March Tips and Reflections.

In February we talked about using Chinese Cooking techniques and bringing a yin yan to our leftovers. Well, I’ve been taking my own advice and I have been exploring the Four Flavors of the Chinese Cooking technique + Umami, and it was not so difficult, so here I want you to look at those flavors and how we can incorporate them into our Fiesta in the Making cooking techniques.
It turns out that our tongue has 5 receptors glands where it detects Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, + Umami, this fifth flavor is about  pungent, concentrated strong foods. In 1908  a Japanese scientist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda, noticed the flavor of kombu dashi made with kelp was unique and different from the four basic flavors. He named it “umami,” which literally means “essence of deliciousness” in Japanese.

Dr. Ikeda eventually found that the taste of umami was attributed to glutamate, an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of protein. You know it as “Ajinomoto” or MSG. Like salt, it enhances the flavor of food, and has 2/3 less sodium than table salt. However, there are people who report mild, short term allergic reactions to it.

MSG or Salt? MSG is made out of Sodium and Glutamate.
Glutamate can be found naturally in tomatoes, cheese, and meats. On the other hand, salt is a compound made of sodium and chloride.

Sodium is a mineral the body needs to survive, however, eating too much sodium can lead to increased blood pressure, a risk of heart disease and stroke. The World Health Organization, FDA, and European Union all say MSG is safe, and the US Institute of Medicine suggests using MSG as a lower-sodium alternative to salt and as a way to boost flavor. You should ask your doctor before using MSG.

If you want to add more natural umami flavor to your meals, you can add tomatoes, parmesan cheese, meats, sardines, peas, corn, mushrooms, and asparagus, as shown above.

Umami seasonings you can add to your cooking.

Recipes of Foods with Umami.

Mushu Pork

Bouillabaisse Fish Stew

Tortilla Soup

Pork Ramen Noodle Soup


Oven Baked Ribs

Beef Birria

Swedish Meatballs

Bake Salmon

Chicken Parmesan

Questions about Umami, the fifth flavor.

Q -From what country was the scientist that discovered “Umami”?
A – Japan.

Q – What does the name “Umami” mean?
A – “Essence of deliciousness” in Japanese

Q – What is Umami made of?
A – Glutamate

Q – Is Glutamate natural or syntetic?
A – Glutamate can be found naturally in tomatoes, cheese, and meats.

Q – Can you identify the Umami element/s in the above recipes?


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