Introduction: 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
For this Instructable, you will need the following
Himalayan Salt Block
Shrimp 6-7 Tail On
Step 2: 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
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
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
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!