Showing posts with label bit lobon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bit lobon. Show all posts

Apr 17, 2016

Ingredients: Himalayan Black Salt, Kala Namak, Kala Noon, Bit Lobon, Bire Noon

Himalayan Black Salt, Kala Namak, Kala Noon, Bit Lobon, Bire Noon

Himalayan black salt is a condiment or seasoning used in South Asia. Traditionally mined in the Himalayas for centuries it is variously called kala namak, kala noon, bit lobon, or bire noon in the languages of the Indian Subcontinent. The raw mined rock salt is not naturally the deep violet to brownish color you see in the photo above. It is heated in a furnace for twenty-four hours reducing the naturally occurring iron sulfate to a darker sulfide. Nowadays most Himalayan black salt is prepared synthetically in big factories in India. 

The remote high altitude Nepali region of Mustang where there are several salt mines.
Himalayan black salt's pungent, egg-like taste comes from all the sulfurous compounds it contains. It's slightly sour flavor comes from acidic bisulfites and bisulfates. The saltiness of Himalayan black salt comes from sodium chloride, the same as table salt. It's deep violet hue is a result of natural occurring iron sulfate being kilned and reduced to iron sulfide. When ground for consumption the dark crystals become a soft pink powder.

Himalayan Black Salt, Kala Namak, Kala Noon, Bit Lobon, Bire Noon
Ground Himalayan black salt.
In Nepal, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh Himalayan black salt is used to flavor savory chutneys, raitas, and even fruit. It is also the ingredient responsible for the pungent flavor of the popular Desi spice blend called chaat masala.


Chaat means snack and masala means spices. I always thought the sulfury tinge to chaat masalas was solely due to hing or asafoetida. Then I tasted Himalayan black salt and recognized it immediately. Chaat masala usually contains a mixture of Himalayan black salt, amchur, dry ginger, hing, cumin, black pepper, ajwain,  chili powder, and coriander.  Chaats made of raw chopped vegetables of fruits are often sold by street vendors in South Asia which are liberally laced with chaat masala.

Himalayan Black Salt, Kala Namak, Kala Noon, Bit Lobon, Bire Noon

Interestingly, the vegan community has found a new use for Himalayan black salt. To some the pungent sulfur flavor of Himalayan black salt reminds them of eggs. So if you are looking to make your tofu scramble or deviled tofu taste more egg-like just add a dash of Himalayan black salt. Who knew there was a pink salt that tastes like eggs!?!

Himalayan Black Salt, Kala Namak, Kala Noon, Bit Lobon, Bire Noon
Vegan deviled eggs with kala namak courtesy of Baked In
Helpful hints:
Do not confuse Himalayan pink salt with Himalayan black salt, the pink salt comes from the Salt Range mountains in Pakistan and tastes just like regular table salt despite it's pink hue. When ground Himalayan black salt looks pink but tastes like rotten eggs or sulfur.

Calmly currying on,
Bibi

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