Umami—also known as the “fifth taste”—is utilized in dishes with many ingredients, one of which might include kombu, an edible sea kelp which contains marine proteins. Marine proteins are known for their array of health benefits including prolonged satiety and muscle recovery.
As food manufacturers continue to explore with more complex flavor profiles, including heat, kombu adds a savory taste in soups, stews, sauces or dried and sprinkled over food, while providing health benefits for consumers.
To get the most flavor out of the ingredient, it is best soaked in water overnight before adding to the rest of the wet ingredients.
Packs of kombu are sold with multiple strips, which are convenient to utilize in soups or stews. One small piece is enough to add to a batch.
The ingredient can be found at a local Asian grocery store, online or sometimes even in the Asian section of a local supermarket. It is best stored in an airtight container away from sunlight and moisture.