Indian recipes tastes awful with reduced salt. Can anything be done to make them more palatable? Are there dishes that taste OK even with low salt?

  • Don't put salt in your food? Salt is not often a required ingredient
    – TFD
    Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 0:54
  • I'm sorry, but one of the few types of culinary questions we don't entertain here are recommendations/suggestions/ideas. See the faq and the meta question "What should i cook" type questions. As TFD says, just pick any recipe and don't add salt.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 2:31
  • > Don't put salt in your food? Salt is not often a required ingredient The food then tastes awful. That was the reason for the question. > one of the few types of culinary questions we don't entertain here are recommendations/suggestions/ideas I was looking for a solution to a major food problem for me (and not what should I cook). > As TFD says, just pick any recipe and don't add salt The food then sucks. Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 19:24

4 Answers 4


One (helpfully, authentiacally Indian) practice that might prove useful to you is, cook the food with even more reduced salt, or no salt at all - then, when serving, add just the amount of salt you want to eat in the meal to your plate in a separate little heap. The practice is used to adjust the salt you need by taste, by dish, or even by bite (since it was easier than trying to salt food made in large quantities to everyone, everyone's taste).

In any case, having a few grains of salt sprinkled directly over the food as you take a bite (or nabbed by a damp finger or spoon edge and set on the tongue) can flavor the bite as boldly as a full pinch mixed into the same bite. It hits the tongue directly, it gets all the salt immediately available to your taste buds, instead of spreading the salt through the food so whatever surface hits the tongue has enough salt for the bite, and you may not miss the extra salt as you're chewing because your tongue is convinced there's enough salt already. Think about food where flakes of sea salt are sprinkled on top - because it is immediately available, it tastes much saltier than the same amount of salt mixed cleanly into the food (I'm thinking slated chocolates or caramels).

As a side note, you may miss the salt less in milder dishes, since you won't need the salt as much to balance out the heat and other flavors. But that's a question of personal taste.

  • Thanks for this advice, Megha. This (salt sprinkled on top being immediately available) does seem to make a difference. (Note: I only saw this comment a couple of days ago, i.e., a year late.) Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 19:20

Indian recipes taste fine with reduced salt, as long as you haven't trained your palate to enjoy salty food. This is no different to any other regional cuisine.

I personally cook curries with no added salt at all, a quarter-teaspoon of salt per portion of boiled rice, and minimal salt in breads.

Try reducing saltiness gradually, until your palate no longer demands it.

In the meantime you could use salt substitutes - there are products made with potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride which may be better for you than salt.


Indian dishes are about rich flavor and balance of sweet(jaggery /sugar), sour(tamarind),spicy(chilly) and salt. If u miss or reduce even one of these, you throw the balance off. If you are going to prepare an Indian dish add salt as much as the recipe calls for.


About indian food i couldn't say anything. But since you are asking here, I imagine that you can accept different suggests also.

  • generally the meat does not need salt (if using meat), because it contains enough
  • get your salade using soy sauce instead of salt
  • cook the vegetables using extract of meat or vegetables (with a bit of water) instead of salt
  • use many spices, especially Mediterranean herbs, in cooking, that being the tastiest require less salt or even they can do without.
  • use as a sauce for spaghetti or rice, tomato sauce with lots of basil, sauce "pesto", tuna and anchovies sauce, dry tomatowes sauce. Those sauces are very tasty, but precisely because of this, it's enough just a very short for season: with a couple of teaspoons you have a great dish
  • use "strong" vegetables in preparations, such as garlic, onion, celery
  • prepare many dishes complete, cereals and legumes, such as pasta and beans, rice and peas, pasta and chickpeas, always seasoned with many herbs.

Finally, think that you get used to everything. I know people who could not eat salt for years, and now they find inedible normally savory dishes.

  • Question is specific to indian food, which needs a certain (not: extreme) amount of salt exactly because there are large amounts of herbs, spices and vegetables - which makes for a highly-aromatic, high-bitterness, low to medium umami taste profile that is very dependent on some saltiness to balance that. Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 11:32

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