Three Steps to Understanding Umami

Mushroom Risotto

We’ve got a new stock in the family. You might have heard; it’s our Umami Rich Mushroom Stock and it adds remarkable depth of flavour to any dish in which stock is called for. But what even is umami, and why does it matter?

Umami.
A delicious savoury taste which translates as literally just that. Umai (うまい) “delicious” and mi (ε‘³) “taste”. The phrase was coined by Japanese scientists in 1908.

1. Umami one of the five basic tastes along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty.
for a long time it was believed there were just four tastes. When the term was coined, naysayers brushed off this magical fifth taste a figment of imagination. In the 1990’s science proved otherwise; the savoury kick in umami, comes from the presence of glutamate (amino acids), in which our taste buds have special receptors to recognise. Four basic tastes became five and old mate umami was finally invited to the table. Take that, haters. Case closed.

2. The concept of Umami is not limited to Japan alone.
Escoffier, the legendary French chef who invented veal stock credited his success to an extra savoury fifth taste. You can find umami in essentially all the greatest foods; the deep savoury tones of Parmesan cheese, the yeasty deliciousness of Vegemite. Mushrooms. Anchovies. Excellent meaty stock. The caramelised juices of a roast. The list goes on.

3. It’s a handy alternative to salt.

Everybody knows that a dash of salt can improve a dish drastically. Similarly, a few well placed umami ingredients can up the savoury flavour of a meal without the need for as much extra sodium – a few anchovies, a lump of Parmesan, a dash of soy sauce. The deep savoury richness in our Mushroom Stock is thanks to the umami in the Tamari Soy sauce and local Melbourne-grown mushrooms.

Are you ready for a king umami hit? Of course you are. Have a gander at our Mushroom Stock recipes to get you started.

 

 

 

 

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