Fish awaiting preparation into anchovies

Fish awaiting preparation into anchovies

What is it?

Umami (Japanese: from umai, ‘delicious’ and mi, ‘taste’) is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, salty, bitter and sour.

In the early 20th century, Kikunae Ikeda, a Japanese chemistry professor, identified a particularly appealing taste common to certain foods.  But this taste sensation didn’t fall into any of the recognised taste categories; it had its own distinctly savoury character. This came to be known as ‘umami’ – the fifth taste.

Adding umami flavours to a dish can really boost its flavour and the satisfaction the eater derives from it.

List of some naturally umami-rich foods

  • anchovies and other items based on fermented fish
  • soy sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • black olives
  • garlic
  • dried mushrooms
  • tomato paste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • asparagus
  • balsamic vinegar
  • wine vinegar
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