This recipe for ginger-garlic paste roasts the salt before putting it in the paste. Now, I never thought I've seen someone roasting salt before. What is the point of this? How does it change the flavor or properties of the salt?

  • 8
    I have absolutely no idea. There is no chemical reaction that would make salt "change its color to blackish golden". Maybe it's getting crusted with stuff leftover in then pan, especially if it's a cast iron pan. Jan 31, 2017 at 19:27
  • 1
    Might be something to do with the moisture in the salt?
    – FlukyFood
    Jan 31, 2017 at 20:19
  • 4
    About the only effect that could exist in the salt itself is drying. NaCl is a very simple chemical, unlike most things used in cooking. More likely is picking up contamination from the pan, as @JoshuaEngel suggests.
    – Leliel
    Jan 31, 2017 at 20:50
  • 5
    I just tested with salt in a clean pan and it sure did not change color.
    – paparazzo
    Jan 31, 2017 at 21:14
  • 1
    I have a few chinese recipes that call for the salt to be roasted before use. I believe in this case it is to make sure it is 100% dry so that it can be ground to a very fine powder without it clumping together. As the other answers have said, no chemical reaction will occur and nothing will happen to the flavour of the salt
    – canardgras
    Feb 1, 2017 at 9:13

2 Answers 2


The recipe calls for heating a "pan" on medium heat. Without knowing what type of pan this is, there is no way of knowing what reaction is going on there. Let me venture a guess, though.

I guess the pan is cast or mineral, seasoned, iron. The salt will react with some of the compounds from the bottom of the pan, making it "change its color".

Other types of pans will, most likely, do nothing. Non-stick, steel, aluminum don't react with salt.

As to the function of browning the salt, I can only guess that the flavor changes slightly from whatever you sautéed in the pan. You could pick up fish or meat or vegetable flavors.

As a side note, salt is used to clean cast or mineral iron skillets.


Salt in Asia is almost all sea salt, which can contain many things in addition to NaCl, up to 10% by weight according to processing method (or at least Wikipedia's page on sea salt says so). Korean roasted salt is roasted at temperatures of up to 800 C and is claimed to be less bitter, so I guess that at least some of the non-NaCl compounds are (a) volatile at high temperatures and (b) bitter-tasting. I can't access the original recipe linked by the OP, but I'm guessing that the roasting is a step in traditional Chinese recipes that isn't necessary for cooks using modern factory-processed iodized salt.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.