When it comes to flavors, what is your favorite? Umami is a word used to describe a category of spices considered to be the fifth flavor profile, in addition to bitter, salty, sour, and sweet.
The taste is savory, but difficult to describe in words.
Some might use words like savory, rich, and satisfying to explain the appeal of this mysterious flavor profile.
What spices taste umami?
Umami is a flavor that is savory, often found in meats, mushrooms, miso, seaweed, and sauces like soy and fish sauce. Umami is the fifth flavor profile, besides bitter, salty, sour, and sweet, and it is savory, satisfying, and rich. Some spices that taste umami include MSG, granulated garlic, onion powder, pulverized mushroom powder, and nutritional yeast.
Do you like umami spices? Keep reading to learn more!
There is a lot of culinary hype surrounding umami. This is the mysterious fifth flavor spice profile that is somewhat hard to put into words.
Umami is the earthiness of a meaty mushroom or the fermented flavor of a good soy sauce; it is also the layer of aged parmesan that you add to a bowl of buttery pasta or the sweet goodness of a roasted garlic bulb.
Umami stems from a Japanese chemist who looked closer at the ingredients comprising popular dishes of the time and what it was that made them delicious.
He discovered that certain seaweeds enhanced the flavor of many foods, creating this unique fifth taste that was not quite bitter, salty, sour, or sweet- so umami was born.
So, how can you add umami to your favorite dish or recipe?
Just like you would add the rind of a parmesan cheese wedge to a soup or stew to enrich its flavor- or umami- you can add spices to enhance the umami.
MSG is the first way to increase the umami flavor of food. It is a common ingredient or spice that is added to Asian food to improve the taste.
Any savory food that lacks flavor can be enhanced miraculously with a sprinkle of MSG- try it!
You can buy MSG in the spice section of your grocery store, but if you don’t have any, there are substitutions for MSG.
Some culinary enthusiasts combine equal parts of sugar and salt and add that to certain foods and recipes.
Too much MSG can cause sensitivity in some folks, and some people report headaches when eating foods with a lot of MSG in them, like convenience foods or salty snacks, like potato chips.
There is a reason that these shelf-stable foods taste so good- it is the MSG!
Foods rich in umami flavor typically have a high MSG content.
Some of these foods include aged cheeses, Asian sauces, canned fish, seaweed, and miso.
If you want to replicate the rich umami flavor of these and other foods, you may be able to find what you need in your kitchen pantry right now!
Try some common kitchen spices that increase and improve the umami of whatever you are cooking.
Some spices that amp-up the umami include these suggestions.
- Onion Powder
- Granulated Garlic
- Nutritional Yeast
- Mushroom Powder
The key to getting the most umami with these easy and inexpensive spices is to make sure they are fresh.
If you have onion powder in the cabinet that is expired, do not use it.
If you don’t remember how long the Tamari has been in your pantry, don’t use it.
Instead, make this the time that you refresh and restock your spices- particularly these umami ones.
Frequently Asked Questions About What Spaces Taste Umami
What does umami taste like?
Umami features an earthy, beefy flavor profile that is hard to describe. Some foods that are considered to be rich in umami flavor, according to experts, include mushrooms, seaweed, fish sauce, eggs, tomatoes, and soy sauce. Umami is savory and rich- comforting and satisfying- and found in many comfort dishes that you eat every day.
Is fish sauce a good source of umami?
Fish sauce is a good source of umami and using it lowers the need to add salt to the dish or recipe by nearly 25%, studies show. Oyster sauce, miso, and soy sauce are also umami-rich foods that fit the fifth flavor profile.
What are the different flavors of spices?
There are essentially five different flavor profiles of spices. These five spice flavors are bitter, salty, sour, sweet, and umami. Umami is the most recent spice flavor recognized widely by culinary professionals and industry experts.
What are the health benefits of umami foods?
Umami foods are more satisfying and filling, which may lead to overeating less and more control over weight management. Also, foods rich in umami typically aid in digestion, which can help those with gastrointestinal issues or sensitivities. It should be mentioned that many umami rich foods are also high in MSG, so if you suffer from migraine headaches or have allergies and food sensitivities, you may want to monitor how much MSG you consume. Read the label on the products and foods that you buy.
Do you go for umami flavors and spices? Use these tips to bring some umami to your usual dishes and recipes.
You don’t even need a special trip to the store or Asian market for seaweed or sauces- simply add one of the umami flavored spices, like granulated garlic or nutritional yeast, to the dish.
Expand your taste buds and palate- try something umami tonight!
Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)
Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.