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Old 02-09-2014, 02:05 PM   #1
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ISO how to add "umami" flavor to food?

So I just leaned about the "5th taste" called umami. The video said it comes naturally in some food but can also be in form of monosodium glutamate as food additive. I'm not a chef, but I'm eager to try adding that taste to different foods.
What do I need? Just glutamate?
glutamate | eBay

Many thanks!

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Old 02-09-2014, 03:41 PM   #2
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Hi, cipher0 and welcome to DC!

I'm not a chef either - you don't need to be to cook well I've been learning about umami flavor and how to boost it in foods for a few years now. In short, it deepens savory, meaty flavors and makes a dish taste more complex. You can use something like Accent flavor enhancer to do that, but I prefer to use foods.

I'm about to take a nap, so I'll just say a couple quick things:
[*] Foods like mushrooms, red wine, Parmesan cheese (aged imported Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on the rind is best), anchovies, soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce add umami flavor. DH (my Dear Husband) doesn't like the texture of mushrooms, so I puree them.
[*] Beef stew will taste much better with red wine and mushrooms than without, and sauces, soups and stews with tomatoes are much better with 'shrooms, red wine and/or a 2x2 inch square of Parmesan cheese rind (save it in the freezer).

More later. Have fun looking around the site!
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:53 PM   #3
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Hi ciphero, and welcome to Discuss Cooking.

Be careful that who ever you are cooking for is not allergic to monosodium glutamate (MSG) as some people are. My family isn't and I always have Accent in my spice cupboard. I see no reason to order it online.
Many foods already have the unmistakable umami thing going on such as bacon.
There was a recent post here about umami and anchovy paste being used on pork chops that might interest you.
http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...ops-88487.html
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Old 02-09-2014, 04:06 PM   #4
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Thanks everybody.
Im on a vegetarian diet so my options for "natural umami" aren't much. Plus I'd like to experiment how it changes the taste of some foods.

I couldnt find glucamate in our local stores...
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Old 02-09-2014, 04:16 PM   #5
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since you are a vegetarian, this site should be interesting...

Tips to Add Umami Flavor to Vegan & Vegetarian Food and Recipes : EcoSalon | Conscious Culture and Fashion
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Old 02-09-2014, 04:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher0 View Post
Thanks everybody.
Im on a vegetarian diet so my options for "natural umami" aren't much. Plus I'd like to experiment how it changes the taste of some foods.

I couldnt find glucamate in our local stores...
I think all of the options suggested above besides anchovies are vegetarian.

Soy sauce is the easiest and one of the best ways to add a umami boost.

Also look for Goya Sazon in orange packets in the supermarket. It's a MSG and spice mix.
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher0 View Post
Thanks everybody.
Im on a vegetarian diet so my options for "natural umami" aren't much. Plus I'd like to experiment how it changes the taste of some foods.

I couldnt find glucamate in our local stores...
Accent is a brand name of monosodium glutamate (MSG). It's available everywhere in the spice section.
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher0 View Post
Thanks everybody.
Im on a vegetarian diet so my options for "natural umami" aren't much. Plus I'd like to experiment how it changes the taste of some foods.

I couldnt find glucamate in our local stores...
The following foods are high in umami flavors

Kelp
Mushrooms
Miso
Soy Sauce
Tomatoes
Soybeans
Potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Chinese cabbage
Carrots

Depending upon where you look you may see glutamate labeled Aji-No-Moto.
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:26 PM   #9
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Very interesting, ppo. I don't remember seeing the last four in lists from Cooks Illustrated. I'd like to read more about it. Can you post the source for this?
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:36 PM   #10
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Very interesting, ppo. I don't remember seeing the last four in lists from Cooks Illustrated. I'd like to read more about it. Can you post the source for this?
Sure Umami Information Center
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:40 PM   #11
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OK, apparently I need a different definition for the umami flavor.
I thought it was supposed to be a separate flavor from the salt flavor, but if soy sauce can be used to achieve the umami flavor, if bacon has a built in umami flavor, the definition I went by must be wrong.
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:25 PM   #12
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OK, apparently I need a different definition for the umami flavor.
I thought it was supposed to be a separate flavor from the salt flavor, but if soy sauce can be used to achieve the umami flavor, if bacon has a built in umami flavor, the definition I went by must be wrong.
It *is* a separate flavor from the salt (sodium chloride) that creates the umami flavor. It's monosodium glutamate (aka MSG or Accent).

I've had a recipe for Chinese brown sauce for stir-fry for at least 15 years. After years of using it, it seemed like it didn't have enough savory flavor (my cooking and taste buds were improving ), so I would add more soy sauce to the 6 tbsp already in the sauce. It just tasted saltier.

Then I started to make more Asian foods and bought some oyster sauce for another recipe. I decided to add some to the stir-fry sauce - only 1/2 tsp - and the difference was amazing! So much more flavor - deeper and more rounded.

There are actually two forms of glutamate and different umami-rich foods usually have one or the other. Combining the two boosts the flavors even more.

Thanks for the link, ppo! :-)
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:30 PM   #13
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Thanks for the link, ppo! :-)
Your welcome!

Good fish sauce (I like red boat no fructose or hydrolyzed wheat protein) is also a great umami booster.
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
It *is* a separate flavor from the salt (sodium chloride) that creates the umami flavor. It's monosodium glutamate (aka MSG or Accent).

I've had a recipe for Chinese brown sauce for stir-fry for at least 15 years. After years of using it, it seemed like it didn't have enough savory flavor (my cooking and taste buds were improving ), so I would add more soy sauce to the 6 tbsp already in the sauce. It just tasted saltier.

Then I started to make more Asian foods and bought some oyster sauce for another recipe. I decided to add some to the stir-fry sauce - only 1/2 tsp - and the difference was amazing! So much more flavor - deeper and more rounded.

There are actually two forms of glutamate and different umami-rich foods usually have one or the other. Combining the two boosts the flavors even more.

Thanks for the link, ppo! :-)
So... Jenny and Kay are wrong???
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:09 PM   #15
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So... Jenny and Kay are wrong???
They both said the same thing I said - MSG. Where do you see where they say something different than what I said?
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:21 PM   #16
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They both said the same thing I said - MSG. Where do you see where they say something different than what I said?
lol, where do you not see they did not say what I said?

Going from memory, Kayelle said bacon had a natural umami and Jenny said to add soy sauce to boost the umami flavor.
Since both those items are "typically" thought to be heavy on salt, that is what raised my question.
In other words, one should not add salt to obtain umami, but it's OK to add an ingredient known for it's saltiness?
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:33 PM   #17
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They do have a lot of salt. That doesn't mean they don't also have other flavors; there are thousands of flavor compounds. Otherwise, all you would taste is salt.

Take the pork chops Kayelle made. The recipe boosted umami flavors with anchovies, but the chops didn't taste fishy at all - just extra meaty. If you wanted to make it vegetarian, you could use oyster sauce and get the same effect. In both cases, it's the MSG that makes them extra meaty.

You seem to be fixated on salt, even though no one else mentioned it ;-)
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:56 PM   #18
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uhh, GG, that why my first post included mention of the definition I had seen and go by, because the focus of that definition was on salt, or rather the lack of use to create umami
I am having a hard time wrapping my head around foods high in salt being able to add umami as it goes against what I thought umami was. That is why I am asking.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:12 PM   #19
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uhh, GG, that why my first post included mention of the definition I had seen and go by, because the focus of that definition was on salt, or rather the lack of use to create umami
I am having a hard time wrapping my head around foods high in salt being able to add umami as it goes against what I thought umami was. That is why I am asking.
My understanding is what I've said; I don't think I can explain it any better and I sure can't explain why you think it's about salt, lol. Why don't you check out the link powerplantop posted upthread? And a link to the definition you're going by would be helpful.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:08 AM   #20
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Dried porcini mushrooms (cepes), ground to a powder in a spice grinder will add a great umami flavor to soups, stews, risotto, etc.
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