what NOT to do with Taste No5 – Umami

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).

Taste No.5 Umami Paste

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.

Picante sauce isn't strictly umami but I couldn't find any Keyser Söze to add.

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.

I thought stirring with chopsticks would add to the experience, it didn't.

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.

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12 thoughts on “what NOT to do with Taste No5 – Umami

  1. ryan says:

    where does one buy Unami paste? and what exactly is it?

    • spiltwine says:

      The only place of I know is at Selfridges and it is a mixture of ….. seem to have thrown away that box….but it’s a blend of umami flavoured foods. I remember seeing anchovy and parmesan on the list, it might sound gross but when added to sauces and stuff it really add’s another dimension…maybe even a 5th, HA!

      Here’s a link to the press release, I found it when researching…

    • LMC says:

      It’s also available at Waitrose

  2. ha ha… Sounds unpleasant. Not sure I would have even thought to try putting something which has olives + anchovies in it into a mug with hot water, but there you go… 😉

    I’ve added the paste to meaty stews (rabbit, and venison), and it’s been great. Perhaps try something similar next time…?

  3. Sarah Canet says:


    I work with Laura Santtini, the creator of this umami paste (more formally known as Easy Tasty Magic’s Taste No. 5) and it was my press release that you happened upon. In addition to Selfridge’s Food Halls, the paste is going into Waitrose stores up and down the country from next week. Plus Selfridge’s are launching an e-commerce facility on their website and the whole ETM range is going to be included: http://www.selfridges.com

  4. goodshoeday says:

    Louis you is crazee crazee man. What were you thinking trying to make soup with it :S

  5. jj v says:


  6. Hilarious, Louis you made soup from the paste? Oi vey….

    The umami no.5 I find works really well with cheese either on a cracker with a slice or as part of a very gooey grilled cheese (or even Welsh Rarebit…nom nom) otherwise I found it useful for making a mediterranean stuffing along with sun-blush tomatoes, parsley, thyme and anchovies to stuff mackerel or other fish with before roasting. MsMarmitelover (another Umamilover) and I found this worked really well on her umami night.

    Incidentally, I’ve read that vintage champagne has umami qualities…whaddya reckon?

    Great post, we’ll have to get together for some umami feasting soon🙂

  7. charlie says:

    I quite like it out of the tube on my finger……

  8. idjit90 says:

    When I first heard about it (from a BBC blog), I thought it was a joke. Being Asian, I knew about MSG from childhood, and the thought a paste of made of it didn’t sound attractive. After all, what can be better than pure crystalline monosodium glutamate? Then I found out it’s actually a mash of other things that just happen to naturally contain the stuff. “Umami paste” sounds like “my favourite things in a tube”. Even I would have been tempted to turn it into cup-o-soup. Too bad it didn’t work.

    Here’s a better recipe: Knorr chicken cube + dash of lemon juice and pinch of hot chilli flakes. Wonderful when you’ve got a cold.

  9. Libis says:

    By surprise, I found it at HEB Central Market in San Antonio. Curious, I tasted a 1/2 t. or so and found it scrumptous. I understand the “savory-ness” and utilizing it to enhance dishes. Will give some tubes as gifts!

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