10 Addictive Umami Recipes

10 Addictive Umami Recipes

The 5th taste is nothing short of finger-licking good! Find out which special dishes have it

Even though it’s been around for over 100 years (umami was discovered in 1907 by scientist Kikunae Ikeda), words still fail to pin down the exact taste of umami. Often described as a pleasant savory taste that poultry, fish, vegetables and dairy have, umami rolls around the tongue and is a distinctive flavor captured by one’s entire palette. From slurping up a comforting soup to salivating over an anchovy pizza, this incredible taste is addictive and chefs know it. Exploit its irresistible properties by cooking up these deliciously umami dishes below.

1. Tom Yum Vongole Pasta

Is there nothing that says umami like seafood vongole? Part of traditional Neapolitan cuisine of Italy, vongole is usually cooked with olive oil, a good amount of garlic, chopped parsley, fresh clams and a splash of white wine. This Asian take on the Italian ‘pasta vongole’ has a delicious Thai twist - for that extra tom yum umami-ness in this Tom Yum Vongole Pasta.

2. Savoury Bacon and Avocado Muffin

Mmm, that seared crispy bacon dripping with fats is another great source of umami flavors, and having it in this savory keto-friendly muffin definitely elevates its taste. With creamy cheese, chives, coconut milk and plenty of eggs, these Savoury Bacon and Avocado Muffin is definitely a meal in itself. If you don’t have a muffin tray, just use a cake pan and cut it all up to snack size pieces later.

3. Healthy Brothy Miso Carrot Kale Stew

Miso is a Japanese fermented soya bean paste that is well known for its umami flavor. It’s probably one of the reasons Japanese ramen has fared well so far and wide all across the world. As it shares a similar base to ramen soup, this Healthy Brothy Miso Carrot Kale Stew will surely be appreciated by ramen fans out there. Carrots and kale enhance the natural sweetness of the broth and adds a bright splash of color. It’s brimming with fiber from the barley beans and is the ideal go-to dish for cold, and wet days.

4. Steamed Cod with Soy Sauce

Soy sauce, an Asian household essential, is almost synonymous with the umami taste as well. It’s no wonder home chefs all over this side of the world add it to their noodles, rice, fried dishes and soups. The salty soya sauce is balanced out by the sweet flesh of cod in this Steamed Cod with Soy Sauce, while the ginger reduces the fishy odor. Top off this healthy, omega-3 rich family dish with scallions and serve it with steaming white rice

5. Kung Pao King Mushroom

Spice it up a notch with this savory Kung Pao King Mushroom dish. Mushroom has a pretty similar texture to chicken, and can be used as a meat substitute in many dishes. Wok toss this fiery dish to perfection, and allow the mushrooms to caramelize to draw out the maximum umami notes. Peanuts and red peppers add a satisfying crunch and give this vegetarian dish a nice touch of color. 

6. Ikan Goreng Kicap

Don’t we all relish a deep fried fish on occasion? There’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth past super crispy fish skin and into the soft, flaky flesh underneath. This Ikan Goreng Kicap is marinated with golden turmeric and cornstarch to give it a beautiful golden shell when deep fried. It’s then slathered with a sweet and salty – you guessed it – umami soya sauce to give this seafood delight an irresistible taste.

7. One-Pot Kimchi Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Beyond its oozing, melt-in-your-mouth and stretchy qualities, cheese is also high in glutamate, which gives it the coveted umami taste. It’s not difficult to whip up this two-step One-Pot Kimchi Pumpkin Mac and Cheese to enjoy the best of Korean and western cuisine. This sticky, gooey goodness in a bowl is perfect for time-strapped individuals who wish to have an indulgent lunch or dinner!

8. Chinese Spinach Soup

Anchovies or Ikan Bilis is a commonly used base in many Asian creations as it’s a quick way to add umami flavor to soup stock or fried dishes. This Chinese Spinach Soup features a few pre-salted items like salted egg and anchovies, which adds enough salt to the soup such that you don’t need to add broth – just water will do. Sip this healthy, nourishing broth on those under the weather days, and you will feel better in no time.

9. Mapo Tofu

The thought of Sichuan cuisine often arouses tongue-numbing sensations and this Mapo Tofu will meet your need for a spicy kick head on. Bean paste and fermented black beans are well-known for their umami flavors and it makes this dish is so addictive despite being a too hot to handle for some. Allow some steaming white rice to soak up this hot sauce and pair it with a chilled soya bean drink or milkshake to take some of the heat off.

10. Kimchi Seaweed Popcorn

Need a quick umami fix? This Kimchi Seaweed Popcorn is a fast answer to your midnight cravings. It only takes a few minutes to fix, and will last for at least the first half of your Netflix marathon. If you’re sensitive to spice, go easier on the Kimchi and sriracha sauce. Feel free to pop these little balls in a pot (with a lid on, of course) if you don’t have access to an oven.

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