Last week I started experimenting with homemade Umami Paste. Umami is known as the fifth flavor that the taste buds respond to, along with sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Umami is savory, silky and rich. It’s full of layers and notes. Umami is meaty. It’s earthy. It’s salty, but a little bit of it goes a long way. Umami is a Japanese word that, loosely translated, means delicious.
Umami-rich foods are those that contain glutamate: Soy sauce, Asian Fish Sauce, certain types of mushrooms, tomato paste, seaweed, anchovies, meats, black olives, miso, chicken and duck. It’s the reason so many processed foods and so many restaurants add MSG to food, but this is a more healthy, natural way of enhancing flavors!
There’s a popular Umami Paste in stores and on Amazon but I don’t buy it because it’s kind of pricey and I have no idea what’s in it. Whatever it is, I’m not spending $7.00 on a 2 ounce tube!
This Umami Paste costs much less than that to make. Some people refer to it as Umami Sauce. You can use it as a sauce or a paste; one reader told me she spreads it on an English Muffin!
I made it in a Mini Food processor but you could also use a full-sized one, either one will work. You can find good deals on both sizes on Amazon right now. Here are some of my favorite kitchen tools:
How to Make Homemade Umami Paste: I decided to try making it myself and I’m now on about my fifth batch!
My Homemade Umami Paste is a combination of tomato paste, parmesan cheese, shitake mushrooms, soy sauce and a few other ingredients. Homemade Umami Sauce is highly concentrated. You can combine a tablespoon of it with butter or olive oil for a savory pasta sauce. Or spread it thinly on crackers or crustini.
What Can You Make With Homemade Umami Paste?
Brush Umami Paste on chicken, shrimp or steak. Add it to soups, stews, gravies and sauces. Use Umami paste as a condiment with scrambled eggs. Pair it with sour cream or cream cheese for a dip or spread. Add it to a marinade. Spread it on burgers! It’s like velvet for your tongue. I keep it in a jar in the fridge and I admit it, I often sneak a quick Umami fix just by sticking a spoon in the jar. I also spice it up sometimes with extra Sriracha Sauce.
Can You Freeze Umami Paste?
My Umami Paste will keep for a few weeks in the fridge but it never lasts that long in my house! You can also put it in ice cube trays and freeze it for months and months. And please, don’t freak out about Anchovy Paste as an ingredient. It’s much more subtle than the actual fish. You’ve probably eaten it a million times in Caesar Salad and not even realized it!
I’d love to hear how you liked this recipe, how you changed up the Homemade Umami Paste ingredients and what you used your Homemade Umami Paste for!
Homemade Umami Paste
Make this highly concentrated, savory paste to use with pasta, in sauces, as a condiment, dip, marinade ingredient, basting sauce or as a "secret sauce" ingredient in soups, stews, chilis and gravies.
1 Tablespoon Anchovy Paste
1 Tablespoon Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoons Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Asian Fish Sauce
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
3 or four Shitake Mushrooms, chopped finely
1/2 Teaspoon Red Miso Paste (skip this if you don’t have any on hand)
1/2 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
A pinch of crushed red pepper or a little squirt of Sriracha Sauce
- Combine all ingredients in a mini food processor.
- Process until well blended and smooth.
- Taste and adjust ingredients if desired.
- Store in a jar in the refrigerator.