Since the seal was broken earlier this month, my xmas gift of Taste No 5 Umami Paste has been sparingly used. For those of you who don’t know, umami is the 5th taste after gluttony, lust, greed and sloth.
It’s comparable to savouriness/meatiness/moreishness and it was discovered in Japan. The taste is abundant in black cod and miso soup, but it is also in parmesan cheese and marmite.
Wine-wise umami comes up enough to be noticed. I have found it in some Burgundies (those tarry, bacon fat ones) and a variety of meaty Italian wines.
So the paste, I’ve been using it as quick fix (as in drug fix not mend fix) in some pasta sauces as well as a last minute stock addition. It has also been sneakily squeezed into some other dishes that I wasn’t supposed to touch (i.e. everything that is lovingly made by my roomie).
But on one of the cold, winter days of yester week I decided to push the umami paste to its limit…that is by drinking it in a mug as a soup itself!
So started my odyssey in creating cup o’ umami and it began with hot water. My thought process was, if bovril and miso are umami, surely the umami paste would make a delicious cuppa?
By itself however, wasn’t that good, so I put in some Tabasco…
To no avail.
Then came the marmite…
Nope, didn’t help.
I then added some Asian (maybe Chinese?) stuff, I have no idea what it was but it was in the fridge, had cool Asian writing and a pic of a chilli pepper so deduced it was meant for my mug.
I’ll skip out the part where I held my nose and forced fed myself à la goose & foie gras style…but let’s just say it ended badly.
Moral of the story – umami paste ain’t meant for mugs.
Actually, the real moral of the story is to use umami paste sparingly. Umami has a lot of love to dish out and the slightest of tube squeeze goes a long way.
As mentioned above I add the stuff to my sauces, et cetera however if you would like to make a umamitastic dish I would suggest trying out Sig’s (of Scandilicious fame) canape – Yuzu and shiro miso sea bass ceviche with pickled ginger
She’s a bit of a umami groupie and has been following Umami since the early 80′s.
If you would like to purchase Taste No5 it is available at Selfridge’s for a few quid.
Good luck! And please don’t do like me.