The fifth sense of primary taste.
Umami is the the fifth sense of primary taste. (Salty, Sour, Sweet, Bitter and umami) Found and named in JAPAN. It is a pleasant savoury taste from naturally occurring amino acids, and ribonucleotides, including glutamate, inosinate and guanylate, abundant naturally in meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products.
The actual taste of umami is very subtle. However, you can taste the umami very well with other tastes blending and expanding the flavor rounding out the edge. It is hard to recognize on its own, but it is a very important factor that makes up the complex nature of taste sensory, to makes up deliciousness.
Umami, was named by a Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda. Deriving from umai (うまい) “delicious” and mi (味) “taste”. The kanji 旨味, reads umami, has been in use in Japan as general term in deliciousness.
We eat using all our senses, sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste to feel the food, but of course actual taste is the most important factor in actually determining the deliciousness of a food. It was not until 1980’s umami was actually recognized as the fifth primary taste, that conventional four primary tastes, sweet, sour, salt and bitter, cannot replicate umami by any combination of their mixture.
Discovery of the sensory receptor, mGluR4, on taste buds for glutamate has developed the recognition of umami.
The Benefits of umami
The three major components of umami are Inosinate, Guanylate, and Glutamate. Mushrooms are abundant in Guanylate and Glutamate. The combination of Guanylate, Glutamate and Inosinate can multiply the taste of umami.
- With umami, your taste buds still can sense deliciousness even without much of salt.
- Umami can also mellow the bitterness and tanginess of vegetables.
- Thanks to umami, you can reduce sodium and fat in your dishes and still make them delicious.
- It is generally said that taste sensory is created by age 3. If you utilize umami to reduce salt and fat in children’s diet, you may be able to train them with a healthy eating life style for life.
How to cook better with umami filled mushrooms
- Eash mushroom has different umami component, mixing them will multiply umami, and also cooking with inocinate containing food like meat and seafood will multiply Umami.
- Guanylate starts to increase at 50℃(122℉) and peaks at 60-70℃(140-158℉). When you are preparing a soup, you should put the mushroom before the boiling point and heat it slowly to maximize umami.