Jane pumps up the umami

By Martin Zibauer »Martin Zibauer

June 21st, 2011

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Jane Rodmell has a short post and recipe on Good Food Revolution’s website. Good Food Revolution is a not-for-profit organization that promotes–surprise–good food, mostly in southern Ontario. Jane’s recipe, Pasta with Tomatoes, Arugula, Chèvre …and Umami, features Taste #5 Umami Paste. It’s an intriguing product that’s been getting much ink in the food blog world–a concentrated blend of a bunch of high-in-umami ingredients. Umami, as Jane explains, is the fifth basic taste, “the Japanese word meaning ‘delicious flavour’ and was initially found to be present in foods that naturally contain glutamate, a type of amino acid, found in fermented foods  and ingredients such as kombu (dried kelp) familiar in Japanese, Chinese and East Asian cuisines.”

I experimented with piling on the umami ingredients when I worked up a recipe for tofu kebabs. For one go, I tried dredging tofu heavily with ground dried porcini mushrooms and dried tomatoes. Both are umami-rich, and together the flavour is super-savoury and overpowering–imagine how sick of meat you’d be at the last bite of a 72-oz eat-it-all-and-it’s-free steak. That’s what the first bite of the porcini-tomato tofu tasted like. Lesson learned: The same way food can be too salty or bitter, it can be too savoury.

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Martin Zibauer