By now, we should all be completely unafraid of monosodium glutamate, the umami-boosting molecule more commonly referred to as “MSG.” It will not give you headache, it will not make your arms numb, but it will inspire you to eat an entire head of roasted broccoli in one sitting.
Tagged With umami
If I had to pick my favourite ingredient of 2018, it would be shio koji.
This traditional Japanese paste — which is made from fuzzy, inoculated rice, salt, and water — adds savoury depth and miso-like umami to anything you smear it on, and an overnight hang in the stuff will do wonders for your (uncured) pork.
Any time I have ever mentioned bonito flakes, either online or in this thing called "real life", one very well meaning person will say, "I thought those were for cats." While it's true the a cat would find them very pleasing, these feathery, savoury and smoky flakes are best enjoyed by humans, who are more equipped to appreciate the umami-packed delicacy.
MSG - or Monosodium glutamate to give it its proper name - is widely believed to contain dangerous toxins. The once popular food additive has been shunned by many Australian Chinese restaurants who proudly proclaim their dishes are now "MSG free". But do we really need to be worried? Not according to this infographic from Compound Interest.
I have been cooking food in the Instant Pot for some time now, and I've noticed a certain phenomenon when it comes to onions: unless you leave them in thick chunks, they are almost always reduced to to mushy, barely noticeable strands that dissolve with a glance. This isn't great if you want the vegetable to shine, but it's awesome if you want to infuse your dish with oniony goodness.
Tomato-based pasta sauce can either be incredibly simple or very involved. Whether you're making Marcella Hazan's three-ingredient sauce or a loaded-up bolognese, it's all about creating that perfect balance of flavours. Tasting, tweaking and tasting again is key, as is having a little lineup of extras you can toss in to bring that special something.
Marmite is a somewhat polarising spread. (Their slogan is "Love it. Hate it.") Made from brewer's yeast, the salty paste is the British answer to Vegemite. Like Vegemite, it has an umami-packed, almost condensed-soy-sauce-like flavour that can be overwhelming in large amounts. Add just a smidge, though, and you'll boost the savoury-factor of whatever you're eating many times over.
"Umami", also known as "the fifth taste", is a flavour that is kind of hard to describe. It's savoury, but not salty, though it is usually accompanied by salt. It's been described as "meaty", "mushroom-y" and "brothy", but I prefer to describe it as "that flavour that makes you eat an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting".