Introduction: Cooking With an Ancient Himalayan Salt Block

Picture of Cooking With an Ancient Himalayan Salt Block

This 'ible will show you how to use a 600+ million year old Himalayan Salt Block as a cooking device. 

Originally harvested from the ancient mountains of Pakistan, Himalayan pink salt is considered to be some of the purest and cleanest salt in the world. These salt blocks can be heated or chilled to almost any temperature. I originally used mine as a serving platter for cheese, homemade sushi, oysters and even desserts. You can see an example of where I used my salt block as a serving platter here.  

The great thing about these salt blocks is that they are so versatile and available in a wide array of sizes and shapes. I recommend buying two blocks. One for serving, one for cooking. The heating process will cause the salt block to change color and cracks will occur naturally. Also, the salt block will absorb the juices and cause color changes. You should be able to get a few dozen uses out of your salt block once you have cooked with it, but there are cases where salt block have cracked with only a few uses. If this happens, you can still use the salt for a variety of other uses. 

When cooking with your salt block, it is not necessary to add seasonings or salt to the food before you cook it. In fact, besides being totally cool, the whole point of cooking with it, is to add a natural salty flavor to the food. The salt block will maintain it's temperature for at least 20 minutes when heated properly. You can actually cook food table side after you heat it, but you will need to protect your hands and table from the salt block. Use a silicone oven mitt and trivet. 

This was a really fun cooking experience and I can't wait to try it again. 

Step 1: Ingredients & Tools

Picture of Ingredients & Tools

For this Instructable, you will need the following

Himalayan Salt Block


Shrimp 6-7 Tail On
1 Egg

Step 2: Heat the Salt Block

Picture of Heat the Salt Block

Heating your salt block properly is really important. You want to start with the lowest heat possible and then gradually work your  way up to a high heat. You will know when you have achieved the right temperature, because the food will sizzle when you place it on top of the salt block. 45 minutes should be sufficient. If the food does not sizzle, then you need to heat it longer. 

You can also heat the salt block on an electric stove. You will need to place a metal ring underneath the salt plate to protect the surface of the stove. 

If you wish to use the salt block for baking, or as a baking stone, heat the salt block on the stove first, following the directions below and then place it in the oven. 

How to heat the salt plate:

Turn your gas stove on low heat and place the salt block directly on top. Set a timer for 15 min. After 15 min have elapsed, turn the stove up to medium. Again, set your timer for 15 min. Lastly, turn the stove up to high and set the timer for another 15 min. 

Once the 15 minutes have elapsed, you can turn the heat on the stove off. The salt block will continue to hold it's temperature, allowing at least 20 minutes of cook time. You can then choose to cook the food on the stove, or even table side.

 

Step 3: Cooking the Shrimp

Picture of Cooking the Shrimp

To cook the shrimp, place them directly on the salt block. Do not season the shrimp first with salt or oil. The salt block will impart a nice salty flavor during the cooking process. Once you notice a slight pinkish color, flip the shrimp over and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.  


Step 4: Cook the Egg

Picture of Cook the Egg

To cook the egg, place it directly onto the salt block. I found it took an additional couple minutes to cook on the salt plate than in a regular pan. 

When ready, remove with a spatula. 

Step 5: How to Clean Ancient Salt Plate

Picture of How to Clean Ancient Salt Plate

Cooking on a salt block is so much fun! By the time you finish cooking your original dish, you'll be searching your refrigerator high & low for more items to cook. 

To clean your salt block, allow it to cool completely for 24 hours, or until it reaches room temperature.  Then gently rinse it with warm water and scrub the areas where you see food. Rinse again with warm water. Don't use soap!

Comments

markbitterman (author)2014-12-03

Great post, thank you for getting the word out! I just posted a small website with lots of information on Himalayan salt blocks that you are welcome to check out: himalayansaltblocks.com.

mouhamedhugob (author)2014-09-28

Himalayan salt blocks are a flavorful and creative way to cook. These slowly heating bricks of rose-colored, salt great for searing meats and vegetables and are a hot new cooking commodity. Placing your food on 500 million year old minerals provides a natural flavor unlike any other cooking device I have ever used.

Chicken, shrimp, scallops, steak, salmon, lamb, and anything else you can think of eating are perfectly seasoned on the salt block. Cook your food the way you normally would a throw it on the pre-heated salt block to add an unmistakable flavor to your food. No need to pre salt anything you eat off the salt block.

WARNING: People that say their food is too salty DID NOT do this the right way. They either (1.) did not properly heat up the salt block prior to use or (2.) put their food on it for too long. It's not rocket science!

Heat them up before putting anything on it and most importantly... DO NOT PUT IN THE DISHWASHER because it will completely disappear. Test this for yourself if you have money to blow it is quite amusing. The way you want to clean your salt block is by scraping it with a dry sponge! More info at my review here: http://incrowdmag.com/cooking-with-salt-blocks/ ‎

dreadengineer (author)2012-05-06

A cool idea. But since this is the Internet, I feel compelled to point out a scientific error - this is very far from the purest salt in the world; pure NaCl is a white crystalline powder with no pink color. Table salt is much more pure than a natural salt block. Purity is not really relevant to taste though, and it's unlikely that any of the impurities are harmful, so the idea is still cool.

lmnopeas (author)dreadengineer2012-05-06

Thank you, and, yes, you are right about the NaCl being the purest form of salt.

I was using the word "pure" with a bit of literary license and artistic flourish. I didn't mean it in the "industrial, chemical" sense. I meant it in the "closest to its Earthly origins sense." Yes, NaCl is more chemically pure than Himalayan salt in the same way that distilled water is more "pure" than, say, Evian.

What makes Himalayan salt (and other salts derived from natural sources) is, in fact, its "chemical impurity" -- all of the trace minerals give it immense character -- and it is true that it is "pure" in the sense that it has been untouched by human hands and industrial/chemical processes for millions of years.

Broom (author)lmnopeas2012-05-09

... until being cut into slabs, packaged, shipped, and displayed in stores.

Broom (author)2012-05-09

Yeah, let's give up on definitions! They just get in the way!

Eggs sift silly watermelon bushes. Torpedo glandulary kumquat eschewed. Level onto gravlax.

(But if you insist on using boring old "definitions", what I meant to say was, "Table salt isn't adulterated much, either. And the pink hue has nothing to do with the uneven crystallin structure. And pink salt is not pure; that's just marketing BS.")

reptedjess (author)2012-05-06

hmmmmm.... I wonder, are there certain food that are not good for cooking on a salt block? I would imagine, you wouldn't want anything that is going to produce a lot of grease or oil like a steak or burgers. I imagine it would just make a huge mess

lmnopeas (author)reptedjess2012-05-06

Since I posted this 'ible I've cooked everything from hamburgers to rack of lamb on my salt block. With thicker pieces of meat, I finish them off in the oven.

Any food that puts off a lot of moisture or has a lot of fat that renders may be problematic (a lot of moisture could cause the salt to dissolve and there are not sides on the salt block to contain any runoff like pan might have).

In general, it's a pretty versatile cooking surface and has a great fun factor when guests come over.

billbillt (author)2012-05-06

Wonder info here about this..Great!!...

hmcnally (author)2012-05-04

Broken link to saltworks.us.  It should be:

http://www.saltworks.us/himalayan-plates-bricks-blocks.html

lmnopeas (author)hmcnally2012-05-04

Thanks for pointing that out. It should be working now.

canida (author)2012-05-04

Neat-o!
I've played with a friend's salt block (we cold-cured some thin-sliced sashimi) but never gotten to cook on it. I can't wait to get one and try it - you make it sound like fun. :)

lmnopeas (author)canida2012-05-04

Thanks! I've had mine for a couple years and this was my first time cooking on it. It was totally fun:)

angelabchua (author)2012-05-04

Very cool! I've only recently heard of pink himalayan salt, and to see this cooking block? VERY COOL

lmnopeas (author)angelabchua2012-05-04

Thanks! Keep an eye out. I've seen them in a lot of grocery stores.

ladymargaretrose (author)2012-05-04

I want a salt block....WAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Note to self: Next thing to buy with extra money!!!

desertsniper (author)2012-05-04

intresting read thanks! i will keep my eye out for one of these!

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