How was umami invented and what is it?

Did you know umami was invented from sugar kelp?

Or, just invented is exaggerating; Umami is a relatively new word for an old taste that has always existed. But when the word Umami was put into practice, it was when Professor Ikeda from Japan just cooked a sugar kelp broth that had a distinct taste. Read more below about Professor Ikeda and his discovery of our fifth basic taste.

Professor Kikuanae Ikeda was a professor of chemistry at the University of Tokyo. In 1908, he established that the chemical flavour of meat and seaweed consisted of glutamic acids, and that to obtain the same flavour, the acids and their salts could be obtained from other animal or vegetable proteins. The flavour he was referring to was called umami, which roughly translates as good and fresh taste. In the English and Swedish language, the Japanese name, Umami, is usually used today.

Professor Ikeda

Broth from sugar kelp has since been developed in many different varieties, with one of the most famous varieties being Dashi, which is considered the most Umami-giving product in Japanese cooking and is often described as the essence of Japanese food culture.

A Dashi can be made in many different ways, but a simpler version can be made with the help of dried sugar kelp that are boiled in a saucepan together with water. Just as the water starts to boil, remove the sugar kelp from the water and then continue to boil the liquid for another 10-15 minutes - and then use as a broth for soup, bowl or any dish.

Make your own dashi with the help of dried sugar kelp

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