The Umami Information Center has a list of the foods richest in umami. Topping the list are tomatoes (especially sun-dried tomatoes), Parmesan cheese, anchovies, cured ham, seaweed, mushrooms and cultivated and fermented foods (especially cheese and soy, fish and Worcestershire sauces). Umami has a mild and prolonged aftertaste associated with salivation, since it stimulates the throat and several areas of the mouth. Umami on its own is unpleasant, but it can be added to a variety of foods to make them taste better, in synergy with classic pairings, such as cured cheese and mushrooms.
It is tasted through receptors that usually respond to what is known as glutamates, naturally present in meat broths and fermented products. Glutamates can also be artificially added to foods to highlight their umami. Parmesan is probably one of the most umami-rich ingredients in Western cuisine. Try this creamy Parmesan risotto recipe.
Another premium Italian ingredient full of umami is the humble tomato, especially cooked tomatoes, including the omnipresent tomato sauce and cherry tomatoes, which are all rich in umami, and that's probably why a hamburger tastes even better with ketchup. Mushrooms, especially dried mushrooms such as porcini or Japanese shiitake, have a natural umami content, making them a popular and tasty addition to sauces and broths, sometimes as a substitute for meat. Kombu, one of the favorite ingredients in Japanese cuisine, adds depth to dashi broths and sauces and is naturally rich in umami. Briefly soak the dried kombu seaweed in warm water to release the umami before using the water to make the broth.
Would you like a dose of umami? Try these kombu seaweed recipes. Surprisingly, sweet corn, which is both a vegetable and a fruit, is another ingredient that naturally contains umami thanks to its combination of glutamate and the sweetness of sucrose. This Chinese-based sweet corn soup with chilli pepper has a lot of umami. Many meats contain umami, however, mature beef is particularly rich in glutamate, indicating that umami.
As if you needed the excuse, why do you think you like hamburgers with all the ingredients? Top your hamburger with a slice of ripe, spicy cheese and you're in umami heaven. Try this traditional and tasty Moroccan veal stew. Fermented sauces, and in particular soy sauce made with soy beans, are rich in umami and a favorite ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Other soy-based foods, such as miso and natto, are also rich in umami.
This Thai soy sauce is perfect for dipping. These pierogi with sauerkraut and mushrooms are an umami Christmas treat. What are the best alternatives to soy sauce? The 10 best snacks to snack on Christmas Day. Do you know how meaty they come with mushrooms? Part of that is due to its texture, but its high natural glutamate content also plays an important role.
Shitake mushrooms are the most umami in the mushroom family, but the fragrant earthiness of truffles also highlights their umami. Ingredients with a high umami content are a must when you're stocking a pantry. You'll find tons of umami in perishable foods, such as meat and fresh mushrooms, but it's also present in many products that don't go bad before you use them up. We talk about everything from soy sauce and fish sauce to dried mushrooms and marmita.
Often, we use these ingredients to give dishes an extra layer of flavor, such as a hidden dash of fish sauce in a sauce or broth fortified with a handful of dried porcinis. Chances are, you're more familiar with this product because of the crucial role it plays in making miso soup. The thick paste is made by fermenting soybeans with koji, and it's quite salty. Just one spoonful of miso can add a lot of flavor to all kinds of soups, noodle dishes and sauces.
There's not much we don't use fish sauce for. It's great in dipping sauce, stew and even caramel. Here's another hot sauce that you most likely already have hidden in the back corner of your refrigerator. While fish sauce and soy sauce consist of just a few key ingredients, Worcestershire combines a much longer list of sweet and savory products, such as malt vinegar, molasses, sugar, anchovies, onions and tamarind.
In addition, a bottle of Worcestershire sauce also usually contains several hot spices. Just a dash of this will add unidentifiable flavor and richness, while a more generous shake to a Bloody Mary, perhaps? will provide a more pronounced flavor. If you have free time and the full list of ingredients, you can even make your own Worcestershire sauce. To begin with, dashi is the base of miso soup, it adds flavor to tamagoyaki and creates a tasty and comforting broth for gyudon.
But its mild, reserved flavor makes it an excellent addition to non-Japanese dishes, as it will enhance and complement an unreplaced dish. For example, shoyu-dashi, a combination of soy sauce and dashi, can enhance salad dressing. We combine soy sauce with marmita in a vegetarian bean chili to provide some of the rich flavor normally provided by meat. In reality, much of the wealth we seek when we replace meat with vegetables is found in ingredients with a high glutamate content, such as marmite.
Spread is also present in meatier dishes, such as our turkey burgers. The burger mix, seasoned with soy sauce, marmita and anchovies (three umami stars) all in one, has a much deeper flavor than turkey alone could provide. A generous spoonful of doenjang is the base of ssamjang, a sweet and savory dip sauce that doesn't cook and combines miso paste with gochujang, Korean rice syrup and sesame oil. Placed on a piece of lettuce before wrapping it in grilled roasted meat, the sauce adds the kind of depth that only umami-filled ingredients can give.
Doenjang is used in all types of Korean soups and stews, and provides a touch of flavor that is often enhanced by soy sauce, gochujang and other intense condiments. Pasta stars in this classic Korean stew, in which mushrooms, anchovies, soy sauce and fermented doenjang come together to create a dish with an intense flavor. This inoculation process creates a variety of flavors, depending on the grains used. Have you tasted the results of this fermentation in the form of sake and soy sauce?.
But, as Sho explains, there are other uses of koji besides making soy sauce or sake. When koji is mixed with salt and water and allowed to ferment, shio koji is produced. The mixture is fruity and sweet, and we use it to marinate and cure meats and season vegetables. One of its most impressive uses is in this koji rib recipe, in which the pasta is rubbed on the rib and allowed to flavor the meat.
Shio koji softens the meat, and natural sugars help brown the roast once it's in the oven. If you want to go off the script, use a small spoonful of shrimp paste to add dimension to salad dressings and dissolve a little in warm water to use with a spicy fish sauce in stir-fries. That's one of the reasons chefs combine glutamate-rich foods with foods rich in disodium inosinate to improve the overall flavor of a dish. Some foods that are high in umami compounds are seafood, meats, aged cheeses, seaweed, soy foods, mushrooms, tomatoes, kimchi, green tea, and many others.
Fat is an important ingredient in the kitchen, and choosing the right type of cooking oil is key to creating tasty foods that are also good for you. Fermented foods are high in umami, and sauerkraut, the favorite fermented cabbage dish, is another good example of umami at work. It was in 1908 when the Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda proposed umami as a fifth flavor — in addition to salty, sweet, sour and bitter — caused by glutamic acid, a compound found naturally in several foods. In a healthy kitchen, umami-rich foods are a great way to increase the flavor profile of foods without adding extra calories.
So where can you satisfy your umami craze? Foods like bacon and jerky are out of the ordinary in terms of their natural glutamate levels (and a cheeseburger with ketchup is an umami bomb), but they're health detractions and don't make them the best options. The umami flavor comes from the presence of the amino acid glutamate or glutamic acid or from the compounds inosinate or guanylate, which are usually present in foods with a high protein content. Along with sweet, salty, sour and bitter, umami is the fifth basic human flavor that elevates the flavor of food. Glutamate and disodium inosinate have a synergistic effect on each other, increasing the overall umami flavor of foods containing both (2).
Umami compounds are normally found in foods that are high in protein, so the taste of umami signals to the body that a food contains protein. . .