What is Umami?
Umami, which translates from Japanese to mean “delicious taste” or “essence of deliciousness,” is a type of flavor and it's gotten a lot of attention recently in the culinary world.
When we talk about flavors, we tend to divide them into five categories:
Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Sour, Umami
These are the main flavors that our taste buds are wired to recognize. But while the first four are pretty familiar, umami is still not what you’d call a household name. The addition of umami as the fifth flavor was originally proposed by Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda in 1908 and officially recognized as an official scientific term in 1985.
The umami flavor is rich, deep, and meaty, coating the mouth and tongue. Foods that are high in it have a tendency to make people say “yuuummm!” Umami is sometimes also called “savoriness.”
Some examples of foods with strong umami flavor are cured meats, anchovies, aged cheeses (like parmesan), mushrooms, seaweed, garlic, tomatoes (especially sundried), soy sauce, and long-simmered broths.
Want to experiment with some umami flavors? Try these savory blends: