Is Black Salt Better than Regular Salt?

What is Black Salt?


Kala namak is a kiln-fired rock salt with a sulphurous, pungent smell used in the Indian subcontinent. It is also known as "Himalayan black salt", Sulemani namak, bire noon, bit loona, bit lobon, kala loon, guma loon, or pada loon, and is manufactured from the salts mined in the regions surrounding the Himalayas.

The condiment is composed largely of sodium chloride, with several other components lending the salt its colour and smell. The smell is mainly due to its sulphur content. Because of the presence of Iron sulphide in the mineral, it forms brownish-pink to dark violet translucent crystals when whole. When ground into a powder, its colour ranges from purple to pink.

Kala namak has been praised in Ayurveda and used for its perceived medical qualities. Ayurvedic healers claim that Himalayan black salt has therapeutic qualities. However, it’s debatable whether these claims are rooted in solid research.

Interestingly, despite its name, Himalayan black salt is pinkish-brown in colour.

Himalayan Black Salt (Kala Namak)


Types of black salt

Head to any gourmet store and you will find that there is more than one type of black salt. In fact there are two other common types of black salt that you need to be aware of: black ritual salt and black lava salt. These black salts are nothing like the umami-rich, flavor enhancing kind that is Himalayan black salt, and are used for very different purposes.

Black Ritual Salt
Firstly, Black Ritual Salt is a type of salt made by a blend of charcoal powder or dyes to obtain the dark color, and is usually found at special curiosity stores for purposes outside of the kitchen. 

Black Lava Salt
Black lava salt, on the other hand, is simply a table salt blended with activated charcoal and comes from Hawaii or Cyprus. Use black lava salt (also called Hawaiian black salt) as a finishing salt - it is great for visual effect rather than adding actual flavor. 

Black Himalayan Salt
It is the most used salt variety for its deep, savory taste. It not only provides medicinal properties but also gives earthly flavor to the dish.


How is Black Salt different from Regular Salt?

Black salt differs from regular table salt in the way it’s made and the way it tastes. 
Manufactured Differently - Kala Namak is actually manufactured by heating it up at extremely high temperatures in the kilns and then is mixed with the seed of Harad or Black Myrobalan tree to imbibe certain therapeutic properties to it. The finished product contains impurities like sulphates, sulphides, iron, and magnesium, contributing to its color, smell, and taste. These impurities are likely not harmful to your health. Sulphates are considered safe to eat and are used in certain food products to control harmful bacterial growth. On the contrary, Black Lava Salt is one you can add to your everyday cooking. It has a robust, unique taste that is unlike ordinary salt. You can use it on steak and match it with Cabernet or make use of its gentle abrasiveness in a healing foot bath.

Alternatively, regular table salt — the kind you find in your salt shaker — is highly processed and refined, meaning most of the trace minerals are removed. Most table salt comes from large rock salt deposits — a result of evaporated ancient oceans — that are mainly found in the United States, Canada, Germany, Eastern Europe, and China. Seve