Recently, Umami Day was commemorated worldwide, the fifth basic taste that was discovered more than a century ago. Its name comes from two Japanese words that mean “tasty flavor” because its main attribute is to accentuate and harmonize the flavor of all preparations.
What is umami?
This taste comes from glutamate, an amino acid that occurs naturally in the human body and is present in various foods such as tomatoes, mushrooms, and mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, cheeses, meats, among others. Even the food that contains more glutamate is breast milk, so we can say that umami is the first taste that human being tastes.
According to gastronomic researchers, Rodolfo Tafur and Carlos Del Pozo, umami has been in the country since old Peru, but with another expression: “yantar”, which means “to eat with delight”. This was detailed in an investigation which was called “Umami, History in Peru”, published in 2019. Therefore, our country has inputs rich in umami and, below, we show some of them:
La chicha de Jora: It is famous for all tourists who visit the north and south of the country and has high umami content. According to research conducted by Tafur and Del Pozo, this fermented drink, is made of corn, has glutamate. “This input goes through a fermentation process, which contributes to enhancing the concentration of flavor in the preparation of meals,” they said.
The misto: This dressing is widely used in Peruvian jungle preparations. It becomes a very pleasant seasoning to the palate because it concentrates the jungle flavors very well. Likewise, turmeric, garlic, ancho oregano, and coriander sacha are crushed in a batán to form a paste “The umami taste present in garlic, adds its share of flavor to our Amazonian gastronomy,” said the experts.
Buttery cheese: The cheese, which in Quechua became popularly known as cauchi or japchi, became one of the perfect complements within Andean cuisine. “Umami is present in a long list of cheeses, especially buttery, which was used to prepare the well-known huarcash, characterized by its peculiar flavor,” cited by both authors.
Benefits of umami
Today, scientific research around glutamate has led to the creation of seasonings of natural origin, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) to concentrate the umami taste and can be used in the preparation of different dishes worldwide. In addition, its safety is confirmed by institutions such as the FDA and the European Union. Its use not only brings more flavor to the preparations but also contributes to the reduction of sodium in meals since it has a third of sodium than table salt. That is, it is possible to satisfy our demanding palate by enhancing the flavor and reducing the consumption of salt at the same time.
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