The first Umami Symposium in Egypt -Collaboration with Cairo University-
- Date：October 12th, 2016 13:00 – 16:30
- Venue: Cairo University, Egypt
- Organizer: Cairo University
- Co-organizer: Ajinomoto Co., Inc.
- Reporter: Kumiko Ninomiya, Director, Umami Information Center (NPO)
The first umami symposium in Egypt was held at Cairo University on October 21st, 2016, receiving about 250 participants from the government and food industries of Egypt, including professors and students of food science and the food engineering field of leading universities in Egypt. Dr. Toshihide Nishimura, the vice-chairman of the Umami Information Center and professor of Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University, and Dr. Kumiko Ninomiya participated in the symposium as lecturers.
In Egypt, they often use tomatoes in various dishes. Koshari is one of the most popular dishes for common people. First, they mix rice, short pasta, macaroni and chickpeas and fry them, and then they top the dish with crispy fried sliced onions. They eat it with cut tomatoes or tomato sauce. It may as well be named Egypt's national dish. Sauce made of molokheiya and coriander, stewed okura, meat and tomatoes are also available for koshari. Bouillon is versatile for seasoning, and umami is indispensable for Egyptian dishes, although the word umami is not well known yet.
I gave the following explanation: Umami is not the main factor in the dish, and umami itself doesn't taste good. However umami spreads and deepens the tastes. Umami also helps to create tasty dishes with less salt. The Umami Information Center collaborated on analysis of free amino acids in various Egyptian ingredients. The results were introduced by Dr. Shahinaz of Dean of Food Science Faculty, Cairo University. He emphasized that umami is a popular taste for the Egyptian people. Professor Toshihide Nishimura from Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University explained the umami effect in chicken soup stock in which it intensifies the relationship with the aroma. The fact that glutamate, one of the umami substances, makes chicken flavor richer was new knowledge and had a big impact on participants.