Many people prefer mushrooms to beef because they are lower in calories. They also have a strong savory flavor. Where did it come from?
Vegans and vegetarians have long used mushrooms as a meat substitute. Because these plants can be ‘conjured’ to look and taste exactly like real meat, they are often referred to as ‘fake’ meats.
According to detikFood, a nutritionist called Jansen Ongko mentioned that mushrooms and beef cannot be compared “apple to apple” when it comes to the nutrition. He added that because its amino acids are more complete, real meat has better absorption than plant-based proteins.
However, if you compare them in terms of protein, Data from Live Strong showed that approximately 420 grams of mushrooms contain only 56 calories and 7 grams of protein, whereas approximately 28 grams of medium fat beef contains 4 to 7 grams of protein and 75 calories.
Now, how can mushrooms taste like real beef?
Naturally, beef and another meat taste umami. One of the five basic tastes is umami. This taste come from a protein called glutamate. Therefore, any meat that contain high protein taste umami.
Every organisms have their way to metabolite protein, including mushrooms. They have different metabolism to produce amino acid derived called glutamate from animals and plants. But, at the end, they can produce substances that taste umami as well.
For instance, some fermented food, such as tempeh. It has its own natural savory because the fungi in the tempeh. The fungi itself help to metabolize protein in the soy to produce the savoriness.
All mushrooms have the taste of umami, and the darker color means the higher the umami content. Mushrooms with the highest umami content that are widely available:
- White button
Dried mushrooms have more umami than fresh, and the cooked have more umami than raw. This means that adding it in almost any form—raw, sautéed, whole cap garnish, or even a dusting of dried powder—will give foods an umami boost.