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Monosodium Glutamate/MSG: The Topic


Fat Guy
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29 minutes ago, KennethT said:

Sorry - I wasn't clear.  I was saying that cookbooks in Asia (not written by western people) commonly have MSG as ingredients, but like you, I've never seen it used in a western cookbook - US or Europe.  so I wasn't surprised that you've never seen it if you don't have any cookbooks from Asia.


But is it really just the cookbooks that don't have any recipes with it, or is it the way the cuisines of those regions are actually prepared?

 

Certainly Ashkenazi "Jewish cooking" doesn't use it, because that might actually give the food some flavor.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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You know, since the stuff wasn't synthesized until the early 1900s, it obviously isn't included in the classical European canon in its synthesized form.

 

Nor in any Asian cuisines prepared as they were classically.

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15 minutes ago, weinoo said:


But is it really just the cookbooks that don't have any recipes with it, or is it the way the cuisines of those regions are actually prepared?

 

Certainly Ashkenazi "Jewish cooking" doesn't use it, because that might actually give the food some flavor.

That would make a lot of sense.  But even if it was only invented in the early 1900s, it has been widely adopted in Asia.  I've seen it widely used in every country I've visited.  Maybe not in "traditional" recipes that aren't common anymore, but certainly in what people eat every day.

 

As to why that didn't happen in Europe, I can't imagine.

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16 hours ago, KennethT said:

Yeah, the Knorr stuff is REALLY salty.  I much prefer the Lee Kum Kee Premium Boullion powder which is not very salty (it does have some salt and sugar) so it doesn't really factor into how much additional salt I add - or maybe it does and I factor it in with it subconsciously?

(Please tell me I haven't violated any copyrights by posting this article.  If I have done so, please remove my post and I shall resolve to never put my foot into it again.)

 

 

Here's an article from Cooks Illustrated regarding the usage (not that they are the be-all and end-all).

 

For Extra-Savory Dishes, Use Knorr Chicken Bouillon

A pinch of bouillon powder packs savory, meaty flavor into soups, sauces, and stir-fries.
staff_kelly_songBy Kelly SongPublished Mar. 14, 2023
 

CCO-WebAssets-Knorr

The iconic yellow and green packaging of Knorr-brand chicken bouillon is unmistakable in a well-stocked pantry. The golden powder is a blend of salty, umami flavors, with a hint of sweetness; just a pinch in soups, sauces, and stir-fries adds an intense hit of lip-smacking, meaty depth. In short, it’s the perfect all-purpose seasoning.

What Is Knorr Chicken Bouillon?

Most notably, Knorr chicken bouillon is a pantry staple in Latin American and Mexican kitchens, added to dishes such as Sopa Seca or arroz con pollo to boost color and flavor. It’s commonly used in lieu of store-bought stock and can be sprinkled straight into dishes with ease. While cubed bouillon is used in most parts of Latin America, the granulated version is most popular in Mexico (fondly referred to as “caldo con sabor de pollo,” with an iconic chicken logo on the jar). In the case of most recipes, however, the cubes can be crushed and used interchangeably with the granulated version. 

Among other shelf-stable ingredients, Knorr bouillon contains salt, dehydrated chicken fat and meat, onion powder, garlic powder, dried parsley, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is naturally occurring in umami-rich foods such as mushrooms and Parmesan cheese, and it lends the bouillon its signature flavor.

 

The Story Behind Knorr Chicken Bouillon

Despite its popularity in Latin cooking, Knorr is first and foremost a European brand, founded in Germany in 1838 as a chicory supplier for the coffee industry. The founder, Carl Heinrich Knorr, later began experimenting with dehydrating vegetables and seasonings, which led to the company’s first line of dried soups. These soups were launched across Europe in 1873, with the Knorr bouillon cube following suit in 1912.

The brand was first integrated into non-European kitchens by way of company consultants, or “flavor experts,” who were hired by Knorr to tailor the brand to different markets. Thanks to its low cost and ease of use, the bouillon caught on quickly. By the early 2000s, Knorr had expanded to nearly 90 countries. Today, Knorr sells 600 bouillon cubes per second globally. 

Edited by lindag (log)
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51 minutes ago, lindag said:

 

Maggi

 

 

I wondered why the link shows a yellow cap on the bottle and my bottle has a red cap. That led me down quite a rabbit hole. According to what I stumbled across the cap colour depends on the country of origin.  US (and other) consumers get a bottle with a yellow cap and Canadian (and other) consumers get a bottle with a red cap. But there seems to be other explanations also so I'm continuing down the rabbit hole. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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39 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I wondered why the link shows a yellow cap on the bottle and my bottle has a red cap. That led me down quite a rabbit hole. According to what I stumbled across the cap colour depends on the country of origin.  US (and other) consumers get a bottle with a yellow cap and Canadian (and other) consumers get a bottle with a red cap. But there seems to be other explanations also so I'm continuing down the rabbit hole. 

 

Mine's a red cap, too. Oddly, it's a bottle that I got from a German imports store in Vancouver that I've been refilling from a large bottle also with a red cap. My small bottle has a German label, no English.

 

Maggi's great in fried rice, use instead of soy sauce, especially if it's minimalist fried rice.

 

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Maggi seasoning is rather popular in Cantonese cooking, especially in Hong Kong. I've seen it here on the Chinese mainland, but I don't think it's particularly common. I doubt any of my friends use it.

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1 hour ago, lindag said:

 

 

 

(Please tell me I haven't violated any copyrights by posting this article.  If I have done so, please remove my post and I shall resolve to never put my foot into it again.)

 

 

Here's an article from Cooks Illustrated regarding the usage (not that they are the be-all and end-all).

 

For Extra-Savory Dishes, Use Knorr Chicken Bouillon

A pinch of bouillon powder packs savory, meaty flavor into soups, sauces, and stir-fries.
staff_kelly_songBy Kelly SongPublished Mar. 14, 2023
 

CCO-WebAssets-Knorr

The iconic yellow and green packaging of Knorr-brand chicken bouillon is unmistakable in a well-stocked pantry. The golden powder is a blend of salty, umami flavors, with a hint of sweetness; just a pinch in soups, sauces, and stir-fries adds an intense hit of lip-smacking, meaty depth. In short, it’s the perfect all-purpose seasoning.

What Is Knorr Chicken Bouillon?

Most notably, Knorr chicken bouillon is a pantry staple in Latin American and Mexican kitchens, added to dishes such as Sopa Seca or arroz con pollo to boost color and flavor. It’s commonly used in lieu of store-bought stock and can be sprinkled straight into dishes with ease. While cubed bouillon is used in most parts of Latin America, the granulated version is most popular in Mexico (fondly referred to as “caldo con sabor de pollo,” with an iconic chicken logo on the jar). In the case of most recipes, however, the cubes can be crushed and used interchangeably with the granulated version. 

Among other shelf-stable ingredients, Knorr bouillon contains salt, dehydrated chicken fat and meat, onion powder, garlic powder, dried parsley, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is naturally occurring in umami-rich foods such as mushrooms and Parmesan cheese, and it lends the bouillon its signature flavor.

 

The Story Behind Knorr Chicken Bouillon

Despite its popularity in Latin cooking, Knorr is first and foremost a European brand, founded in Germany in 1838 as a chicory supplier for the coffee industry. The founder, Carl Heinrich Knorr, later began experimenting with dehydrating vegetables and seasonings, which led to the company’s first line of dried soups. These soups were launched across Europe in 1873, with the Knorr bouillon cube following suit in 1912.

The brand was first integrated into non-European kitchens by way of company consultants, or “flavor experts,” who were hired by Knorr to tailor the brand to different markets. Thanks to its low cost and ease of use, the bouillon caught on quickly. By the early 2000s, Knorr had expanded to nearly 90 countries. Today, Knorr sells 600 bouillon cubes per second globally. 

 

 

I use Goya chicken bullion which is similarly MSG laden.

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8 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

Maggi seasoning is rather popular in Cantonese cooking, especially in Hong Kong. I've seen it here on the Chinese mainland, but I don't think it's particularly common. I doubt any of my friends use it.

Almost always on offer at banh mi places here.  There was a bottle in my childhood Wstern kitchen next to the Worch- might have been for some cocktail party foods. Mom entertained a lot.

Edited by heidih (log)
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They adjust the recipe a little to regional taste.

https://www.cooksinfo.com/maggi

 

I put a bottle on the table. Use it in many things, but sparingly, like sesame oil. Have had several versions, mostly red cap. Gonna check the Turkish supermarkets tomorrow (and get a bottle!). Look at it every time in Mexico. It's always next to "salsa Inglesa", which is actually Worcestershire sauce (probably).

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Goes particularly well with runny fried eggs. In Vietnam you can eat this simple breakfast of runny fried eggs, baguette and maggi sauce, and ground black pepper.

Edited by BonVivant (log)
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It's no unusual for me to  indulge in a steaming mug of Knorr chicken bouillon on a cold winter afternoon.  Despite my hypertension issues I find it quite comforting.

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10 hours ago, Duvel said:


You‘d think so, but no. I also keep wondering why I don’t premix, but the reality is that I always throw the mix together in situ. By „volume“ and measured by eye, which tells me that the rough ratios are fairly forgiving …

Well at least this morning I remembered and I did try. I posted on the breakfast thread and scrambled eggs and tomatoes both treated with salt, MSG and sugar. I was careful. Probably too careful as I didn't notice much difference in taste. Next time I will up the quantities. Thanks. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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I think the effect on acidic foods (e.g. tomatoes) is less pronounced, maybe because the MSG will be more in glutamic acid form, which is a weaker flavor enhancer. 
 

For the egg you should notice, but maybe you were really hungry. Hunger, in my humble experience, is the best flavor enhancer there is 🤗

 

 

 

Edited by Duvel (log)
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