Quora: What Are Some Ways To Add Umami to Vegetarian Soups?
Huffington Post - about 4 years
This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Kat Tanaka Okopnik, Gastrotourist Expedition Leader and Marshmallow Maven of LaSoufflant.com
Oh, what a great question! Are you using tomato paste in addition to tomatoes? That was actually my first thought. My favorite non-meat umami sources are mushrooms and kombu (dried kelp). What you're looking for is foods high in glutamates. (Yes, the major component of the "evil" MSG - Mono Sodium Glutamate. MSG is a way of adding concentrated umami to your food.) The list includes (in addition to tomatoes) mushrooms, kombu, cabbage, spinach... I often forget how lovely leeks are as the base of a soup. Pasta and/or beans can add to the mouthfeel. My approach on any particular soup would depend greatly on what effect I wanted to approximate - a Japanese dashi, I'd be using a combination of shiitake and kombu; a beef stock, a mirepoix that's been carefully browned; a chicken stock, a less brown mirepoix. A touch of tumeri
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