Ajinomoto is UMAMI Seasoning: Tips & Recipes


Ajinomoto, MSG is SAFE. Ajinomoto is umami seasoning. It is an amino acid, monosodium glutamate, made from sugar cane. Gluten-free and vegan.


What is Ajinomoto?

To begin with, what is ajinomoto? What are ajinomoto’s ingredients?

Ajinomoto = Umami Seasoning

First of all, there are several umami seasonings in Japan. Ajinomoto is the most famous and has a long history.

Other umami seasonings in Japan are Ino Ichiban and Hi Me(Haimi).

Ajinomoto is also the name of the company. This shows how important Ajinomoto and MSG are to the Ajinomoto Company.

Ajinomoto is Monosodium L-Glutamate

The main ingredient of Ajinomoto is monosodium L-glutamate, an umami amino acid discovered by Kikunae Ikeda in 1907. I explained here what umami is.

Made from Sugarcane

So what are the ingredients of ajinomoto?

The main ingredient in AJINOMOTO® is monosodium glutamate. The raw material for monosodium glutamate is sugarcane in Japan. Monosodium glutamate is produced by the same fermentation method used to make soy sauce and miso by adding fermentation bacteria to sugarcane molasses.


The raw material for Ajinomoto is sugarcane. Ajinomoto is made by fermenting the squeezed juice of sugarcane.

In old Japan, ajinomoto was called “chemical seasoning”. Therefore, you may hear people say that Ajinomoto is made from petroleum and is bad for you. However, this is a complete lie and misunderstanding.

Gluten Free & Vegan

The raw material of Ajinomoto is sugarcane. And because it is from sugar cane, Ajinomoto is completely Gluten Free and VEGAN.

Ajinomoto Tastes Bad?

If you only lick the ajinomoto, it tastes bad. You will feel a strong taste that clings to your tongue. Actually, this unpleasant taste is “umami”.

Ajinomoto is almost 100% monosodium glutamate. It is a pure amino acid, a seasoning that simply adds only umami. It has no smell.

How about Salt & Sugar

The only seasonings that have no smell and add only one simple taste are salt, white sugar, and this ajinomoto.

When you lick salt alone, does it taste good? Would it taste good to eat only a lot of white sugar? Good taste is perceived when multiple tastes are mixed together. It is no surprise that licking salt, white sugar, and ajinomoto, which give only a single taste, does not taste good.

Still Bad Taste?

I have heard some people say that their food tastes bad after they add Ajinomoto. This is because you put too much Ajinomoto. Just as too much salt makes food salty or too much sugar makes food sweet, too much ajinomoto makes food too umami.

Ajinomoto is bad when tasted by itself. But in the right amount, it is delicious.

Is Ajinomoto Bad for Your Health?

Ajinomoto is bad for you? That is ridiculous!

Ajinomoto is made from sugar cane. Gluten-free, vegan. All words that health-conscious people seem to like. It was once hated as MSG, especially in the U.S., but this is a complete misunderstanding.

Side Effects of Ajinomoto?

Are you concerned about the side effects of Ajinomoto? Do you know the side effects of salt and sugar ? If you drink too much water, you will get water intoxication. Would you say that the side effect of water is toxicity?

Any food is bad for you if you take too much of it.

Is Umami Bad for Your Health?

Think about it. Ajinomoto is umami itself. In other words, if ajinomoto is bad for you, then all foods that contain umami are bad for you.

Foods with a strong umami taste are, for example, tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms, meat, fish, and so on. Avoiding ajinomoto is the same as avoiding these foods.

Do You Check Ingredients?

Let’s say more. Do you check the ingredient labels on your food? Do you see amino acids there? The probability that it is Ajinomoto, MSG, is quite high. We are eating Ajinomoto without even knowing it.

Let me repeat that. It is a complete misunderstanding that Ajinomoto is bad for you. Various efforts are being made to clear up this misconception.


Ajinomoto and Dashi Powder

What is the substitute for ajinomoto? Can dashi powder replace it? First, consider the difference between umami and dashi.

Difference between Umami and Dashi

If you are familiar with Japanese food culture, the word umami may remind you of dashi soup.

Ajinomoto is a pure umami seasoning. The taste of dashi broth is mainly umami, but also includes some miscellaneous flavors. It also has an aroma. In other words, umami does not equal dashi.

Ajinomoto and Dashi Powder

In Japanese, dashi powder is called “Dashinomoto”. It is very similar to ajinomoto. So, can ajinomoto be an alternative to dashi powder?

Ajinomoto is almost pure monosodium glutamate; monosodium glutamate is the amino acid that gives umami flavor. In other words, ajinomoto is a seasoning that adds only umami.

What is Dashi Powder

On the other hand, what about dashi powder? Actually, its main ingredients are salt and sugar. To these are added dried bonito flakes and kelp, and a little bit of monosodium glutamate.

You can imagine that substituting dashi powder for ajinomoto, and dashi powder for ajinomoto, would result in a completely different taste.


Ajinomoto Recipes

So how shall we use ajinomoto?

Ajinomoto adds umami flavor. When you need saltiness, use salt. When you need sweetness, use sugar. And when you need umami, use ajinomoto.

Vegetables and Ajinomoto Recipe

Japanese pickles recipes use ajinomoto. Adding ajinomoto as well as salt adds umami and reduces the amount of salt.

Meat and Ajinomoto Recipe

The umami in ajinomoto is monosodium glutamate. This is different from the umami derived from meat. Adding a little bit to beef stew, for example, makes it taste even better due to the synergistic effect of umami.

Fish and Ajinomoto Recipe

Do you know Kalles Kaviar? It is a Swedish fish roe paste. Mix Kalles Kaviar with soy sauce and ajinomoto and you have Japanese Tarako pasta. The easiest Japanese dish to make overseas is no doubt this tarako pasta.

Seasoning and Ajinomoto Recipe

Worcestershire sauce sold overseas is much spicier and more pungent than the Japanese version. And it lacks umami.

To make Japanese Chuno Sauce with this Worcestershire sauce, you need ajinomoto. Adding umami in addition to sweetness and saltiness will give you Japanese chuno sauce.


Ajinomoto is Useful

Ajinomoto is a very useful seasoning if used with the right knowledge and in the right way. We hope you will make full use of ajinomoto.


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