If Australia had a national condiment, chicken salt would likely be it.
It was invented in Adelaide in the ’70s to season rotisserie chooks, and was then boldly applied to hot chips by enterprising takeaway-shop owners.
For many – including Grant Inches, CEO of popular Australian spicemaker Gewürzhaus – it conjures up childhood memories of fish’n’chips by the beach.
Recently he channelled that nostalgia into developing a preservative-free, vegan version (the salt is rarely made with chicken, but it’s sometimes flavoured with dehydrated chicken stock).
Last week Gewürzhaus added the gussied-up chicken salt – which is made with Australian sea salt, coconut sugar, onion, garlic, roasted white sesame seeds and ground kelp – to its range of more than 350 spices available online and at its Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra stores.
Eva Konecsny, who co-founded the company with her sister Maria Konecsny in June 2010, says the chicken salt is the perfect addition to the range.
“I think it fits into everything we do really well,” says Eva. “We have such a large range of salts as it is, and they’re all natural.”
It took Grant months of experimentation to get the balance of ingredients right and nail the iconic Aussie flavour.
The chicken salt is MSG-free, but the sesame and kelp give it that familiar umami punch. The sweetness comes from the coconut sugar, and the base is Pyramid Salt (manufactured in north-west Victoria).
The Gewürzhaus team doesn’t draw the line at salting hot chips, either. They say the seasoning can be sprinkled onto a grilled-cheese sandwich, added to a cheese platter to dip into dukkah-style, or even used to line the rim of a Bloody Mary.
Gewürzhaus’s Australian Chicken Salt costs $8.95 for a 10-gram mini tin, $10.50 for 75 grams or $19.50 for 150 grams. It’s available from Gewürzhaus stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, and is also available online.