Umami: ukunambitheka kwesihlanu kwavela kanjani

Ekuqaleni kwekhulu lama-20, uKikunae Ikeda wacabanga kakhulu ngesobho. Usokhemisi waseJapane wacwaninga ngomhluzi wenhlanzi yezinhlanzi omisiwe obizwa ngokuthi i-dashi. I-Dashi inokunambitheka okukhethekile. U-Ikeda wazama ukuhlukanisa amangqamuzana ngemva kokunambitheka kwakhe okuhlukile. Wayeqiniseka ukuthi kunokuhlobana okuthile phakathi kokuma kwengqamuzana nombono wokunambitha elikuvezayo kubantu. Ekugcineni, u-Ikeda wakwazi ukuhlukanisa ingqamuzana lokunambitheka elibalulekile olwandle lwe-dashi, i-glutamic acid. Ngo-1909, u-Ikeda waphakamisa ukuthi izinzwa ezinomsoco ezivezwa i-glutamate kufanele zibe okunye okuthandwa kakhulu. Wayibiza ngokuthi “umami”, okusho ukuthi “okumnandi” ngesiJapane.

Kodwa isikhathi eside, ukutholakala kwakhe akuzange kuqashelwe. Okokuqala, umsebenzi ka-Ikeda wahlala ngesiJapane kwaze kwaba yilapho ekugcineni uhunyushelwa esiNgisini ngo-2002. Okwesibili, ukunambitheka kwe-umami kunzima ukuhlukana nabanye. Ayicebi futhi icace ngokungeza i-glutamate eyengeziwe, njengoba kunjalo ngama-flavour amnandi, lapho ungakwazi ukwengeza ushukela futhi nakanjani unambitha ubumnandi. “Lokhu ukunambitheka okuhluke ngokuphelele. Uma lezi zinambitheka zingaqhathaniswa nombala, khona-ke umami ubuyoba phuzi futhi ube mnandi ube bomvu,” kuphawula u-Ikeda esihlokweni sakhe. Umami unokunambitha okuncane kodwa okunesikhathi eside okuhambisana nokuphuma amathe. Umami ngokwawo awunambitheki kahle, kodwa wenza izinhlobonhlobo zokudla zibe mnandi. 

Sekudlule iminyaka engaphezu kwekhulu. Ososayensi emhlabeni wonke manje sebeyabona ukuthi i-umami iyi-flavour yangempela futhi eyisisekelo njengamanye. Abanye abantu baye bathi mhlawumbe umami uwuhlobo oluthile losawoti. Kodwa uma ubhekisisa imizwa ethumela imiyalezo evela emlonyeni wakho iye ebuchosheni bakho, uyabona ukuthi umami nokunambitheka okunosawoti kusebenza ngezindlela ezihlukahlukene.

Ukwamukelwa okuningi kwemibono ka-Ikeda kwenzeka eminyakeni engaba ngu-20 edlule. Ngemuva kokuthi ama-receptors athile atholwe kuma-taste buds athatha ama-amino acid. Amaqembu amaningi ocwaningo abike ama-receptors ashunwe ngokuqondile ku-glutamate namanye ama-umami molecule adala umphumela we-synergistic.

Ngandlela thize, akumangazi ukuthi umzimba wethu uye washintsha indlela yokuzwa ukuba khona kwama-amino acid, njengoba ebaluleke kakhulu ekusindeni kwethu. Ubisi lwabantu lunamazinga e-glutamate acishe afane nomhluzi we-dashi u-Ikeda awufunde, ngakho-ke cishe sijwayelene nokunambitha.

U-Ikeda yena, wathola umkhiqizi wezinongo futhi waqala ukukhiqiza ulayini wakhe wezinongo ze-umami. Kwakuyi-monosodium glutamate, esakhiqizwa nanamuhla.

Ingabe akhona amanye ama-flavour?

Indaba enengqondo ingase ikwenze uzibuze ukuthi ingabe akhona yini amanye ama-flavour ayinhloko esingazi nje ngawo? Abanye abacwaningi bakholelwa ukuthi singase sibe nokunambitheka okuyisisekelo kwesithupha okuhlobene namafutha. Kunamakhandidethi amaningana ama-fat receptors olimini, futhi kusobala ukuthi umzimba usabela ngokuqinile ebukhoneni bamafutha ekudleni. Nokho, ngesikhathi amazinga amafutha esephezulu ngokwanele ukuthi singawanambitha ngempela, asikuthandi ngempela ukunambitheka.

Nokho, kukhona omunye ophikisana nesihloko sokunambitha okusha. Ososayensi baseJapan bethula umqondo we "kokumi" emhlabeni. "I-Kokumi isho ukunambitheka okungenakuvezwa izinto ezinhlanu eziyisisekelo, futhi ihlanganisa ukunambitheka okukude kokuthandwa okuyinhloko njengokushuba, ukugcwala, ukuqhubeka, nokuvumelana," kusho iwebhusayithi ye-Umami Information Center. Ibangelwa i-trio yama-amino acid axhunyiwe, ukuzwa kokumi kunezela ekujabuleleni izinhlobo ezithile zokudla, eziningi zazo ezingenashukela.

U-Harold McGee, umbhali wokudla, ube nethuba lokusampula ezinye zesoso ye-kokumi-inducing utamatisi namashizi amazambane anothosiwe eNgqungqutheleni ka-Umami ka-2008 e-San Francisco. Wachaza okuhlangenwe nakho: “Ama-flavour abonakala aphakeme futhi alinganisela, njengokungathi ukulawulwa kwevolumu kanye ne-EQ kuvuliwe. Zabonakala futhi ngandlela thize zibambelela emlonyeni wami - ngazizwa - futhi zahlala isikhathi eside ngaphambi kokunyamalala.

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