Do you know what “Umami” is? In the beginning of the twentieth century, a Japanese chemist discovered the flavor and now it is widely known as a fifth taste, in addition to the sweet, salty, sour, and bitter flavors. You must have experienced it at least once in your life but might have not recognized what exactly umami tastes like, as the real flavor becomes hidden amongst the flavors in dishes. In this event, participants will learn from a scientific view of taste and also enjoy a key flavor of Japanese cuisine, Kombu Dashi (dried kelp soup stock), which holds a strong umami taste. Give it a try!
What you will be doing in this workshop:
- Learn about the five basic tastes, the relation between tastes and the representative chemicals that bring out the flavor in foods, which daily diets include umami components, and how to enhance the umami flavor.
- Experience comparison tasting tests of several kinds of Dashi, soup stock which is essential for Japanese cuisine, and learn about washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) to explore why Dashi is the key of Japanese cuisine.
Umami of Japanese cuisine, Dashi from Kombu
Kombu, a kind of seaweed, is well-known as an essential raw material for making a soup stock called Dashi for Japanese cuisine. That’s because Kombu is significantly rich in umami components, such as glutamate and the umami taste can be enhanced by 7 times with the other umami components from meat or fishes. This is called “umami synergy” and is used in a lot of cuisine around the world. Particularly in Japan, Dashi with its enhanced umami, is used for a numerous amount of dishes, including miso soup, nabe (Japanese style hot pot), simmered dishes, and more. Try tasting the enhanced flavor of umami in this event and enjoy several Dashi made from different kinds of Kombu!
Taste Comparing Tests
- Dashi from only Kombu
- Dashi from only dried bonito
- Dashi from Kombu and dried bonito (called “Awase Dashi”)
- Awase Dashi with salt
- Awase Dashi with miso
- Dashi from several kinds of Kombu
- Seasoned Dashi, “HONDASHI” (containing MSG)