Recently, I’ve been playing around with KOMBU, a seaweed popular among chefs for creating a rich mouth feel or UMAMI in broths, bases or however you want to get creative. My favorite iteration is a KOMBU+CRAB broth I made simply by combining the two broths and adding SEA SALT. It tastes like the SEA in an oddly pleasant way. As I was playing with various flavors and methods, an idea arose. How can I isolate the UMAMI from the seaweed? Not an original idea (see “History of MSG” below) but original for me. As I scoured the internet searching for “How-to’s” on isolating the component that creates such a full and round mouth feel, GLUTAMATE, I came across some really cool resources.
Here is a link to a Fisheries and Aquaculture Department‘s very informative publication on various types and uses of SEAWEED.
and THICKENING AGENTS…
you know what I’m talking about.
The History of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG):
“Mr. Kikunae Ikeda isolated glutamic acid as a new taste substance in 1908 from the seaweed Laminaria japonica, kombu, by aqueous extraction and crystallization, and named its taste “umami”. He noticed that the Japanese broth of katsuobushi and kombu had a peculiar taste that had not been scientifically described at that time and was differed from sweet, salty, sour and bitter. To verify that ionized glutamate was responsible for umami taste, Professor Ikeda studied the taste properties of many glutamate salts such as calcium, potassium, ammonium, and magnesium glutamate. All salts elicited umami in addition to a certain metallic taste due to the other minerals. Among those salts, sodium glutamate was the most soluble and palatable, and crystallized easily. Professor Ikeda named this product monosodium glutamate and submitted a patent to produce MSG. Suzuki brothers started the commercial production of MSG in 1909 as AJI-NO-MOTO®, meaning the essence of taste in Japanese, the first time that monosodium glutamate was produced in the world.”
[Above: KOMBU, species name: LAMINARIA JAPONICA]