Umami Recipe

Emily Reed shares with us a bit of the healing alchemy of Ayurvedic cooking and a special Umami recipe.

This summer I spent a wonderful 12 days in the glorious, green, rolling hills outside Salzburg. For the first 5 days I was sous chef to a gifted friend and Ayurvedic cook Daniel Wolf. We cooked for 25 people on a yoga and meditation retreat preparing fresh, seasonal foods all organic, home or locally grown.

In 2006 I had my first experience of Ayurveda in Kerala, India. Since then I have been fascinated with the science and in more recent years curious to learn more about the healing alchemy of Ayurvedic cooking. I was able to gather some wondrous tips from Daniela (who has studied Ayurveda and Ayurvedic cooking for the last 20 years). Over the 5 days she shared so many things from healing spice mixes to the ritual preparation of fresh foods that are all designed to bring homeostasis to the body and mind.

Here with one of the oh so delicious recipes for you. Its one that can be enjoyed by all.

Umami Crumble Special

What is umami? The umami taste is one of the 7 tastes used in Ayurveda to create a balanced, healthy, digestion and body. It;s rich and provides flavor and body to dishes. It has a salty taste and is often used to add a sparkle to vegetarian dishes.

Some non-Ayurvedic examples of umami foods are: soy sauce, tamari, mushrooms, cheeses, nutritional yeast, meats, seafood, smoked foods, cured foods, fish sauce, and shrimp paste. In traditional Ayurveda the above foods are either not recommended or are seldom eaten.

This special umami crumble is a wonderful balancing way to create that body you might want in any dish. The unique umami taste is created by infusing herbs and spices in the mixture.

We enjoyed these magic sprinkles on vegetables, dal and saffron rice. It’s also a fabulous, more-ish garnish for soups, dips, grain/pasta dishes etc.

Here’s how:

  • Heat extra virgin organic olive oil in a pan

  • Add handful of pine nuts/sunflower seeds/sesame seeds/pumpkin seeds toast. Toasting the seeds letting them go light brown is part of creating the umami taste. It’s important to keep stirring so they don’t go too dark.

  • Add fresh finely chopped parsley. Continue to stir.

  • Add gluten-free breadcrumbs into the mix and stir. You can buy these from a baker (which is best) or used dried gluten-free bread and magimix it!

  • Keep stirring!

  • Add the key spice: organic ras el hanout (buy it from any spice shop/Wholefoods). It has cinnamon, turmeric, paprika (sweet and spicy).

  • Add rock salt to taste (umami has a salty taste so you can use liberally).

  • Keep stirring!

  • Then when all breadcrumbs are coated and mixed with herbs and spices, leave the mixture to cool. Once cooled it becomes crunchy and tastes delicious!

  • Store in a jar and keep for up to 1 week to add sprinkles of fun to your meals!

Emily Reed