Try this Secret Ingredient for a Mouthwatering Vegan “Fried Egg”
Whether you’ve recently transitioned to plant-based eating, or you’ve been a vegan or vegetarian for years, there may be moments when you miss a certain food you no longer eat. Fortunately, delicious and entirely vegan “milks,” “cheeses,” and “meats” can be found in many grocery stores, including major chains. One food that’s trickier to duplicate, however, is the egg.
Although different plant-based substitutes can mimic the consistency of eggs, they lack the essential eggy flavor. If you want to whip up truly delectable vegan versions of dishes like frittatas, omelets, and even Benedicts, you need a secret ingredient: black salt.
What is Black Salt?
Black salt, also called kala namak, sulemani namak, and kala loon, is an Indian volcanic rock salt. There are at least three kinds of black salt. If you’re looking to replicate the flavor of an egg, you’ll need what’s known as Indian or Himalayan black salt.
Black salt is somewhat of a misnomer, some varieties are indeed black, but many are pinkish-gray or light purple. To make black salt, you heat sodium choride to an extremely high temperature, then mix it with spices and herbs.
The Source of Black Salt’s Unique Flavor
The seeds of the harad fruit, which contain sulfur, are of the ingredients mixed into the super-heated sodium chloride. The sulfur compounds give black salt a very distinctive smell that may not be apparent until it’s added to food. The smell may be somewhat overpowering at first, but it tempers quickly.
Sulfur is key to the salt’s savory, umami flavor, which some say is nearly identical to that of hard-boiled egg yolks. Other elements of black salt that contribute to its unique taste include…
A Vegan Fried “Egg?” Believe It!
Creative vegan and plant-based chefs love black salt for its ability to give a remarkably egg-like flavor to dishes like tofu scrambles. You can use black salt to make a richly flavored vegan quiche, chilaquiles, egg salad, and even a poached or fried egg complete with a “yolk!”
This recipe from Miriam Sorrell, creator of the wildly popular blog Mouthwatering Vegan, comes together in just minutes and relies on black salt, turmeric, and nutritional yeast to achieve a “yolk” with realistic color and flavor. The recipe delivers an egg with a consistency and flavor that’s just as satisfying as the real thing, and “without the cholesterol or the cruelty,” as Sorrell so aptly puts it. Find the recipe Here.
Depending on where you live, you might be able to find the black salt you need for Sorrell’s recipe (and any others you’d like to try!) in a grocery or health food store near you. Stores that specialize in bulk spices are a good bet. If not, you can easily purchase it online from a variety of sellers.