I want to try this recipe for Vegan Lox by Tasty.

Step 5 is

Use a vegetable peeler to shave the carrots lengthwise into ribbons. Massage with salt.

I don't understand what "Massage with salt" means and I don't see anything happening in the video. Do they just mean "rub in with salt"?

  • 3
    arguably "massage" is more common in use when preparing dishes with meat, I have never heart / seen it in relation to vegetable dishes - but the meaning is pretty much your "rub in with salt" – eagle275 Nov 22 '19 at 10:10
  • the link is dead – candied_orange Nov 23 '19 at 13:54
  • Thank you, I have updated it, but Tasty keeps changing it. It's already the second time it's changed since I found the recipe – Lavandysh Nov 25 '19 at 9:32
  • I have tried the recipe and I didn't like it. The "selmon" doesn't taste like selmon at all, it just tastes like carrots in a souce, and not the best one. The carrots are even still crunchy. Then again, I'm not vegan. – Lavandysh Dec 1 '19 at 14:57

I'd argue that 'massage' is the right word in this case.

I've this technique a lot in japanese cooking -- you cut up the vegetables, sprinkling with salt as you go (so there's layers of salt in between layers of vegetables), then you really get in there and basically massage (knead?) the pile of vegetables with the salt, so that the salt not only is spread through the pile of vegetables, but that there's some mechanical abrasion happening, too. You then typically let the vegetables sit for a while, and then you rinse them off.

When people talk about 'rubs', it's often just a coating that's at most patted onto things (like for ribs), but there isn't the extended period of mechanical manipulation that you'd expect for 'massage' or 'knead'.

If you ever make sushi, I highly recommend trying it with carrots. The carrots will lose some of their crispness, so that you can have large sticks of carrots without it being too crunchy compared to the rest of the fillings. It's also useful for other firm vegetables that you're going to use raw in a salad.

This also works well to pre-wilt your cabbage before you make cole slaw -- the cabbage will give up much of its moisture that would otherwise end up in the final dish. (I think this was the first time I saw it -- on an episode of Good Eats)

  • 1
    You make a very good point there, I've borrowed from you to add to my answer - hope that's okay. – Sourav Ghosh Nov 21 '19 at 13:32
  • Wished I could give you an extra upvote for the sushi recommendation – Lavandysh Nov 21 '19 at 14:15
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    "This also works well to pre-wilt your cabbage before you make cole slaw -- the cabbage will give up much of its moisture" -- and is also the mechanism used in preparing it for fermentation (sauerkraut), massaging it with salt (I've actually used a stand mixer to do it) draws out enough water to entirely cover the chopped cabbage, no added water, for anaerobic fermentation to take place. – OJFord Nov 27 '19 at 18:25

Yes, this is mostly same as rub in with salt, but with a bit more intensity and physical contact with the food. While rubbing can be taken as applying one coating, massage warrants ensuring that the salt is mixed well with the food.

It's done so that the sprinkled salt is spread uniformly.

  • 5
    Be sure to get the vegetables' consent first, though! (Sorry, couldn't resist.) – Jasper Nov 22 '19 at 12:53
  • @Jasper Ahhh, you nasty people... :P – Sourav Ghosh Nov 22 '19 at 13:46

yes. In that case, the word massage (IMO) is used wrongly, rub would be more appropriate.

It does not make sense in the case of vegetables, but it sure does with meat.

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