Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Instant Umami—what's your secret sauce?


paulraphael
 Share

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

Lea & Perrins Original Worcestershire Sauce ingredients:

Distilled White Vinegar, Molasses, Sugar, Water, Salt, Onions, Anchovies, Garlic, Cloves, Tamarind Extract, Natural Flavorings, Chili Pepper Extract.

 

Except that isn't really the original. That is the L&P US version. The original British version still uses malt vinegar rather than distilled white vinegar. I believe Canada follows the British recipe (?).

 

L&P is also made in Guangdong, China but only lists "vinegar".

  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Canada did I think follow the British recipe (thank goodness) but not sure if they still do. I will have to check the label at the store next week to be able to tell you the ingredients. I could not bring myself to buy any when I saw the Heinz notation on the label. Luckily I have loads of the old stuff on hand (because I used to have a bad habit of buying a bottle at least every month for some unknown reason) and hope it stands the test of time because I may never be able to buy any again. Will have to learn to make my own I guess.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

Except that isn't really the original. That is the L&P US version. The original British version still uses malt vinegar rather than distilled white vinegar. I believe Canada follows the British recipe (?).

 

Well, of course it's not the alleged original recipe or the British version.

It's actually referred to here as "The Original Worcestershire Sauce" and the term 'original' is often used to differentiate it from other Lea & Perrins  Worcestershire products, a low-sodium version, a thick version, etc.

Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
  • Like 1

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think I have ever (in the past decade at least) seen a bottle of the US version that didn't have HFCS in it - never could bring myself to buy that stuff. The Canadian version to my knowledge doesn't have it and never did. I must have at least 10 bottles around the house .. some of them probably 10 years old (and all bought in Canada). I use it quite frequently but a bottle lasts forever since I don't use much at a time. I am now treating them like fine vintage wine - and hope they can store for many more years and get better as time goes on even. :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Deryn said:

I don't think I have ever (in the past decade at least) seen a bottle of the US version that didn't have HFCS

 

They ditched the HFCS five years ago and reverted back to sugar.

 

LP.png

  • Like 2

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

 

They ditched the HFCS five years ago and reverted back to sugar.

 

LP.png

 

Glad to hear that. They still won't win me over with the Heinz name on the label but at least they dumped the HFCS. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

image.jpeg

 

Note that it says prepared for Heinz Canada and then Product of England. 

  • Like 5

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

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favorite umami bomb is nutritional yeast. It has a mild cheesy note, and it's flavor is bearly notable in most preparation. That said, I do find the flavor pleasant in many dishes even when used in larger quantities. I buy the finely powdered version of it as it dissolves better. It's also rich in protein. 

  • Like 3

~ Shai N.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, Lea & Perrins (USA version) is the only readily available Worcestershire sauce, here, that's reasonably decent.

 

Some interesting reading: History of Worcestershire Sauce (1837-2012), by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi, 213 pages.

 

As to the pronunciation of Worcestershire; my father, who's quite a jokester/prankster, called it "What's this here?" sauce when we were children. :P

 

;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 3

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Better Than Bouillon Lobster base my all time favorite BTB, white miso, dried kelp I use to make primary dashi but I chop it up then into the food processor then into a coffee bean grinder. I end up with a fine powder which I sieve to remove any pieces of little rocks and yes pieces of plastic which at one time became attached to the kelp in the sea.

 Dried wild mushrooms. Dried bonito flakes. Anchovy paste. MSG used sparingly.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anna - I have absolutely no idea when the bottle of Worcestershire Sauce I just pulled from my cupboard was made because mine looks a lot like yours (probably after 2005. It just says Made in England but on scouring the label elsewhere I see that there is a small notation saying that it is prepared for Heinz. Ingredient list is essentially the same except the word (Fish) is not there after Anchovies, and it says Natural Flavourings rather than just Flavours.

 

Luckily, as far as I know, it still lasts indefinitely, open or closed, at room temperature, but despite my stance against Heinz I may have inadvertently bought a bottle after the sale but before a later label change.

 

However, in reading various sources including the one that DiggingDogFarm linked I see that there is a good chance that it contains HVP (to replace the soy that used to be in it). But, HVP IS soy unfortunately. That tricky little 'natural flavourings' notation covers too many sins these days. :( Good thing I use the stuff sparingly and am not allergic to soy as far as I am aware (just not a good idea medically to consume it though real 'naturally fermented' soy is better than HVP I believe) but if I were allergic, I would be livid if it caused a major reaction when it is impossible to even guess it contains a soy product unless one does a lot of research.

 

I wonder though if the bottles we get in Canada now are still aged in barrels (at least the pickled onions part) and if HVP is in the mix, at what point was it added. Mine still says proudly that it is Aged 18 Months on the front. Does yours still say that, Anna? If that disappears, they will definitely lose me.

 

Thanks everyone. I learned a lot about a product I always have in my house and have for 'forever' but didn't really think that much about before now - other than its taste and usage. I will be watching the bottles very closely in future as I do fear that the 'recipe' may change over time.

 

Somewhat getting off topic here ... my apologies to the OP and mods. Move if need be. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, Deryn said:

But, HVP IS soy unfortunately.

 

It may or may not be soy.

 

"The most commonly used sources of hydrolyzed vegetable protein are
soybeans, corn, and wheat. Animal hydrolyzed protein is sometimes
made from milk protein (casein) or from whey proteins derived from
cheese production."

Source: Umami, Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste,  by Ole G. Mouritsen and Klavs Styrbæk, page 169 (interesting book, by the way.)

 

Here in the USA, as per the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, foods containing the major allergens milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat or soy must be clearly labeled as such.

The only allergen noted on the label is fish (Anchovies.)

 

  • Like 1

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing that might be noted is that, at least here in the states, our food contains so much animal protein (in general) that we don't need umami to enrich a lot of stuff. A bowl of rice and vegetables would benefit more from fish sauce or soy than a bowl of Texas red, for example. The fish sauce or soy would fill that "gap" in the dish, making the flavor more rounded and hit more areas of the palate. "We" also use a lot more dairy in our cooking, where there isn't that tradition in Eastern food (and yes, obviously I'm generalizing)

 

But since so much of our "traditional" cooking is meat-centric, and indeed the way we eat is meat centric--things that bring umami aren't really the necessity that they might be in other, specifically Eastern, cuisines. 

 

It might go a small way to explain why there isn't a tradition of "umami" as a flavoring ingredient.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Qwerty said:

One thing that might be noted is that, at least here in the states, our food contains so much animal protein (in general) that we don't need umami to enrich a lot of stuff. A bowl of rice and vegetables would benefit more from fish sauce or soy than a bowl of Texas red, for example. The fish sauce or soy would fill that "gap" in the dish, making the flavor more rounded and hit more areas of the palate. "We" also use a lot more dairy in our cooking, where there isn't that tradition in Eastern food (and yes, obviously I'm generalizing)

 

But since so much of our "traditional" cooking is meat-centric, and indeed the way we eat is meat centric--things that bring umami aren't really the necessity that they might be in other, specifically Eastern, cuisines. 

 

It might go a small way to explain why there isn't a tradition of "umami" as a flavoring ingredient.

 

I agree somewhat.

 

I think, it may be even more basic, in terms of umami rich flavor enhancers made by humans, look at the cultures that have done a heck of a lot of fermenting for a heck of a long time, and, both lived close to the sea and cultivated crops high in glutimates, Japan, arguably, tops the list. The less the fermenting and access to umami-rich fermentables of a culture, the fewer the man made umami rich flavor enhancers.

Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
  • Like 2

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

It isn't a sauce, but the judicial use of star anise can do wonders for bringing out umami tastes. I regularly use it in ragu type sauces for pasta or chili.

Plus one for this.

 

Heston Blumenthal used star anise and fish sauce in his rendition of Spag Bol in "Search of Perfection". It really gives more depth to the dish. I frequently use oyster sauce in lieu of the fish sauce, especially in Shepards Pie ...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have:

3 kinds of Miso in the fridge

4 kinds of soy sauce in the fridge (Pearl River Bridge mushroom soy for general cooking, Kikkoman for Japanese foods.)

hoisin sauce

black bean sauce

Heinz ketchup

tomato paste

tomato powder

dry mushrooms

Parmesean cheese (actually use a south american knockoff that uses vegetarian rennet)

a few other aged cheeses

3 kinds of seaweed

 

(not sure if these really fit the category)

molasses

caramel sugar

sherry

bourbon

liquid smoke

roasted garlic

fried shallots

onion confit (I make it and freeze small amounts.)

tomato jam (I make it and freeze small amounts.)

beurre noisette (I make large quantities to have on hand.)

 

I can't stand nutritional yeast, and, am not fond of Worcestershire.

I'm probably forgetting something important....

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, liuzhou said:

It isn't a sauce, but the judicial use of star anise can do wonders for bringing out umami tastes. I regularly use it in ragu type sauces for pasta or chili.

 

2 hours ago, Duvel said:

Plus one for this.

 

Heston Blumenthal used star anise and fish sauce in his rendition of Spag Bol in "Search of Perfection". It really gives more depth to the dish. I frequently use oyster sauce in lieu of the fish sauce, especially in Shepards Pie ...

 

I am intrigued @liuzhouand @Duvel.

 

I like star anise, but it just tastes like licorice to me. I love it judiciously used with pork, for example. I also love cinnamon in some Greek savory meat and tomato sauce applications, but I don't see it as contributing to umami per se, but rather as a balancing agent.

 

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on why you think it brings out, and complements umami flavor. I perceive it as having no umami of its own at all.

  • Like 2

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, Thanks for the Crepes said:

 

 

I am intrigued @liuzhouand @Duvel.

 

I like star anise, but it just tastes like licorice to me. I love it judiciously used with pork, for example. I also love cinnamon in some Greek savory meat and tomato sauce applications, but I don't see it as contributing to umami per se, but rather as a balancing agent.

 

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on why you think it brings out, and complements umami flavor. I perceive it as having no umami of its own at all.

 

I'm not sure how to answer your question.

 

If you add too much star anise to a ragu, for example, yes, it will taste licoricey, but the "right amount" is not detectable separately yet it boosts umami. I'm far from being alone in thinking so. As @Duvel points out, Blumenthal agrees. As do many others.

 

My ragu sauces do not taste of licorice in the least, yet they for sure taste better with the star anise than without.

 

It is also used in Chinese cuisine in exactly the same way. Much of the umami richness of Chinese spare ribs, for example, comes from star anise in the 5-spice mix.

 

Here is a recipe for umami burgers. Spot the star anise. I haven't made this recipe, but I can see it working.

 

I also use it in Shepherd's Pie.

 

Incidentally, something like 90% of the world's star anise is grown right there in Guangxi, my part of China, so it is very cheap and very fresh.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...