I got some new samples from Nissin USA a few weeks ago (thank you!) of some varieties from Japan that are now available in the USA. At this piont, you can only get them on Amazon. Not sure if that will change though. So Umami. This is something interesting – first, let’s have a look at what wikipedia has to say about umami –
Umami was first scientifically identified in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda, a professor of the Tokyo Imperial University. He found that glutamate was responsible for the palatability of the broth from kombu seaweed. He noticed that the taste of kombudashi was distinct from sweet, sour, bitter and salty and named it umami.
Professor Shintaro Kodama, a disciple of Ikeda, discovered in 1913 that dried bonito flakes contained another umami substance. This was the ribonucleotide IMP. In 1957, Akira Kuninaka realized that the ribonucleotide GMP present in shiitake mushrooms also conferred the umami taste. One of Kuninaka’s most important discoveries was the synergistic effect between ribonucleotides and glutamate. When foods rich in glutamate are combined with ingredients that have ribonucleotides, the resulting taste intensity is higher than the individual ingredients.
This synergy of umami explains various classical food pairings, starting with why Japanese make dashi with kombu seaweed and dried bonito flakes, and continuing with various other dishes: the Chinese add Chinese leek andChinese cabbage to chicken soup, as in the similar Scottish dish of cock-a-leekie soup, and Italian-Americans combine Parmesan cheese on tomato sauce with mushrooms.
Umami basically means savory, but it is more than that. Glutamates naturally occur in many foods like meats – things high in protein. The concept of being satiated and ‘umami receptors’ in the body exists now. Umami led to the invention of monosodium glutamate as well! Now for miso – again to wikipedia:
Miso ramen is a relative newcomer, having reached national prominence around 1965. This uniquely Japanese ramen, which was developed in Hokkaido, features a broth that combines copious amounts of miso and is blended with oily chicken or fish broth – and sometimes with tonkotsu or lard – to create a thick, nutty, slightly sweet and very hearty soup. Miso ramen broth tends to have a robust, tangy flavor, so it stands up to a variety of flavorful toppings: spicy bean paste or tōbanjan (豆瓣醤), butter and corn, leeks, onions, bean sprouts, ground pork, cabbage, sesame seeds, white pepper, and chopped garlic are common. The noodles are typically thick, curly, and slightly chewy.
Got it? Alright – on with the show! Let’s check out Nissin Raoh!
Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge). Contains fish. To prepare, boil 2 cups of water and add noodles. Cook for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, put contents of sachet into a bowl. Add the water the noodles cooked in into the bowl and combine with the paste. Add in noodles. Enjoy!
The noodle block.
The soup base sachet. Notice the little homage to MagicCut – never have seen this before.
Has a rich miso scent.
Finished (click to enlarge). Added corn, kizami shoga, spring onion, Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts and chashu pork. The noodles are indeed quite nice. They have a good firmness and chew. The is really where it’s at though – a deep and rich miso flavor. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 070662500026.
A video I did about 3 years ago to celebrate the second Momofuku Ando Day on The Ramen Rater. This video shows preparation of a bowl of Nissin Raoh instant noodles.