This flavourful salt from Himachal adds a special taste to every meal
May 06, 2021 · 2 min read
Bhavri ka namak is a local salt (namak) preparation made with holy basil (bhavri) from the plain and the warmer areas of Himachal which are at a lower altitude. Holy basil is considered an auspicious plant in Hinduism and almost every Hindu household has one.
Traditionally this salt is consumed with fruits or salads during summertime until the beginning of autumn which marks the beginning of the cold days. To prepare bhavri ka namak, mustard leaves, holy basil leaves , and sometimes even mint leaves are crushed into a paste on a traditional Sil Batta (grinding stone), and a generous amount of Himalayan pink salt (sendha namak) is mixed in. This salt has a short shelf-life of not more than a week. To increase the shelf life, the mixture is dried by keeping it on a fire and cooling before storing.
Bhavri has a sharp and peppery and minty taste profile, almost like allspice. When paired with sendha namak, the sharp taste gets neutralized and the flavour develops to earthy and green. Bhavri ka namak makes the vegetables softer and makes them taste sweeter and minty.
People often carry a bhavri salad as an appetizer or a quick snack for short day hikes in the mountains. This salad could be as simple as just cucumbers, or other farm fresh produce such as white radish, or beetroot.
Gaurish Shyam is a native of Kotgarh, a remote village in the Upper Shimla region of Himachal Pradesh. He has been born and brought up in Shimla. He is currently enrolled in the Culinary Arts program of Manipal University, Karnataka, and is very keen on exploring the local cuisine and indigenous ingredients found in Himachal. He has traveled across the state to learn the cuisine and has received training as a kitchen intern in various food establishments including a cheese factory.