Umami, also known as monosodium glutamate, is one of the fifth major flavors, including sweet, sour, bitter and salty.
Umamimeans “essence of delight” in Japanese, and its flavor is often described as the meaty, savory treat that deepens flavor.
Umami isyour fifth basic flavor along with sour, sweet, bitter and salty. Japanese scientists discovered this fifth flavor at the beginning of the 20th century and called it umami, which translates as salty.
After discovering that the source of the flavor was the amino acid glutamate, he began to produce condiments from glutamate. Although difficult to pinpoint on its own, umami is an excellent flavor enhancer, making salty foods taste even saltier and sweets taste even sweeter. It wasn't until the late 20th century that scientists agreed that umami was the fifth flavor and listed it along with salty, bitter, sweet and sour. With a strong and often unpleasant flavor, bitterness is not something that humans naturally like, and for good reason.
For example, when a soup or stew is simmered for several hours, it takes on a richer, deeper flavor. Monosodium glutamate can also be used to reduce salt levels in foods while creating a pleasant flavor. Sometimes referred to as “salty,” the umami flavor is found in Parmesan cheese, miso, mushrooms, seaweed, soy sauce, cooked meat and nutritional yeast, among other foods. Adding foods that are full of umami flavor to your plate can add an explosion of delicious flavor to your food.