These are examples of different ingredients or seasonings that include umami. Foods in which mushroom, tomato or cheese, are used is easily considered delicious by many people. They have umami, but how can we use it more efficiently?
Types of Umami
We can categorize foods shown above like this:
Understanding this categorization helps you to use umami more efficiently. Let’s check each group individually.
This is the group which has glutamic acid as umami. There are mainly vegetables and fermented food in this category. In addition, ajinomoto belongs to here. It’s natural that they are made from sugar cane.
Guanylic acid is a very rare umami ingredient.
Dried shiitake mushrooms are the only commercially available food that contains it in abundance.
Sometimes it is said that the umami ingredient of mushrooms is guanylic acid. However, the correct answer is that fresh mushrooms contain glutamic acid, while dried mushrooms contain guanylic acid. As I will show later, you can easily increase this guanylic acid at home. Other sources are dried tomatoes and dried porcini, which also contain some amounts.
This is the group which has inosinic acid as umami. Fish and meat belong here.
Inosinic acid can be found from fresh meat but an increase in the production happens after the animal dies. So, if you let the meat rest and for example mature the meat, there is more inosinic acid than in fresh meat.
This is the group which has succinic acid as umami. Mainly shells and clams are here.
Glutamic acid, guanylic acid and inosinic acid are well known as the three umami components. Succinic acid is not so well known yet, even though it’s a strong umami component. Do you like seafoods? Imagine how delicious clam chowder, paella and aqua pazza are… Thank you succinic acid.
How to Taste Umami Stronger?
Why do we need to know the type of umami? If you combine different types of umami, the taste of umami multiplies. So, if you understand the umami types and groups, and cook with a variety of foods which have a strong concentration of umami, you will become a super strong umami chef!