What is Umami? 8 Recipes to upgrade your savoury cooking

What is Umami? 8 Recipes to upgrade your savoury cooking


Recettes Umami

Looking for the secret to irresistible, ultra-flavourful cooking? It’s umami.

What is umami? Umami is the fifth taste, along with sweet, sour, salty and bitter. It often comes from foods rich in compounds called glutamates, and adds savoury and meaty notes to your meals.

Even if you’ve never heard of umami, chances are you’re already using umami-rich kitchen staples — tomato paste, soy sauce, Parmesan cheese and mushrooms, to name a few — in your cooking. But you have a chance to experiment with new umami ingredients and amp up the flavor even more.

Read on for eight of our favorite umami-rich recipes, from crowd-pleasing apps to fusion-inspired comfort foods.


Umami Bomb

Stuffed mushrooms may be a staple appetizer for entertaining — but you’ve never tried stuffed mushrooms like this. These mushrooms set off a “bomb” of flavour, thanks to layers upon layers of umami seasoning. If you’re entertaining, consider making a double batch — your guests will not be able to get enough.


Chipotle Umami Butter

Compound butter — butter mixed with seasonings — is one of the easiest ways to add complexity to any dish. And this umami butter will be a staple in your kitchen. Smoky chipotle chili peppers add smoky notes that play off the creaminess of the butter, while Marmite Yeast Extract Spread adds a burst of salty umami flavour.


Scallion Miso Sesame Butter

Can’t get enough compound butter? Give this scallion-infused butter a try. It gets its intense umami flavour from white miso paste, a soybean paste that’s a vital seasoning in Japanese cuisines. Sesame seeds add roasted flavour notes along with texture, while scallions add a burst of freshness.


Miso Caramel Sauce

Umami isn’t just about adding heartiness to savory dishes, it can also liven up sweet fare. This dessert puts a fresh twist on salted caramel, looking to red miso — white miso’s stronger and earthier cousin — to provide salty notes in place of sea salt. The result is a salted caramel with unexpected depth — and the ideal topping for ice cream, cheesecake and other desserts.


Miso Caramel Glazed Pork Skewers

You probably don’t think of homemade caramel as traditional BBQ fare — but once you try these caramel-glazed pork skewers, you’ll be convinced. Miso caramel combines with tangy rice vinegar and nutty sesame oil, along with ginger and garlic, to create a sweet, salty and tart glaze that pairs perfectly with naturally sweet pork. The sugar in the caramel also helps create those crispy edges you love to make each skewer extra delicious.


Sansho Pepper Yakatori with Spicy Furikake

Can’t get enough skewers? Give these Yakitori-glazed chicken skewers a try. Soy sauce, white miso and sansho pepper — an aromatic, almost lemony pepper — combine to create an intense umami glaze. And a dusting of homemade furikake — a spicy umami seasoning that’s a staple in Japanese cuisine — brings the flavour over the top.


King Trumpet Scallop Soba Noodle Bowl

Mushrooms are a concentrated source of umami, which makes them ideal to add “meatiness” and depth to plant-based dishes. And, as this noodle bowl proves, they’re endlessly versatile in the kitchen. Here, miso and honey-glazed mushrooms stand in for “scallops,” with the tender and delicate texture to match. The noodle bowl itself is hearty yet refreshing, and ideal for a summer dinner on the deck.


Furikake Bucatini

Can’t decide between Japanese and Italian food for dinner? Why not both! Umami-rich foods make it easy to create fusion meals, because you can often simply sub in one cuisine’s umami ingredient for another. Here, umami-rich Japanese staples — miso, soy and furikake seasoning — give Italian bucatini an entirely new flavour profile. The result is a creamy pasta that features salty, roasty and briny notes — plus, a generous kick of spice from chili oil.


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