Umami Information Center


Ogiri, Daddawa, Iru and Its Rich"Umami"Taste The Heart of Our African Food Taste and Cuisine

October 2012

The first seminar featuring UMAMI in Nigeria was held on June 13th at Abuja Sheraton Hotels - Nigeria. About 150 participants, including several female groups wearing their traditional costume, gathered from all over the country.

After the opening prayers, Mr. Keiji Debari broke the ice with his opening address. Having prepared the workshop over the past several months, he was excited at the sense of opening.

The first lecturer, Dr. Prescott from Australia, talked about the
science of savory: umami taste & food preferences.
His lecture helped to deepen the audience's knowledge about
how we taste food and how important umami is in our diet.
He asked audience to have a gelly bean into a mouth with pinching nose by hands. When hands were lifted from a nose, every one realized how smell is important to recognize taste of foods. He also had a tasting of vegetable soups with and without MSG.

Dr. Eyassu Getachew Abegaz Head Department of Science & Technology, Botswana College of Agriculture, Gaboronne, Botswana presented his information on the safety of MSG.
His deep knowledge of and affection for African ingredients were shared with all participants.

In Prof. Sanni Abiodun-Micro-Biology Department, University of Ibadan-Nigeria he and Prof. Rosemary Isu- Dean Faculty of Science, University of Abuja-Nigeria explained umami taste in Negerian fermented foods.

Dr. Kumiko Ninomiya's presentation covered a wide range. She talked about how world-renown chefs are interested in umami and try to make the best use of it. Along with Dr. Prescott, she prepared fresh tomato and three different types of tomato paste. Participants enjoyed this part and the opportunity to really understand umami through their own palates.

During the lunch feast at Obudu Grill Restaurant, enjoying delicious and nutritious dishes, speakers and participants exchanged their opinions on umami in traditional Nigerian
condiments such as ogiri, daddawa and iru, which are the heart of their Nigerian food taste and cuisine.

The attendees really appreciated the umami concept as the fifth basic taste thanks to the tasting held by Dr. Prescott. In addition, it is very useful that they deepened their understanding of monosodium glutamate as a very safe food-seasoning product with its unique umami taste, which basically balances the taste of their foods and has the same characteristics as their traditional fermented condiments.

The event was broadcasted on the National Nigerian Television Network News at 9:00pm to the Nigerian people.

Tasting in the symposium

Vegetable bouillon/UIC recipe with and without MSG to compare shallow or watery taste of simple vegetable bouillon with 0.3% salt and the bouillon with 0.3% salt and 0.1% MSG. Pure umami by MSG gave the soup round out and deeper taste.

Fresh tomato for finding delicate, long lasting and mouth watering sensation of umami by glutamate in the tomato.

Tomato paste with and without fish broth. Since dried fish is often used in Nigerian stew, tomato paste with fish broth was good sample to realize that umami by glutamate in tomato paste is increased synergistically by inosinate in fish broth.

The last is the Italian type paste Red Pesto, a mixture of sundried tomato paste, basil, pecorino cheese, crashed cashew nuts, garlic and vegetable oil, which put on the cracker. Audience enjoyed crispy texture of cracker along with umami from tomato, cheese and smell of basil and garlic. The tasting gave the participants ideas on interaction among taste, smell and texture to make up the taste of foods.