Ingredient Spotlight: Kala Namak + Tofu Cashew Mayo Recipe


Ingredient Spotlight: Kala Namak

What is It?

Kala namak, pronounced, kaa-lah naa-mak, means black salt in Hindi. Also called Indian Black Salt, kala namak is a composed salt from northern India, but is not at all the same as Hawaiian Black Salt or Volcanic Black Salt.

Kala namak crystals. Photo by Besjunior from Getty Images on Canva

This salt starts as halite, or Himalayan Pink Salt, mined from the Salt Range in the Pakistani foothills of the Himalayas. Halite is primarily sodium chloride, like regular table salt, but also contains sulfur compounds. After mining, the raw pink salt is mixed with spices, including a seed called “harad,” and amla (Indian gooseberry), and then heated to 1400 degrees for 24 hours. This process turns sodium sulfate into hydrogen sulfide and sodium sulfide, giving the salt a sulfur flavor and aroma. The salt melts into dark red, purple, or black rock-like pieces when baked, hence the name. When ground, this dark rock salt appears pink.

Why Use It?

Kala namak has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since 300 BCE to treat upset stomach and reduce gas, to promote weight loss, treat eye diseases, and added to toothpastes for dental hygiene. And it is used in traditional Indian and Asian cuisine for umami (What’s this? Learn about umami here). Because of the sulfur, kala namak is great to add to plant-based foods where you want an eggy smell and taste, similar to a hard-boiled egg yolk. It’s nearly odorless when dry, but it really smells egg-like when added to liquid.

Where to Buy

Options at an Indian market, Indian Super Market, (left), Option at Whole Foods Market (right). Photos by Cindy Thompson,

You can find kala namak at most Indian markets. Whole Foods recently started carrying Indian black salt as well. But my favorite place to buy kala namak is from Mark Bitterman’s salt shop, The Meadow, in Portland, Oregon (see photo at top). They will take back your empty glass salt containers and give you credit for new salt purchases, plus they will ship without plastic packaging material, so I really love buying from them.


Keep in a cool, dark pantry up to a year, even if powdered.

How to Use Kala Namak

I use kala namak in any recipe that I’d like to taste and smell eggy. It’s pretty potent, so it doesn’t take a lot, but not as salty as table salt. Here are some recipes I use it in:

Veggie Tofu Scramble
Better-Than-Egg Salad
Tu-No Salad and Totally Possible Carrot Lox Quiche

Tu-No Salad (left) and Totally Possible Carrot Lox Quiche (right) which you can get when you download my eCookbook, Un-Seafood: 20 Plant-Based Recipes with a Taste of the Sea!,


Tofu Cashew Mayo

I wanted a mayo that was lower in fat than others I’d found made primarily from cashews. This mayo is still rich and creamy, using silken tofu and a small amount of cashew butter, and eggy from kala namak! It’s super easy to make and wonderful for anything you wish to use mayo in. Just add the ingredients to a blender or food processor, blend, and you have delicious, eggy mayo!

So go pick up some kala namak, Indian black salt and try these recipes out for yourself! Scroll down for the mayo recipe.

Save a chicken, use kala namak!

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5 from 4 votes

Tofu Cashew Mayo

A little bit of cashew butter gives creaminess, but if you want lower fat, omit it.
Course Spreads, Dips, Sauces, and Dressings
Cuisine American, Gluten-Free
Keyword apple cider vinegar, Black Salt, dates, Kala Namak, Silken Tofu
Servings 24
Calories 13.7kcal
Author Cindy Thompson, MS, NBC-HWC | Trimazing! Health & Lifestyle Coaching


  • 12 oz firm silken tofu drained (make sure it's SILKEN)
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp date paste coconut sugar, or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¾ tsp kala namak Indian black salt
  • ¾ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder


  • Combine all ingredients into a blender and process until completely smooth. Refrigerate for up to a week.
    Yield: 2 cups


Calories: 13.7kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.8g | Fat: 0.7g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 76mg | Potassium: 34.1mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 0.2IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 5.3mg | Iron: 0.2mg

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