All About Ajinomoto

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How to Use Ajinomoto

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Is Ajinomoto same as Dashi Powder?

When I lived in Japan, I used to think that if I wanted dashi soup, I could just get it from dried bonito flakes and kombu seaweed, so I didn’t need dashi powder or Ajinomoto. But then I happened to be living abroad, where bonito flakes and kombu seaweed are extremely expensive.
“What’s the difference between dashi powder and ajinomoto?” was the phrase I thought while doing my last shopping at the supermarket in Japan. I can tell you now, they are totally different, so just buy both without hesitation.

What is Ajinomoto?

Ajinomoto is a registered trademark of Ajinomoto Co. The main ingredient is monosodium L-glutamate, an umami-giving ingredient discovered by Kikunae Ikeda in 1907. For more information, please refer to this article.
What is UMAMI?
Do you know UMAMI? It's from Japan! So, what is UMAMI? It's very easy to explain! Let's think about cooking with small tips of science!
Ajinomoto is a seasoning that adds only umami, one of the five currently widely accepted tastes. It is in the same category as salt, which has no aroma and adds only saltiness, and sugar, which adds sweetness only. For more information, please refer to this article.
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What is seasoning? Why do we need seasoning? Seasoning makes food delicious. If you know more about seasoning, it helps your cooking a lot!

What is Dashi powder?

Dashi powder is an instant dashi soup stock that contains not only the umami ingredient, but also powdered dried bonito flakes and kombu seaweed, as well as salt and sugar. It is a magic powder that can be dissolved in hot water to make a delicious soup with adjusted taste.

What is the difference between them?

Let’s just conclude, they are totally different.

More about Ajinomoto

Ingredients

Quote and translated

The main ingredient of Ajinomoto® is monosodium glutamate. In Japan, the raw material for monosodium glutamate is sugar cane. Monosodium glutamate is made by adding fermentation bacteria to sugarcane molasses, using the same fermentation method used to make soy sauce and miso.

https://www.ajinomoto.co.jp/products/anzen/keyword/aji.html

Doesn’t it taste bad?

If you lick only ajinomoto, it tastes bad. You feel a strong taste that clings to your tongue, but it is actually umami. However, if you think of ajinomoto as a seasoning like salt or sugar, it makes sense, just as salt with only a salty taste or sugar with only a sweet taste does not taste good.
I’ve also heard people say that their food tastes bad after adding ajinomoto, but I’m pretty sure it’s because they added too much ajinomoto. Similarly, ajinomoto is a seasoning of the same kind as salt, which adds saltiness, and sugar, which adds sweetness. It is the same way that food with too much salt or sugar does not taste good.
3 Types of Seasonings! Know Them and Cook Easier - Piece of Oishi
What is seasoning? Why do we need seasoning? Seasoning makes food delicious. If you know more about seasoning, it helps your cooking a lot!

Is it bad for you?

Is Ajinomoto bad for you? In other words, is umami bad for you? In other words, is umami bad for you? It is natural for any food to be bad for you if consumed in excess.However, you can read more about why people think that umami is bad for you and how it came to be so in this article. It’s in Japanese, but I hope you can translate and read it.
フェイクニュースと闘う味の素 ニューヨークから世界へ情報発信
「中華料理店シンドローム」信じている人、まだいませんか?
「味の素®」は何故、むかし化学調味料と呼ばれたの? | ストーリー | 味の素グループ
食のプロフェッショナルがみなさんの疑問に答えます

How to use Ajinomoto

The way to use ajinomoto is to add umami, that’s all. If it is not salty enough, you add salt. If it is not sweet enough, you add sugar. Similarly, if it is not umami enough, you add ajinomoto.
For example, pickled vegetables such as asazuke.Adding ajinomoto adds umami, and also has the effect of reducing salt.

In addition, the umami in ajinomoto is monosodium L-glutamate. Since this is different from the umami derived from meat, adding a little bit of it to beef stew, for example, will make it taste even better due to the synergistic effect of umami.
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Beef Tongue Brown Stew
This tongue stew is perfect for special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s so tasty.

When I was in Japan, I honestly never thought that there was a lack of umami in any food. However, when I lived abroad, ate various dishes and looked up various recipes, I sometimes wondered where the umami was. For example, the Worcestershire sauce sold here is much spicier than the one in Japan. If you want to use such Worcester sauce to make Chuno sauce, you need to add a strong umami taste in addition to the sweet and salty tastes.
Japanese Chuno Sauce with Heinz Worcestershire Sauce
In Japan, we dip fried foods in Chuno sauce. In Finland, Chuno sauce is a luxury item, so I made a recipe using Heinz Worcestershire sauce.

Can Ajinomoto be replaced?

Can I use Dashi powder instead of Ajinomoto?

Ajinomoto is a seasoning that only adds umami. On the other hand, dashi powder contains not only umami but also flavors from dried bonito flakes and kombu seaweed, as well as salt and sugar. In other words, replacing Ajinomoto with dashi powder might make things taste good, but that would mean that the taste and aroma would be quite different from what the person who made the recipe had in mind.
Ajinomoto has no expiration date. As I have said many times before, it is a very natural, just like salt and sugar. Since it is an inexpensive seasoning with no expiration date, I think there is no harm in buying it once.
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