Umami: The Buzzword For The Fifth Sense of Deliciousness
Updated : July 04, 2021 11:07 IST
As kids, we were all taught about the basic tastes that are acquired from the foods we consume on a daily basis i.e., salty, sour, bitter and sweet. In addition to this, there is fifth taste which is called Umami. Umami, in Japanese, refers to a pleasant savory taste.
Discovered in the year 2002, this taste receptor is activated by a substance called glutamate, an amino acid which is one of the building blocks of protein.
How can one differentiate between Umami and other tastes?
Generally, this savory experience occurs when you consume a dish that contains glutamate. Under an umami state, you tend to salivate a lot. There is sense of mouth fullness and you feel a balanced taste when you take a bite of the food. This taste and the overall experience lasts in your mouth for a longer period of time than when any other taste receptors are activated.
Through which foods can you attain the savory taste?
Additives like MSG (Monosodium glutamate) contain glutamate which is commonly used in Asian food. This gives the Umami taste. It can be used as table salt but it has one-third of the sodium compared to regular salt yet gives the same sensation. Several foods like cheese, meat, mushrooms, tomatoes, seafood when consumed, leave us with a special delicious taste that makes us want more.
In case of cheese, Parmesan cheese gives the ultimate sense of umami because it takes about 24-36 months to develop the flavor. Meats like beef, pork and chicken also lend us the exquisite taste, especially when paired with burgers and sandwiches. Seaweed and seafood like shrimps, fish and oysters boost the flavor of the umami. Plant-based glutamates are found in vegetables, like asparagus, mushrooms and tomatoes. Miso sauce and Soy sauce are a big hit if you want to enhance the essence of your dish.