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How to Use Umami in Latin Cooking (video)

umami in Latin cooking

Much has been said regarding the need to learn to season foods in a way that helps people eat healthy and appetizing foods. It is said that seasoning food is an art that is developed with much practice in the kitchen.

While the vast majority of people, including expert chefs and cooks, tend to flavor with salt, there are many ways to season with less salt and achieve a delicious flavor.

An excellent seasoning that we are familiar with is MSG (monosodium glutamate). Unfortunately, many people fear MSG because of the rumors / messages they have heard from friends and family. But I want to assure you that this excellent seasoning is safe, lower in sodium than salt and effective in the kitchen. In fact, it brings out the natural umami taste (or savory taste) in foods.

Next, I want to share ways to use umami in Latin cooking:

  1. MSG, which is simply a combination of the amino acid glutamate plus a small amount of sodium, makes a healthy and effective seasoning for daily use in kitchens. Also, it can help you consume less salt. MSG provides a lot of flavor and is two-thirds less sodium than table salt.
  2. MSG can be used in a wide variety of foods such as beef, chicken, pork, fish, vegetables, soups, stews, beans, rice, noodles, egg dishes, sauces, dressings, and many more.
  3. Monosodium glutamate can be added to food before or during cooking to create a smooth and robust flavor. Add it when you normally add salt, pepper, or any other seasoning.
  4. MSG harmonizes very well with salty and sour flavors, but does not contribute much to sweet or sour foods.
  5. About ½ teaspoon of MSG (monosodium glutamate) is effective in giving a better flavor to a pound of meat, 4 to 6 servings of vegetables, stews or soups.
  6. You can find MSG in the spice section of just about any grocery store.

Make MSG (umami seasoning) part of your kitchen, your family will thank you.

Garbanzo Stew

This tasty stew goes really well with rice.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Latina
Servings 4 about 1/2 cup each
Author Sylvia Klinger, DBA, MS, RD, LDN, CPT


  • 1 16 oz. can reduced sodium chick peas
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sofrito prepared
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon umami seasoning MSG
  • 1 medium potato peeled and cut in cubes


  1. In a medium saucepan, mix all the ingredients together and cook at low heat for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Serve with rice, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Paul Goyette.

For more information about the benefits of MSG, visit these pages:

Click here for the Spanish version of this blog.


La Dra. Sylvia Klinger es una experta en nutrición reconocida internacionalmente. Vive apasionada por ayudar a las personas a enamorarse del proceso de crear y disfrutar de comidas deliciosas y nutritivas. Como profesional en comunicaciones de alimentos y nutrición, la Dra. Klinger es una profesora de nutrición global, autora galardonada y fundadora de Hispanic Food Communications. Su origen hispano exalta su pasión por la nutrición, lo que la lleva a empoderar y alentar a los miembros de su comunidad a través de los alimentos que disfrutan en sus cocinas. Su última publicación, El Pequeño Libro Para Comer Saludable, se publicó en 2018 en español e inglés. Lea más sobre sus antecedentes en la página Acerca de. Nota: Los blogueros de MSGdish reciben una compensación por su tiempo escribiendo para MSGdish, pero sus declaraciones y opiniones son propias. Se han comprometido a escribir blogs con integridad, afirmando que la confianza de sus lectores y pares es de vital importancia para ellos.

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