Umami Veggies

October 11th 2016

Umami Veggies

For a fresh way to savour the tempting “fifth taste,” look no further than naturally umami-rich veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and nori.

Canadian chefs who are seeking to make their foods as delicious and tempting as possible should make themselves aware of the taste experience known as 'umami' and the different ways in which it can be achieved.

More and more food service operators around the world are becoming increasingly well-acquainted with this term, which originated in Japan and is now widely known as the fifth basic taste, alongside sweet, sour, bitter and salty.

The term was coined by Professor Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University in 1908 and can be roughly translated as meaning a pleasant savoury taste, one which is found in many meats and vegetables and can help to significantly enhance their craveability.

According to Umami Information center, glutamate, inosinate and guanylate are the main components of umami.  Guanylate can be found in dried mushrooms, Inosinate is found in meat and fish and Glutamate is found in an array of food such as meat, fish, and vegetables. These include vegetables such as tomatoes, mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, spinach, celery, onion, broccoli, peas, asparagus, beets and kombu seaweed.

Umami can help decrease the use of salt, balance taste profiles and promote the secretion of saliva.  By leveraging these effects, you can make dishes taste better and healthier with less salt and less fat.