Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Removing Salt in Cooking
Name: Rob
Status: other
Grade: other
Location: NY
Country: N/A
Date: April 2006

I want to heat soy sauce to remove the water and thicken it, which I have done. However, if you remove half the water, it's twice as salty. Is there any sort of agent or catalyst, something salt-absorbing I can put in the pan and remove, later? I know that in vegetable soup cabbage will absorb black pepper and taste hot. I want something to take out some of the salt yet not affect the soy sauce very much (if any).

You could try potato slices. I saw that in a cook book and have used them in stews when they seemed too salty. It did seem to work. An alternative would be to not reduce the volume of liquid, but instead thicken it. When I make stir fry, I thicken the sauce with cornstarch, following the directions for gravy on the box. Hope this helps.

Patricia Rowe


The desalination process usually entails distillation of water and then purification of the remaining solids. I would assume that the only way that you could remove salt like this is through an ion exchange column or through dialysis, both of which are not practical for what you are trying to do. I would suggest that instead you look for low sodium soy sauce, or you start out with "dark soy sauce", which has a lot more flavor and not too much more salt. You should be able to find a small bottle of this in most ethnic foods isles in grocery stores. Also, part of the thickening process is not just removal of water, you have to add some type of thickening agent like corn starch, flour or gelatin.

Matt Voss

Click here to return to the General Topics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory