Umami Burger?By burrger • Apr 2nd, 2011 • Category: Burger Blog
A new sensation seems to be taking off with Umami experts taking burgers to the next level, and although no one could complain about their food tasting better will our taste buds be spoiled forever?
Umami is in the science department of the food world and touted as the fifth basic taste element after the original four; salty, sour, sweet and bitter, apparently Umami enhances all of these elements, thus creating an element combining all four factors to produce a characteristic of its own.
So what is Umami? And what does it have to do with our beloved hamburger?
Umami, put simply, is (gasp!) monosodium glutamate or lay terms, MSG. A few years ago MSG was put on a back burner because it was thought to cause health issues and has probably been given an unfair trial. Studies have concluded that some people may have “MSG symptom complex” and have adverse effects when eating foods containing MSG, but it is safe for most people and like anything that is good should be used in moderation and of course with the correct application.
Many foods are organically rich in umami, naturally occurring glutamates can be found in meats and vegetables for example: fish, shellfish, cured meats, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach etc. The first encounter we have with Umami surprisingly is, in breast milk. It contains roughly the same amount of umami as stocks and broths and I think this answers the ultimate question, why men are so fascinated with women’s breasts!
Back to our burger, a restaurant in Los Angeles serves a hamburger created with Umami rich elements. From the ketchup to the meat and including the bun, this chef has designed a “secret sauce” from his own homemade version of MSG and is taking LA by storm with a burger that delivers full, rich flavor that will have you coming back for more.
Umami has a mild after taste that is difficult to describe, it induces salivation and a ‘furriness’ sensation to the tongue and stimulates the throat and roof and back of the mouth, it stimulates the part of the brain that indicates pleasure. I already consider a hamburger as a pleasure to eat so what will I experience when I eat an Umami burger? Will I ever be able to eat any other type of burger?
When Food Turns to Art
Thankfully, Umami is a creation and science of flavors and tastes, and just like adding salt and pepper, it simply enhances the flavors of the food. Cooking with Umami is considered an art in Japan and is very complex and yet simple and is gaining popularity all over the world particularly among leading chefs and it is also influencing the basic fast foods like the hamburger.
There are many recipes you can make at home using Umami and these recipes and loads of information can be found all over the internet. Umami is like top of the line MSG, it is created to encourage natural flavors in foods already rich in Umami and though basic MSG is available in your local grocery store it is only the bottom layer of what Umami actually is.
Either way food is here to enjoy, and basically, if you throw a super delicious hamburger my way, I will eat it not matter what it has on it.