Umami Rich Foods

The taste of umami goes back to 1908 when the active ingredient of seaweed kombu was identified as glutamate by taasIkeda (On a new seasoning: K Ikeda - J. Tokyo Chem. Soc., 1909). Ikeda identified the unique taste component of kombu (kelp) as the salt of glutamic acid and coined the term umami (Japanese for "yummy")  to describe this taste. see Science of Umami for full readings.

Many other foods besides kelp are high in umami taste. We have listed our pick that we use regularly in daily home cooked dishes. We have also including links to some of the recipes.

Other high umami foods include Black Garlic, Squid Ink Seaweed/Kombu -- Rausu kombu: 2,290–3,380 mg Ma kombu: 1,610–3,200 mg Rishiri kombu: 1,490–1,980 mg Hidaka kombu: 1,260–1,340 mg Naga kombu: 240–1,400 mg Nori seaweed is also high in glutamate — providing 550–1,350 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), Truffle/Truffle Butter, Anchovies(630 mg/100gms), Soy Sauce(400–1,700 mg/100gms), Fish Sauce/Oyster Sauce and Kimchi (240 mg of glutamate per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).


Miso Paste

white miso

text here ---There are countless varieties of miso, made with a variety of grains and beans — including rice, barley, wheat, millet, adzuki beans, and garbanzo beans — that undergo fermentation with salt and koji (the mold Aspergillus oryzae). Depending on the type of miso there may be 200–700 mg/100gms of glutamate present.

Miso Recipes

Roasted Tomatoes

oven roasted tomatoes
As tomatoes roast, they lose water, and their flavor intensifies. They come out of the oven with a super-concentrated, intense umami flavor. They can be easily frozen to last for months. To see how to roast tomatoes ---How to Roast Tomatoes

Recipes using Roasted Tomatoes

Fresh and Dried Shitake Mushrooms

dried shitake mushrooms
The two most popular mushrooms in the world are the common button mushroom (Agaricus species) and the shiitake or black forest mushroom (Lentinus edodes). While fresh shitake are rich in umami flavor letting them dry out substantially increases the amount of glutamate see: Why dried shitake mushrooms can taste better than fresh for more information. Fix this page to science of cooking Dried shiitake mushrooms contain 1,060 milligrams of glutamate per 100 grams, while fresh contain 180 mg/100 grams.

Recipes using dried shitake mushrooms

Aged Parmesan or Comté Cheese

aged parmesan cheese

Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio is aged a full 36 months. At this age, it has a deeper, golden color. As cheese ages the moisture content reduces to about 15% and its free amino acid and salt content both become condensed. About 1.6% of Parmigiano-Reggiano is glutamate, the free amino acid which produces the umami taste. see umami information center

Comté cheese can be aged xx months and have 1600mg/100gm of glutamate

Recipes using aged parmesan or Comté

Not everyone tastes umami with the same intensity

There is substantial inter individual taste sensitivity variability. For instance, detection thresholds for MSG have been reported to follow a multimodal distribution in the French population, with 2% of the population displaying a specific inability to taste MSG see Human Genetic Polymorphisms in T1R1 and T1R3 Taste Receptor Subunits Affect Their Function and references therin. As with the taste of bitter, It has been known for many years that some people are extremely sensitive to the taste of bitter substances, while others perceive little or no bitter taste.--- supertasters and nontasters exist for bitter and to a leser extent to umami taste.... see Super-Tasters and Non-Tasters: Is it Better to Be Average?