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Salty stuff

india Updated: Apr 12, 2010 19:28 IST
Sanjeev Kapoor
Sanjeev Kapoor
Hindustan Times
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Salt… How much should one eat in a day? Well, there are always ongoing debates. What I feel is that one knows how much salt is needed if we cook adding ‘salt to taste’. There is no perfect measure of salt, in teaspoons, or pinches, or grams in most of my recipes. Probably, salt in measure of spoons is added to sweet baked recipes. That’s it. Salt needs differ so how does one know that the salt is perfect in a dish?

Our tongues are all individually designed. And the most interesting part is that each day, our tongues taste the level of salt differently. In fact, at the table, Alyona might say, isme namak kam hai (there’s very little salt in this dish), and I would say, ‘no it’s just perfect’ and vice versa. So what I suggest is that you cook your food using salt on the lesser side. Whoever needs more can use the salt shaker. I use my sense of smell while the food is cooking. The aroma is appetising and perfect if the salt is right.

Easy tips for daily use
Okay, now that we have come to some sort of understanding that salt may be used according to taste, let me tell you that salt is needed to get the taste of the food! Those on a low salt diet will understand that very well. And these days, when the temperature is so high, salt intake shouldn’t be ignored.

I have nimbu pani (lemon juice) that’s sweet and salty. I have watermelon with a little black salt sprinkled on it. And of course, try boiled macaroni and sweet corn, hot and soft with a dash of butter, salt and lemon. It does taste fresh and good.

The summer-salt partnership
I have been thinking which recipes to share that can bring out the greatness of salt to you. Mostly, all recipes use salt! A small pinch added to a sweet dish enhances its sweetness. So I reiterate that salt is needed. Pickling season is here and salt sales might be up! So also is the need to have buttermilk and lassi.

I suggest you take some freshly ground green chutney with some pieces of raw mango and make a puree. Mix this with yogurt and make a chutney lassi flavouring it last with roasted jeera and black salt. Best to have it chilled. It keeps you going.

Use raw mango with some salt, rock salt, fresh mint, peppercorns, cumin and make a paste. Top it with club soda and enjoy a joyous bubbling summer drink. One smoothie that Alyona makes often for our little sportsperson Kriti at home is Carrot and Tomato Smoothie that uses the two veggies with celery, salt and lemon juice. It is a thick, nice juice and Kriti drinks it up without a fuss. Nutrition in gulps!

Making sweet things better
Salt is indispensable in all courses: soups, breads, meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, pickles, accompaniments, raitas, snacks, starters, salads and more. But what it does to cookies is an exciting adventure. Now that some schools are closed for the vacation, kids can be kept busy with some baking activity!

Sanjeev Kapoor — Master Chef, Author, Television Host.
Reach him at: enquiry@sanjeevkapoor.com

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