Salt is the eternal ingredient, a pinch here and a pinch there in every recipe. So why not liven up the same old dishes with an eye-catching replacement to your normal table salt: Himalayan Salt. From the brightness of the colours, to the subtlety of flavour, Himalayan pink salt is a great substitute for a multitude of reasons. We’ll provide you with these reasons today, as well as giving you some cooking tips for your new favourite ingredient. Keep reading, and we’ll even give you a few Himalayan rock salt recipes!
Why use Himalayan Sea Salt in cooking?
Himalayan Salt is natural, and free of microplastics – With no additives, Himalayan pink salt is amongst the purest salts you can get. Cut straight from the pink salt mines, it is shaved down into shape, packaged and arrives on your doorstep. Compare this with your average salt, which is often mixed with anti-caking powders and other additives. Studies have found that sea salt purchased in shops can contain microplastics, so if you want to avoid ingesting that, as you should, Himalayan rock salt is the perfect alternative.
Image by Autri Taheri
The colourful hue of ‘pink salt’ – Whilst it is known as ‘pink salt’, Himalayan salt also often contains streaks of bright orange. This is due to the minerals within, most often attributed to iron oxide, and is a remnant of the centuries of slow pressure and formation of the rock salt itself. Different grains can contain a different range of colours, and thus a different range of minerals, leaving every single grain of Himalayan salt unique. In fact, this means each grain can have a stronger flavour or a subtler flavour. The colour depends on its exposure to volcanic clay, and darker mineral deposits within give it a stronger taste. If you want to balance your Himalayan salt perfectly, you should select a mix of both darker and lighter grains. A stronger, and darker pink salt has also recently arrived on the market. Each unique grain brings its own qualities, and can elevate your dishes, particularly when left course and used as a finishing salt on a dark coloured food. I suggest sprinkling it atop some brownies.
Pink rock salt has a subtler salt flavour – Those with more discerning palates are able to identify Himalayan salt as a more delicate flavour, less salty than other salts. Some even say it is ‘sweeter’ than other salts. This is particularly true when compared to sea salt or kosher salts. Thus, if you have a delicate food that will require salt, but you don’t want it to overpower, Himalayan pink salt is your solution.
Himalayan salt blocks are perfect for all occasions – Whether you’re cooking, serving, or displaying your food, a pink salt block is exactly what you need to bring a sense of excitement. You can cook directly on the surface of the salt block, and it is extremely useful in spreading the heat evenly, thus cooking evenly. As it does so, the Himalayan salt imparts some light saltiness to the food. Some use it in place of using a skillet. If you want to, you can also serve food on it, as the Himalayan pink salt block takes some time to cool fully, allowing you to maintain the temperature of your food. Of course, there are rules for cleaning and maintaining your Himalayan salt block, but the large salt block itself will look outstanding on any dinner table, as a centrepiece and talking point.
Course Himalayan salt has a great texture – Like other large grain salts, Himalayan salt can provide a crunch. The difference is that with Himalayan pink salt, you can see the flavour within as you bite down.
Himalayan Salt recipes and dishes!
If you are new to the craze, and want to get acquainted with the taste first, it is probably best to simply scatter it into dishes you are already used to, and get a sense of the flavour. Try it on popcorn, and steamed fish. It also goes perfectly with homemade pretzels, brownies, bok choy, and Himalayan salt steak is often mentioned as the perfect pink salt dish.
We have tried and loved two Himalayan salt recipes, and perfected one of our own.
The first is Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Himalayan Pink Salt. We made it with some homemade sourdough bread, and using Himalayan salt with fresh garlic, instead of pre-seasoned Himalayan salt. It is a surprisingly filling meal, and the pink salt provides the perfect finishing touch along with the olive oil. Wonderfully, it is suitable for those who are gluten-free, and it is very low carb. Fresh and ripe tomatoes are a must.
If you have a sweeter tooth, we have another Himalayan salt recipe for you: Cinnamon Coconut Chocolate Crunch. As long as you have cornflakes to spare, you can make this a recipe to remember. We used a little more than a pinch of Himalayan salt, particularly on top of the chocolate. The pink salt crystals were a real hit, and we even went through the effort of selecting the perfect-coloured grains for colour and taste! Plus, the coarseness of the pink salt grain gave a little extra crunch on top of the already crunchy cornflakes, and paired wonderfully with the ganache-like chocolate.
Image by Maryam Zahra
Shakshuka with Himalayan Salt Recipe
Our homemade recipe is Shakshuka, a quick, easy, and tasty favourite around these parts. A variety of it, also known as eggs in purgatory, is probably a more familiar term. The bright red of the tomatoes, the orange yolks, and the egg whites sprinkled with Himalayan salt, and then covered in cilantro and parsley made it look like a restaurant worthy dish (if we say so ourselves). A common dish, often for breakfast, in the Middle East and North Africa, this is a recipe you’re guaranteed to repeat. We tried it both in a mini pan, as a single serving, and in a larger pan for 6. Literally meaning ‘a mixture’, Shakshuka can use almost any leftover ingredients you have lurking around in the fridge, with some pink salt for seasoning, of course.
Ingredients (serves 6):
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- Himalayan Pink Salt
- 3 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder (more or less, depending on spice preference)
- 1 medium can of tomatoes (whole or chopped)
- 6 eggs
- Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large pan. Add the diced onion and bell peppers, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, just enough for them to soften.
- Add the garlic, all your spices, and some Himalayan salt. Let these cook for one minute.
- Gently pour in the tomatoes. If you have whole tomatoes, break these down a little with your spoon. Add some pepper, and more Himalayan pink salt to taste. Let this simmer.
- Once you are able to make small wells in the sauce, do so with a large spoon. Crack the eggs into these wells. Whilst it will look better if your egg whites do not touch, there is no harm in them touching. Cover the pan and cook until your eggs are how you like them, either runnier or firmer.
- Garnish first with Himalayan pink salt, sprinkling it over the whites. Then sprinkle your chopped cilantro and parsley on top.
And that’s it! In around half an hour, you have a beautiful looking and tasty dish. This is just a base recipe, and you can anything else you want to; other greens, olives, jalapeños, spices, and cheese, to name a few. Experiment with it, and have fun.
As long as you add salt to your recipes, there is no end to what you can cook with Himalayan sea salt, and it brings a whole host of unique benefits. Whether you’re looking for colour or crunch, you’ve just found a new favourite ingredient. We hope you enjoy your meal, particularly if you’ve made our Himalayan Salt Shakshuka!