Atacama Salt + Merken

$5,99 USD

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Atacama Salt + Merken

$5,99 USD

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Merkén originates primarily from the cuisine of the Mapuches of the Araucanía Region of Chile, but is also used in the Chilean cuisine as a replacement for fresh chili. Since the beginning of the 21st century, merkén has drawn the attention of professional chefs and has begun to find an international market, at the same time, having a widespread use in Chilean cuisine.

Merkén is most commonly used as:

  • A general condiment for seasoning dishes such as lentils, gold potatoes, and sautéed vegetables
  • A dry rub for tuna, lamb, pork, or duck
  • A sprinkle, spice rub, or boiling spice for seafood including crab
  • An addition to stews, savory pies, and purees
  • A spice for ceviches
  • An addition to cow or goat cheese
  • An addition to peanuts or salty olives

The major difference of the Atacama Salt is that it is exclusively extracted from a million year old underground brine reserves below the Atacama Desert in South America– one of the most dry and sterile environments on Earth. After mineral-rich water is pumped upwards from beneath the desert crust, Atacama salt grains are extracted in a natural, solar-driven process. The sun itself causes the water to evaporate, yielding the naturally occurring salt containing both sodium chloride and potassium chloride. Being a one-grain sea salt lowers the sodium impact in food products without sacrificing on flavour or functionality, which is why it performs and tastes just like ordinary salt.

This unique grain, with only 65% Sodium Chloride, radically lowers the sodium impact in food. But the same grain also contains 30% Potassium Chloride, a mineral appreciated by both doctors and health authorities around the world. The fact that potassium and sodium are both present within the same grain is what makes Atacama salt unique and why it performs better than regular salt.

Mushrooms with Chickpeas and Merken

for 2 people Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Atacama Salt + Merkén
  • 6 scallions chopped into thin slices
  • 1 can of chickpeas drained and washed with water, drain or a cup of cooked chickpeas
  • 250 grams of mushrooms (1/2 pound)
  • parsley to serve (optional)


  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat, about 2 minutes, add the Merkén and cook 1 minute, add the scallions and stir.
  2. Add the chickpeas and cook stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes until starting to brown.  Add mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes, add salt and taste, adjust the seasoning. Serve sprinkled with parsley if you want.

This recipe is a blend of all those things if you do not add the mushrooms you can serve it as an appetizer or chickpeas with mushrooms can be served on a crostini or as an accompaniment to a protein, here we ate it with salmon. I have also served with mashed potatoes or on top of a pizza.

Note: Merkén is like the Chile powder a mix of species, make by the Mapuche in Chile with dry smoked chili, cumin, and salt, has a very distinctive flavor, is like the Mapuche chili powder.


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