Almost a month ago, as I sat in front of my television set, a platter of fish and chips on my coffee table, munching away, I happened to notice something – something I know I’ve felt before; something I’m sure most of us have experienced but never really paid attention to – the after taste of fish!
This brings me to talk about the experience of the four basic taste that most of us have felt growing up, sweet - sour, salty and bitter. A dish containing fish, if I may, tastes salty more often than not, but perhaps it is mostly because we add a little extra bit of that saltiness to exaggerate the flavour. But what about that pleasant savoury after-taste that remains coated in our palates and tongues for quite some time that hardly resembles those basic tastes that we know exist? Think about it… it could come a little closer to feeling salty, but not really....
So then, as an inquisitive foodie that I am, I started researching on this. Turned out, I have been living my whole life tasting, and not knowing about this fifth taste that all our taste buds can and have tasted - this taste called umami.
2 Umami Dishes
Now that the bewilderment had been thawed out, the only thing left for speculation was what kind of food could offer such intriguing taste. Turns out, all sorts of foods that are high in protein like most meat, fish or dairy are enriched with umami. It is the same reason why we can’t stop at just one bite of some dishes. Yes, it’s the work of that latent fifth taste!
Here are two of my favourite dishes that ooze out umami and are readily available to us. You could try them out and experience it for yourselves:
Asian Threaded Prawns
Prawns generally ooze out a splash of umami into your mouth with every bite without having to be flavoured particularly with monosodium glutamate. However, this specific dish which is an appetizer, disperses thick savoury flavor of umami while getting ever so thicker as it’s chewed. This is all so, owing to the fact that it is marinated in rich oyster sauce and chopped garlic, both of which also have umami. It tastes even better if it is consumed with a side of hot garlic sauce. Furthermore, it’s outer layer of crisp adds to the mouthwatering flavour.
Chicken Steak in Mushroom Gravy
Prawns or any other seafood seem to be perpetually justifiable if you want to taste umami in the most obvious way. It is quite difficult to decipher umami in most other dishes. However, this dish containing chicken and mushrooms, which also expresses the fifth taste to its considerable extent, is not as obvious with umami as the previous dish is. Having said that, both do have that subtle savoury flavour that lingers on till a long time in your mouth. Trying this out would be a money worth spent.
It is just incredible how there are still things about the food world we haven’t really discovered. Umami was first identified by a Japanese scientist in the beginning of the 1900’s which would mean that this taste is still at its infant state of discovery. Perhaps it was identified so late because our species had probably never experienced it before. It could be resultant of our evolution that we can experience it now? No one can tell. What we could do is enjoy this spectacular flavour and be glad we can taste it.
If you feel like having an umami-filled experience, log onto FreshMenu and try out some of the dishes. They wont let you down