Experience Umami “The Fifth Taste” with this Ratatouille Recipe

How Humans Experience Taste

If I asked you to name a food you’ve had that fits into each of the categories of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, you could do it with ease. But what about umami? (ewww-mom-e)

Umami is the least known taste in our culture and satisfies the heading of savory flavors. Asian countries celebrate this wonderful flavor with fermented beans and grains, as well as shiitake mushrooms. The most common umami product is soy sauce, a fermented condiment. Glutamate (an amino acid) is responsible for the unique umami taste.

You’ve probably had umami before, perhaps without realizing it. Examples include meat like ham, fish, and some vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. Although your first experience may have come very early – it’s in breastmilk! We’re born to love umamai.

Umamai Lovin’ Ratatouille

Why not share the ‘ummami’ flavor with the family? This recipe for Ratatouille from UmamiInfo.com, is abundant in seasonal vegetables like tomatoes, egg plant (which can be swapped out for zucchini), and peppers.


“This healthy dish makes the most of an array of colourful vegetables. The tomatoes are bursting with natural umami flavour, and because it can be enjoyed cold, it is the perfect dish for a summer garden party!”

Serve 4


  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 aubergines/eggplants
  • 4 courgettes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 red chillies
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh basil or parsley to taste
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil


Cut the vegetables into fairly large bite-sized chunks. Crush the garlic with the flat blade of a knife.

Heat some olive oil in a deep saucepan, and add the crushed garlic, chillies, bay leaves and chopped vegetables. Stir, and when everything has been coated in oil, put the lid on and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, until the courgette has softened.

Add the salt, pepper and basil or parsley. If there seems to be too much liquid in the pan, decant it to another pan and boil to reduce it before returning it to the vegetables.

Arrange the mixture on plates, and add salt to taste.

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