Umami, this means hello?
lol, well sort of. Have you heard of it?
Hello taste buds here comes Umami.
Taste, eating, most of us do this now and again. Some even enjoy what we eat. See we have taste buds, noses too.
Have you thought about this much? Why you like some things, or how taste works?
The sense of taste.
Well then read on, and perhaps I can spread some knowledge.
We have receptors that send information to our…. well brains, that are on our tongue. Other places as well, not to get too technical, but we have bitter receptors in our throats that will let us know when we should discharge things we inhaled that may be irritating. Also sweet receptors to tell us to produce insulin. These receptors are not in your throat though. pssst, tis much lower.
The ones I am talking about now, are the ones on your tongue. We have five tastes. Bitter and sweet, no not opposites.
Sour and Salty.
And… last but not least Umami (oh yes, I started a sentence with and, tis my blog, I get to do what I wish.. points out I don’t always use capitals either… in case you hadn’t noticed.. )
So what is Umami? This is the fun one. Also the one that food manufactures toy with and fool you with M.S.G. to enhance flavours or taste in food by adding glutamate and other things. But don’t confuse M.S.G. with Umami. tis not the same.
Definition of UMAMITaking its name from Japanese, umami is a pleasant savoury taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products. As the taste of umami itself is subtle and blends well with other tastes to expand and round out flavors, most people don’t recognize umami when they encounter it, but it plays an important role making food taste delicious.
In Asian cooking this has been known for centuries, this style of cooking has enhanced and tweaked this taste. So how do you do it?
Fermented foods contain more Umami. Fish sauces, soy sauce, miso sauce, because during the fermentation stage the proteins are broken down into amino acids producing higher levels of glutamate. Not to be confused with MSG.
Not limited to this however. Tomatoes. They are high in Umami tastes. Sauces like Worcester, ketchup, chili and tomato paste allow foods to burst with more “flavour”
Soup stocks, slowly simmering extracting increasing the Umami from the veggies and even the meat. Soup stocks made with bones have again much higher levels.. hmmm seems flavour too, see how this goes together?
psssst green tea.. ever wonder why it is becoming more desired… yup Umami.
Cheeses, old ripened strong flavoured cheese…. the ripening process is what brings forth the Umami. Parmesan is high in it.
Beef is aged before being butchered, this breaks down the protein and presto… Umami.
A steak on the bbq, seared wonderfully, this searing process on the bbq .. yup, you guessed it Umami. Cooking with the “Umami” process enables you to cook with less sodium and cleaner flavours. Marinating in flavour enhancing foods, overnight or even for days (without salt) enhance the taste by increasing the Umami.
Roasted red peppers.. c0rn on the bbq… grilled asparagus.. green peas added to a casserole, green peas are high in Umami because they are high in glutamate.
Glutamate in natural foods
Glutamate (umami substance) is a major constituent of food proteins (vegetables and meat). In addition,free glutamate is present naturally in most foods, such as meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables.
Tomatoes are especially rich in glutamate, and this is one of the reasons that tomatoes are widely used throughout the world to impart the taste ofumami in a wide variety of dishes.
Meat and poultry (mg/100g)
Beef 10 Chicken 22
Scallops 140 Snow crab 19 Blue crab 43 Alaska king crab 72 White shrimp 20
Cabbage 50 Spinach 48 Tomatoes 246 Green asparagus 49 Corn 106 Green peas 106 Onions 51 Potatoes 10 Mushrooms 42
Emmenthal 308 Parmesan 1680 Cheddar cheese 182
Cow milk 1 Goat milk 4 Human breast milk 19