Let’s talk about Umami…
Otherwise known as the fifth taste – after sweet, salty, bitter and sour – I associate it with gravy or a delicious noodle soup. Marmite, parmesan cheese and of course the infamous MSG put the savoury yum in our meals and even those of us with reduced small and taste can often “get” the umami. The ability to taste umami was discovered by Japanese scientist Professor Kikunae Ikeda in 1910, hence its Japanese name, although the taste sensation has been around for thousands of years. You can read all about its origins in this article.
How can we bottle this incredible flavour? Well, luckily for us, someone already has! If you live in the UK you can try Laura Santtini’s Taste#5 collection, a range of pastes, condiments and sauce sachets to enhance every meal. Have a look here.
A One-Pot Wonder that’s full of umami is this recipe for Chicken and Chorizo stew from Louise Parker. Simply fry some onion and chorizo pieces then add chicken thighs, chickpeas, yellow and red pepper, a handful of cherry tomatoes and some chicken stock and let it all simmer until the chicken is cooked. Colourful, textural and absolutely yummy – full of umami flavours and comforting mouthfeel. It really is a versatile dish with plenty of scope for adding other veggies such as fennel and sweetcorn. I added spinach to the pot just before serving, as you can see here.
Written by Ruth Sullivan