty and pungent smelling seasoning in South Asia. It consists primarily of salt (sodium chloride) and trace levels of sodium sulphate, iron sulphide and hydrogen sulphide. The eggy smell of this condiment is mainly due to its sulphur content. 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 characteristic eggy aroma.
Black salt is used extensively in South Asian cuisines of India and Pakistan as a condiment or added to chaats, chutneys, raitas and other savoury Indian snacks. Chaat masala, an Indian spice blend, is dependent upon black salt for its characteristic eggy aroma. It is used to flavour fast foods of India and Pakistan like bhelpuri, golgappa, aaloo chaat and Dahi puri. Black salt is used by some by vegans with tofu for example to mimic the taste of some egg dishes such as egg mayo sandwiches, scrambled tofu and quiche. Black salt may be used as a laxative and digestive aid, it may also relieve intestinal gas and heartburn.
I used my new black salt to flavour a tofu ‘egg mayo’ sandwich. It was quite astonishing! If I hadn’t made it myself, I wouldn’t have believed it was vegan. This is clearly only for egg fans! My fella won’t be touching it with a bargepole as the smell of eggs has always made him run into the garden gagging! But for vegans who miss the odd egg dish this is an eggcellent seasoning!