What is: Umami

Umami – from the Japanese meaning “pleasant savory taste”, and popularly referred to as savoriness, is one of the five basic tastes together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

The Chinese characters 旨味 are used for a more general meaning to describe a food as delicious.

Umami is most notably found in fish, shellfish, cured meats, vegetables (e.g., mushrooms, ripe tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, spinach, celery, etc.) or green tea, and fermented and aged products like cheeses, shrimp pastes, soy sauce, etc.

Anchovies are another popular umami food. In fact, they’re often added to Italian red sauces as a “secret ingredient” to sharpen the other flavors in the dish. You’ve probably had them more than once like this and didn’t even know it, as there’s typically no detectable anchovy or “fishy” flavor in the finished sauce.

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free meal planning newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

Humans’ first encounter with umami is often breast milk. It contains roughly the same amount of umami as broth.

Favorite Recipe: Filet Mignon with Umami Merlot Sauce

Filet Mignon with Umami Merlot Sauce

 

One thought on “What is: Umami

  1. Pingback: What is: Fish Sauce | SimplySmartDinnerPlans

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>