Ajinomoto is UMAMI Seasoning: Tips & 4 Useful Recipes


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


What is Ajinomoto?

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

Ajinomoto = Umami Seasoning

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.

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. What umami is is explained in this article.
What is UMAMI? Umami is the 5th Taste!
Umami is the fifth taste. Many Umami seasonings exist, but pure umami seasonings are limited. For example, Ajinomoto, MSG is umami seasoning.

Made from Sugarcane

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, but this is a complete misunderstanding.

Gluten Free & Vegan

Ajinomoto is gluten-free because it is made from sugar cane. And because it is made from sugar cane, Ajinomoto is 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.

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.

Basic Asazuke, Lightly Pickled Tsukemono, Japanese Pickles
Japanese food is healthy, with less oil and more vegetables, but the biggest problem is the salt. This is how to make basic asazuke, Japanese pickles using less salt but tasty.
Check out this recipe

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.

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.
Check out this recipe

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.

Kalles Kaviar Tarako/Mentaiko Pasta
Japanese loves mentaiko pasta. We can use Kalles Kaviar and cook very easily, just mix. Let's enjoy Japanese Mentaiko taste abroad!
Check out this recipe

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.

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.
Check out this recipe

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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