Having a jar or two of salt in your kitchen doesn’t just serve its purpose to season your food but also comes in different types, that serve different purposes. Here is a guide to the various kinds of salt.
Amongst the many seasonings that one can stock up on, in a functional kitchen, salt is the most crucial of all seasonings. As seemingly normal it might be to use the phrase ‘season with salt’ in a recipe, it is not often that we acknowledge the different types of cooking salts that exist and how they might vary in texture, flavour and usage. Grocery store shelves are filled with options that range from the regular table salt to the fancier smoked salts or fleur de sal, but if you’re trying to choose the right salt to get the job done, here’s a guide to understanding the utility of the different types of these edible salts.
Harvested from sea water that is collected in salt pans, sea salt is a clean tasting salt which can contain up to 60 different minerals that are beneficial to health. Using this salt in both cooking as well as finishing a dish is the best way to experience the full flavour of this seasoning. Sea salt is one of the few types of salt that is available in both, coarse and fine versions in grocery stores.
The original salt that’s found in shakers practically everywhere. Often iodised for health reasons, table salt isn’t necessarily the best option to cook with, when compared to the other varieties of salt. With a finer grain than most other salt varieties, table salt is great to use for baking but must be used sparingly, due to its higher saline content.
The large crystal size of this coarse salt makes it easier to pick up with your fingers as well as evenly distribute through food. Often used to season large cuts of meat, kosher salt has a less salty flavour than table salt; which means that the amount that needs to be used to season food is often more than what you would typically use of table salt.
Himalayan Pink Salt
The rose-coloured salt contains sodium nitrite which is considered to be one of the best flavouring agents to boost the taste of meat. Often used as a curing agent in dry rubs for barbecues or even added for an extra depth of saline to beverages, soups or stews, pink salt also acts as a great flavouring agent to bring about the eggy flavour to vegan omelettes.
Also known as kaala namak, black salt also originates from the same source as the pink salt. Used in Indian cooking, the salt has a prominent sulphuric flavour courtesy of the presence of sodium sulphate in its composition. Black salt is also one of the key ingredients that lends chaat masala a tangy flavour.
Flavoured salt or seasoning salt is salt that is combined with other dehydrated ingredients like celery, onion or garlic, to boost flavour in food. Best while stir frying or cooking quick meals, flavoured salts work well with vegetables, meat and seafood, equally well. They can also be used to add instant taste to breakfast eggs or a bland stew.