Umami salt (kombu salt and matcha salt)
Have you ever tried tempura with salt instead of tempura dipping sauce? Many nice Japanese restaurants serve tempura with both sauce and salt. It seems some people prefer salt to the dipping sauce. I love both and choose either one depending on the ingredients of the tempura. The salt is called うまみ塩 (umami jio).
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT JAPANESE LANGUAGE
If you know Japanese kanji, you might think that the kanji “塩” should be read しお (shio). “うまみ(umami) 塩(jio)” is a compound word consisting of two words “うまみ(umami) and しお(shio)”. A voiced mark like this ゛is often added in the upper right corner of the first consonant of the second word of the compound like し (shi) → じ (ji) making it easier to pronounce and join the two words.
Anyway, 塩(shio) means “salt”. So I call it “Umami salt” in English.
Umami salt is flavored salt ground into fine powder. The powdered salt quickly melts in your mouth, and the saltiness doesn’t remain for a long time. After tasting the salt you can immediately enjoy the flavors of your dish.
Nowadays, many types of salts are available even in Japan. However, originally, Japan has only sea salt because Japanese land doesn’t have enough minerals to gain salt from rocks or lakes. There are many refined salts in the market but I prefer natural sea salt called “あら塩(ara jio)”. It’s a little bit difficult to handle because natural sea salt is moist and easily becomes lumps, but it’s more flavorful and has more minerals than refined salts.
There are several flavors of Umami salts. To make the salts, Umami seasoning is usually added.
However, I like to use natural ingredients as much as possible for homemade cooking.
This time, I’m introducing kombu and matcha flavored salts, made from natural ingredients. These salts are usually used for deep-fried dishes, but of course, you can use them as you like.
For example, I like making Onigiri/rice balls with kombu salt. It allows me to make a mild salty Onigiri and I can feel subtle umami flavor in it.
It also goes well with vegetables.
Matcha salt is absolutely my favorite! You can enjoy the matcha flavor more than the saltiness. It also refreshes your mouth while eating deep-fried dishes.
I hope you’ll enjoy this new dietary experience!
Thank you for allowing me to share my recipe with you. I hope to see you again soon.
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