First of all, what is umami, and why do we need Trader Joe’s Umami Seasoning?
Well, umami isn’t new. It’s a taste just like sweet, salty, sour, and bitter that has always been there, but we’ve only recently been talking about it. It’s a savoury kind of taste that has a thick feel. Can a taste have a feel? I say it can!
Think of that earthy taste and feel you get when you eat things like soup, stew, and a lot of Asian food. Trust me, you like it! It enhances the flavour in a similar way that salt does. Plus, it mimics MSG’s taste and feel without all the side effects that some people complain about.
Interested in knowing more? This article is an interesting read.
So, where can you use it?
At breakfast, you could mix a bit in your morning omelet, sprinkle some on your avocado toast, or add a dash to your hash browns.
In addition, you could sprinkle it on your roasted veggies before roasting them. Toss some umami seasoning into your mac and cheese. Add a bit to your mashed potatoes. Plus, any soup or stew can benefit from added umami powder. Finally, you have to try it in Doug’s French onion soup. It really ups the flavour!
Is it a salt replacement?
The answer to that is complicated. If you’re trying to reduce your salt intake, this umami seasoning might help you miss salt less. It has a way of enhancing the flavour of food as salt does, so give it a try. You could eliminate the salt in this recipe and have complete control over the amount of salt you use.
Can’t find white mushroom powder?
I couldn’t find white mushroom powder either. In fact, the only mushroom powder I could find was the porcini, and I had to go to a specialty spice store for that. The porcini is a must, and it’s the base of every umami seasoning recipe.
Trader Joe uses the white mushroom powder, but when you can’t find it, you improvise.
You can find dried mushrooms almost anywhere. Portobello would be the best option and most similar to the white mushroom. It has a nice neutral flavour.
However, don’t lose sleep over this. You can use any mushroom! I bet that giant jar of gourmet wild mushrooms would be just fine!
There is just one extra step if you have to use dried mushrooms. You have to grind them into a powder. I have a Blendtec, so it’s a breeze. But if you don’t have one, you can use a coffee grinder or even go old school with a mortar and pestle. Ugh! I can’t say mortar and pestle without craving my guacamole made in the molcajete that I bought in Mexico! I know what recipe I have to work on next!
Back to the topic on hand!
Finding the mushrooms will be the most challenging part of this recipe. Once you’ve got them and have magically turned them into a powder, you’re going to simply toss the rest of the ingredients in a jar and start sprinkling on your favourite dishes!
Oh, one more thing. At times, I grind up the crushed red chilli flakes with the mushrooms. It makes it a nice uniform powder instead of seeing the chilli. It’s an optional step.
How much should you use?
Think of it like salt. Start with a small amount and build on it. But if you take a recipe like Doug’s French onion soup, it calls for 1 teaspoon. So while you get the hang of this magic mushroom powder, start with 1 teaspoon in a soup or stew. Perhaps ½ teaspoon for veggies or whatever else you want to try it on.
Time to gather your ingredients.
- 3 teaspoons porcini mushroom powder
- 2 teaspoons white mushroom powder (or another mushroom powder)
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon each- crushed red chilli flakes, mustard powder, salt
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon pepper
Combine all the ingredients in an airtight spice jar and shake to combine.
Now start experimenting! Use it anytime you might want to take the flavour of a dish to the next level.