This is a sponsored post with Ajinomoto . As always, opinions and recipes are my own.
If you have been to my cooking classes, you have likely heard me talk about MSG, monosodium glutamate, and how much I love using it in my daily cooking. There are so many misperceptions on MSG and I really want to do my part to educate everyone on the truth about MSG.
How Did MSG Get Such A Bad Rep?
So let’s go back to the 1960s where it all started when a letter was written to the New England Journal of Medicine and the term “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” was coined. In the letter, the author reported feelings of weakness, flushing, and other symptoms after eating at a Chinese restaurant, and noted that it could have been caused by a few different ingredients in the food – including MSG. MSG was latched onto as the cause, and this led to many people believing that consuming MSG can make you ill.
There has been a lot of research done after the letter was submitted that proves MSG’s safety. However, the damage was done already and it was really hard for MSG to be accepted. Many Chinese restaurants have a sign that says “No MSG added” which continually made the perception of MSG negative.
Did You Know MSG Naturally Occurs In Some Of Your Favourite Foods?
What most people do not know is that MSG is a naturally occurring component of many foods we love like Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, and even breast milk. Also, many snack items like flavoured chips have MSG in them. And interestingly, your body doesn’t differentiate between naturally occurring MSG and MSG that is added to foods. It’s all digested the same exact way.
So, What Exactly Is MSG?
Monosodium glutamate broken down is sodium and glutamate. Glutamate is the most abundant amino acid in nature and is present in our bodies and in many foods and food additives. In 1908, Japanese scientist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda noticed that using kombu (also known as seaweed) created a well-rounded, balanced flavour that was satisfying and unique from the other four basic tastes (sweet, sour, bitter and salty). He wanted to recreate the savoury taste which is in many Japanese dishes and was the first to attribute glutamate to the taste of umami.
Umami? How Does MSG Work In Dishes?
Most often you will hear that MSG enhances the flavours of whatever dish you add it in. Umami creates a distinct savoury taste that is commonly found in soups, stocks, and meats. Adding MSG or having naturally occurring MSG helps delivers that delicious umami taste. Think adding Parmesan cheese to your finished pasta dish and how it just elevates it and creates such a balance of taste!
How Do I Use MSG?
Approximately one-half (0.5) teaspoon of MSG is an effective amount to enhance the flavor of a pound of meat or four-to-six servings of vegetables, casseroles, or soup. As a general rule: one-part MSG to one-part table salt gives foods a flavor boost while decreasing sodium. And because MSG has 2/3 less sodium than table salt, it can even be used to reduce the sodium in dishes. For people who wish to reduce sodium in their meals, substituting half of the table salt with MSG can enhance the savory flavor of many dishes while reducing the sodium content by about 40% – and let me tell you, it really works! This Easy Holiday Roast Beef Recipe is even better with MSG. Let me show you how!
Easy Roast Beef with Potatoes
- 2 lb Beef Round
- 1 head Garlic, Peeled and Roughly Diced
- 3 Large Carrots, Roughly Chopped
- 1 lb Potatoes You can use small potatoes or larger ones cut into smaller pieces
- 1 Medium Purple Onion, Roughly Chopped
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Black Pepper, Cracked
- 1 tsp MSG MSG can be purchased as Ajinomoto in many specialty Asian stores or as Ac’cent in major grocery retailers.
- 3 springs Fresh Rosemary
- 3 springs Fresh Thyme
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- In a cast iron pan heated medium, add half of the olive oil and half the garlic into pan
- Add salt, pepper, and MSG to each side of the beef round
- Once pan is hot, sear each side of the beef round until a golden brown colour forms
- Add carrots, potatoes, onions, herbs and the rest of the olive oil in the pan around the beef
- Cook in oven for about 1 hour. This will cook the roast to medium. (Please note that depending on how thick your beef round is, you may need to cook it more or less)
- Remove from the oven and cover with tin foil and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Normally you would have to add much more salt for this beef roast to be tasty, but with an addition of MSG, it transforms this recipe completely. And using less salt is a great thing for your health.
Have you tried using MSG in your cooking before? Comment below and let me know! I would love to see how you have used MSG in your cooking!
For more information on MSG and recipe ideas, check out WhyUseMsg.com!