Black Soul, Jeweled Heart : Soul of The Sea Kilauea Black Solar Sea Salt from Hawaii Kai


Fellow foodie Maura Badji. Read more of her musings on other subjects.

Black Soul, Jeweled Heart         


I admit I had never tried black sea salt before encountering the pearl-like grains of Soul of The Sea’s Kilauea Black glistening in its 12-ounce jar.    One of the few black sea salts available, Soul of the The Sea's hand-crafted version of this exotic seasoning is made with mineral rich hand-harvested Molokai sea salt and activated charcoal—a proven anti-toxin/digestive aid.   


Soul of The Sea has also received the prestigious Star Diamond Award for Outstanding Quality from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, the only gourmet salt ever to do so.


Intrigued by the ebony salt’s dramatic luster and rich aroma, I noted that Kilauea Black has been prized by international chefs as a finishing salt to enhance vegetables, meats, fish, and poultry, and as a complement to the most sophisticated recipes.   


It seemed fitting that such a jewel-like seasoning was routinely used as a finishing touch— a flourish to complete a culinary picture. 


Yet, the rich aroma of the solar salt hinted that it could readily be combined with other seasonings and spices in the body of recipes, both simple and complex.   I found that in both cases a little bit of Kilauea Black goes a long way to enhance flavors.   On grilled salmon and vegetables, a finishing sprinkle added just the needed salty top note to the slight sweetness of fish, Vidalia onions, and match-sticked zucchini.  


While perusing Hawaii Kai’s website,  I found an Asian-inspired eggplant and ground pork dish, which proved that these black crystals can meld beautifully with other elements, yet still impart a distinctive, complex flavor.   I played with the recipe, included below; it can easily be further tweaked to suit different palates, for instance tofu can be substituted for the pork, and other Asian vegetables may be added. 

Spicy Eggplant and Ground Pork with Black Sea Salt


1 tbsp. canola/olive oil blend
.5 lb. (one-half) ground pork
1 lb. diced eggplant (Chinese eggplant works best)
1 tbsp. tamari sauce
1 tsp. Black Sea Salt plus .5 tsp for finishing garnish
2 tsp. black bean paste with chili
1 tsp finely chopped garlic

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

1 tsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp raw sugar
.5 cup (one-half) vegetable broth
2 tbsp. sesame oil
.25 cup (one-quarter) chopped green onion for garnish


Heat large wok and add 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
Add eggplant and all remaining ingredients except sesame seed oil & garnishes
Cover wok, bring to a boil and simmer until eggplant is tender
Add sesame seed oil and toss to combine
Garnish with green onions and  finish with sprinkle .5 tsp of black sea salt

Serve over rice or soba noodles.

Yields two servings


Hawaii Kai’s Soul of The Sea salts and other products are available online at and at many gourmet food stores.   These distinctive salts are available in a rainbow of other flavors, including Haleakala Red (with purified and refined Red Alaea clay), Papohaku White (the basis for other Soul of the Sea varietals),

and Hanalei Green (with certified bamboo-leaf extract). 



Maura Alia Badji is a writer, poet, teacher and mother who lives and works in the Seven Cities of South-Eastern Virginia.


Hawaii Kai Kilauea Black Sea Salt

Buy Soul of the Sea black salt

The tiny island of Molokai is producing something big – all natural, sustainable gourmet sea salts in four varietals distinctive for their flavor as well as their health and nutritive properties.

The craft of salt-making has been practiced on the island for centuries and pa'akai or salt is considered sacred.

Harvested only on the island of Molokai and in partnership with local farmers, the salts are available in four varieties: Papohaku White, Haleakala Red, Hanalei Green, and Kilauea Black.

Papohaku White: Named for Molokai's most famous white-sand beach, it is distinguished by its silken texture and rich flavor. It serves as the base for all Hawaii Kai's salts.

Haleakala Red: With a shimmering, earthy sheen, this salt is created with red Alaea clay, revered by Hawaiians for its health benefits.

Hanalei Green: This salt contains certified organic bamboo leaf extract – prized in southern China as a health aid. Abundant in amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins, its perfect for enhancing Asian cuisine.

Kilauea Black: Glistening and dramatic in color, this smoky flavored salt uses the highest premium activated charcoal, which acts as an anti-toxin and digestive aid.

These pure sea salts are made from Molokai ocean water, regarded as among the cleanest waters on the planet. They contain 81% sodium chloride – less than other gourmet salts – and 19% essential and naturally occurring ocean electrolytes and trace minerals.

Hawaii Kai, producers of Soul of the Sea, is invested in the economic vitality of the tiny island as well. By training local farmers in their proprietary process and creating a SaltMasters Guild, the company is putting resources into the tiny island community and creating economic opportunity.

Retails for $35.