March 25, 2022
Anupy's Spice Corner: I find it odd that more in the Indian food space don't talk about the spice Kala Namak. I am obsessed with it and personally bring it up as often as I can online and in my cooking classes to share this secret spice with all of you. Some would say I lead with this spice - the umami, or fifth taste of Indian cooking in addition to sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Kala means black and namak means salt. Though it looks off-white and slightly pinkish, it turns darker and black when wet - why it's referred to as black salt. What this magical spice does when sprinkled over or added to cold ingredients is that it elevates flavor. It gives crunchy vegetables like onions and cucumbers or even plain yogurt deeper layers of flavoring. It's at once addictive and delicious. It can also be slightly curious if you're not used to it. Kala Namak is mined from areas surrounding the Himalayas and parts of Northern India and is a volcanic rock salt, why it has slightly sulfuric properties. If you're not used to it, it can smell at first like eggs. And also why if you are trying to make tofu mimic scrambled eggs, it's a perfect spice and has become prevalent in the vegan cooking space. Using this spice correctly is important. A little goes a long way. Even a 1/2 teaspoon is perfect when added to a crunchy salad and mixed with lemon juice and a touch of regular salt. Almost all North Indian street foods have this kala namak in them, why they are so addictive. Chaat (the dish) and Chaat Masala (the spice) are both made more delicious with kala namak. While kala namak can be challenging to find, we offer it here at Indian As Apple Pie precisely because it is a critical spice in your spice box and Indian kitchen. Grab a jar from us or head to an Indian grocer for a packet - just get some into your life and see how elevated your Indian cooking can get! You can start working Kala Namak into your diet today! Below, you'll find a series of digital cards I've developed to showcase a simple salad made with deliciously addictive black salt. Download them to your phone and save them into an album titled 'IAAP' for Indian As Apple Pie -- to reach for whenever you are grocery shopping or cooking.
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