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Adam Fleischman invented the Umami burger in 2009 after figuring out that one of the main tastes that diners love in burgers and pizza is umami, the fifth taste popular in Japanese cuisine. In order to play up that flavor in the Umami Burger, toppings like an aged Parmesan crisp, oven-roasted tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms (naturally high in umami), and caramelized onions accentuate the taste, while a Portuguese bun holds it all together while adding texture.
The burger patty is seasoned with Fleischman's Umami "Master" Sauce, which includes seaweed, tamari, and miso, and his Umami "Dust," a secret mixture that includes konbu and dried mushrooms, as well as some salt and pepper. To bring it altogether, Umami ketchup kicks up the flavor with added fish sauce and mushrooms. The combination of all of the ingredients creates a hint of Japanese cuisine that’s thrown into a classical American burger.
Click here to see How to Make 5 Trendy Burgers at Home
- One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 Cup cider vinegar
- 1/3 Cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 Teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 Teaspoons tamari
- 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 salted anchovies
How to add umami to your cooking to make it memorable
Ever feel your cooking is too bland? Want to give your dishes the X factor? Yearning to add a meaty taste to your vegetarian dishes? Learn what umami is and how you can add complexity to your cooking with a few tricks.
The umami burger recipe
Mix the beef mince and bresaola in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Form a patty no more than an inch thick and refrigerate for 20min &ndash this helps the burger keep its form and forces the fats to meld together, intensifying your hit of umami.
Spread butter onto your burger bun and brown each side in a pan (the same one to cook your burger).
Grill your patty's in the pan for 4min on each side. Then simply add it to your bun with cheese, lettuce and sauces (we suggest a mix of mustard, mayo, ketchup and hot sauce). Research suggests umami lowers a predilection for salt too, making this option all the more virtuous. Stack your burger high instead of that pile of work on your desk.
Some varieties and brands of sun-dried tomatoes can be very tough and hard, and others quite soft. If the ones you have are soft, go ahead and add them straight — but if they are very hard, it is useful to soak them in boiling water for a few minutes to soften (be sure to fully drain and pat dry before adding to the processor).
I prefer the texture of white quinoa, so that’s what I keep on hand.
It’s useful to batch-cook grains, cooking more than you need at any given time and keeping the extra in the fridge. If you have another cooked grain on hand like rice or millet, you can substitute it for the quinoa.
If you don’t have time to refrigerate the mixture, simply skip it and shape the mixture to bake. A short chill-time helps the burger mix to set. You can even make these ahead of time, chilling for several hours or overnight. If you want to freeze some burgers, do not pre-cook. Instead, shape into patties and place in an airtight container, separated with slips of parchment paper. Place in the freezer for later use. To cook, let thaw at least partially before cooking.
If you prefer to bake in the oven, place burgers on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes on each side. Pan-frying will give a better texture on the outside, however burgers will still be outstandingly delicious if baked!
These are incredible served with your favorite fixings on a whole-grain burger bun or in a whole-grain tortilla. Fixings to consider: natural organic ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, sliced onions… and for some more uncommon fixings: a slice of avocado, a dollop of a natural BBQ sauce, sauerkraut, slices of roasted bell peppers, salsa, hummus!
Ditch the bun and serve these burgers in a lettuce or collard leaf wrap. Or, crumble them on pasta with marinara or a big salad bowl.
Leftovers can be mashed or crumbled into a sandwich filling for lunches.
Umami Ketchup is savory, slightly sweet with the perfect balance of tomato, vinegar and salt. After one taste, you’ll understand why we think it’s the best thing to happen to ketchup since fries, it is absolutely the “Best Ketchup Ever”!
- 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
- 3 tbsp . extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp . tomato paste
- 1 tsp . kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tsp . Tamari
- 2 tsp . Worcestershire
- 2 tsp . oyster sauce
- 5 anchovies, finely chopped and mashed into a paste
- Purée tomatoes in a blender set aside. Heat oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat.
- Add onions cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomato purée, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, and salt cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 1 hour.
- Purée cooked tomato mixture in a blender. Transfer to a bowl season with salt and stir in remaining ingredients.
- Cover and chill before using. If using for a party, it’s nice to serve in individual portions.
Umami or savory taste, is one of the five basic tastes (together with sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness).
The Best Burger Umami Classic - Copycat Burger Recipe
I lived in California for 5 years and discovered so many amazing foods. One of my favorite notable foods, that I dearly miss, is the exciting and unique Umami Burger. If you happen to live in California and haven't heard or tried this burger do your self a favor and head over there now, or at least after you finish reading this. UmamiBurger.com. This burger does not exist anywhere else. It's truly one of a kind. Umami is a Japanese word for the 5th sense and sometimes explained as savory. You are most familiar with the 4 normal taste senses, sweet, salty, bitter and sour.
How would I describe the flavor? Specifically the "Umami Classic" burger is my favorite and what I always get. Their ketchup is not your traditional Heinz ketchup. It has a sweet and savory ketchup and is ultra addicting. It has a parmesan crisp instead of melted cheese, sautéd dried tomatoes, shitaki mushroom tops, caramelized onions, a healthy tender beef patty on a soft potato type bun. When you take a bite of this hamburger it is soft, velvety and melts in your mouth.
I can no longer get this burger since I live in Texas and crave it from time to time. I decided to search to see what it would take to make this burger and found Balistic BBQ on youtube who has done a great job recreating it. I can't make this burger exactly but it does help the cravings. If I'm ever in CA, I try my best to get over to Umami Burger.
Gastronaut: Umami Burger & Smashed Burger
For superjuicy burgers with a delicious sear, pros like Umami Burger's Adam Fleischman know a griddle beats a grill.
While burger experts debate everything from meat blends to beef-to-bun ratio, there&aposs a growing consensus that the best cooking tool isn&apost a grill—it&aposs a griddle. "You get a more even sear, and the fat bastes the burger instead of dripping through the grate," explains Adam Fleischman. He&aposs the founder of Umami Burger, a Los Angeles chain that looks beyond ketchup and mustard to other flavor boosters, like "umami dust," a savory mix that includes ground kombu (a type of seaweed) and dried shiitake mushrooms.
To demonstrate the griddle&aposs superiority, Fleischman shares two of his best burger recipes here. One is a classic eight-ounce patty topped with Stilton cheese and a port reduction the other is a "smashed" burger, an old-school style that involves flattening a ball of ground meat on the griddle, then cooking it with onions and cheese. For the best results, Fleischman suggests cooking burgers on a griddle that&aposs set atop a grill: "You get that smoky flavor, without losing the juices and the crisp sear."
May 3 The Ultimate Vegetarian Umami Burger
Folks, I’ve finally done it…I’ve created the ULTIMATE VEGGIE BURGER packed with TONS of flavor and umami goodness! When these were complete, I felt like Dr. Frankenstein in his lab, staring awestruck at his glorious creation (a bit dramatic, but on point).
Here’s the deal with many vegetarian burgers: they’re bland, they lack texture, they fall apart and they’re incapable of achieving a really great sear. But with these Ultimate Vegetarian Umami Burgers, I’ve remedied ALL of those pain points.
What makes a dish an umami bomb? It’s savory. It has a deep, strong flavor that’s neither sweet nor sour nor salty nor bitter. It’s bold, intense, fantastic and makes you want to keep going back for more. Usually, it elicits some sort of exclamation, like, “damn, that’s good” from the eater. It’s the best sort of food there is.
This Ultimate Vegetarian Umami Burger takes several already umami-packed ingredients — portobello mushrooms, nutritional yeast, soy sauce and caramelized onions — and combines them into one glorious creation. The pièce de résistance is Trader Joe’s Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning, a beautiful blend of ingredients like porcini mushroom powder, white button mushroom powder, ground mustard seed and dried thyme. Plus, the addition of the ground fennel makes the patties absolutely sing.
Enjoy these burgers, people. Savor them like there’s no tomorrow. Bask in their incredible crunch, texture and flavor — and share them with your friends, especially the ones which don’t believe vegetarian burgers can be truly amazing.
Spicy Umami Ketchup Recipe
I’ve been on a condiment jag lately, if you haven’t noticed. With Labor Day weekend coming up, I’ve been dreaming of the summer’s last official barbecue – hamburgers. I love hamburgers and when we were kids, my mom would sometimes fry up burgers in a cast iron skillet and we’d gobble them up on Sunday mornings after church. To me, homemade burgers were nearly as good as homemade beef pho noodle soup. It’s no coincidence that both are ‘have it your way’ kinds of foods.
Like Vietnamese pho and banh mi sandwiches, I like to personalize my hamburgers, dressing it with carefully layered accoutrements before taking my first bite. On the bottom half of the bun, lots of rich mayonnaise touching both sides of the sliced tomato. On the top half of the bun, the tomato ketchup should flavor the meat, onion and cheese with its tangy, salty, heady edge. Ketchup punctuates a hamburger with brightness.
I’ve tackled homemade mayonnaise, Vietnamese chile garlic sauce, and Thai-style Sriracha sauce but I didn’t think of making ketchup myself until I noticed Saveur magazine's umami ketchup recipe in the September 2009 issue. The fanciful ketchup recipe comes from the popular Umami Burger restaurant in Los Angeles. What made it umami? For one, ripe tomatoes are extremely umami laden, and the restaurant includes oyster sauce, tamari, Worcestershire sauce, and anchovies for extra savory depth. The use of salty, briny ingredients in the recipe reminded me of traditional Vietnamese tomato sauces employed to nap fried whole fish, tofu and the like. In fact, in Rick Stein’s travel show on Vietnam, he makes that kind of sauce, seasoning it with fish sauce for savoriness. Stein uses fish sauce just like a Vietnamese cook would. Ketchup’s East-West connection got me to thinking and researching.
Ketchup’s Asian Roots
According to one of my go-to reference books The Oxford Companion to Food, western ketchup borrows its name from the Amoy Chinese (Hokkien/Fujian) term ketsiap, which means fermented fish sauce and is related to the Malay term kechap (now written as kecap as in delectable kecap manis sweet soy sauce). The word and sauce was transported to Europe by Dutch trader, and over time, the original Asian condiment became transformed into many kinds of ketchup (I’ve seen mushroom and walnut versions mentioned), but the tomato version we know today reigns supreme.
The notion of having umami savoriness was central to the original version of ketchup and modern renditions such as that from Umami Burger uphold that concept. I made a batch of the Umami ketchup from Saveur and it was good but tasted like Vietnamese tomato sauces I grew up with. It may be something new for many people but it was not attention getting as ketchup. It didn’t make me want to eat more of it like I would something filled with umami or MSG. (See the post on MSG, fake MSG,and umami.) It wasn’t addictively delicious.
So what if I were to try to take ketchup back a little closer to its Asian roots? I thought of Cholimex, a mildly sweet version of Sriracha chile sauce that’s made in Vietnam. Cholimex tuong ot (chile sauce) lists tomato as the first ingredient. But there was no fish sauce. Chef Robert Danhi, author of Southeast Asian Flavors, says that he knows Southeast Asian cooks who put fish sauce in their Sriracha sauce. So what if I riffed on those cooks to create a thick, tomatoey ketchup with Southeast Asian overtones?
The spicy ketchup recipe below is what I developed. It is ummmm good with the mellow sweetness of sautéed shallots and palm sugar, heat of fresh chiles, and savory depth of fish sauce and this stealth ingredient: fermented shrimp sauce (mam tom). If you don’t have the fine shrimp sauce (buy it at Asian markets) use Malay and Indonesia belancan (blanchan) or use extra fish sauce and salt. I just posted details on shrimp sauce (mam tom) to encourage you to use it. My husband and I have been eating spoonfuls of this ketchup.
Spicy Umami Ketchup
For the canned tomato, use a brand that actually tastes like ripe tomatoes, such as Muir Glen organic. If you use peeled canned tomatoes, puree it first in a blender and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to thicken. Ripe fresh tomato can be used too with the paste but it may not have the same thickness. Homemade ketchup is lighter in color (think brick red instead of deep red) than store bought ketchup because the sautéed shallot lightens the results. Commercial ketchup often employs onion powder.
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 pound shallots, chopped
2 large moderately hot chiles, such as Fresno
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon light (regular) soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons fine shrimp sauce (start with lesser amount if you're new to this condiment)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 (28 ounce) can ground peeled tomatoes (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
3 1/2 ounces palm sugar, chopped, or light brown sugar
1. Heat the oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the chiles and cook for another minute, until slightly soft and aromatic. Add the fish sauce, both kinds of soy sauce, shrimp sauce, and salt. Let things bubble for 1 to 2 minutes to concentrate the flavor.
2. Add the tomato, vinegar, and sugar. Simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and has reduced by nearly half. Remove from the heat and cool for 20 minutes.
3. Puree in a blender until smooth. Taste and adjust the flavor as needed. Transfer to a jar and set aside, uncovered, to cool to room temperature. Cap and chill before using. You can probably store for up 2 months in the refrigerator.
To Assemble and Serve:
1 ½ pounds assorted cuts of well-marbled beef (short rib, flap, skirt, brisket or hanger)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
4 soft buns (potato or Portuguese), halved
For the Umami Seasonings:
Combine the anchovies with the remaining ingredients to taste. Blend in a mortar and pestle or, for larger quantities in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
For the Umami Ketchup:
Purée the tomatoes with the juice from can in a blender until smooth. Cook the onion in oil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, and salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 1 hour. Purée the ketchup in a blender until smooth. Chill, covered, overnight for flavors to develop. Then add the umami seasonings to taste and chill the ketchup until needed.
For the Oven-Dried Tomatoes:
Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature setting. Stir the brown sugar, tomato paste, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce together brush on the sliced tomatoes. Put the tomatoes on a line sheet pan dry in the oven overnight.
For the Caramelized Onions:
Cut the onions in half from pole to pole peel and slice across the grain to ¼-inch thickness. Heat the butter and oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat when the foam subsides, stir in the salt and star anise. Add the onions and stir to coat cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften and release some moisture, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are deeply browned and slightly sticky, about 40 minutes longer.
For the Parmesan Crisps:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Using the largest holes on a box grater, coarsely shred enough cheese to measure 1 cup. Line a large sheet pan with a nonstick liner, like Silpat. Arrange tablespoons of cheese 2 inches apart on the liner. Flatten each mound slightly with a spatula to form a 3-inch round. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on sheet on a rack then carefully transfer each crisp with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.
To Assemble and Serve:
Grind the beef coarsely in a meat grinder or food processor. Put 6 ounces of meat into a 4-inch ring mold and gently tap down to form into a patty. Heat a cast iron skillet on high for 5 minutes. When it’s very hot, pour in a drop of vegetable oil to lubricate the pan. Season the patties liberally with salt and pepper. Add the patties to the skillet and sear on one side for 3 minutes flip once and sear for 2 more minutes for medium rare.
In another skillet, add half of the butter and sauté the mushroom caps for until soft, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Remove the beef patties to rest. Wipe the mushroom skillet and toast the buns cut side down with the remaining butter.
Remove the buns when toasted and add spread about 2 tablespoons of the umami ketchup on both halves of the bun. Stack a beef patty with 1 tablespoon of the caramelized onions, a parmesan crisp, 2 mushroom caps and 2 slices of oven dried tomato. Serve immediately.