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MS G E le vat i ng F l a v o u r

A ileen

L in g



Ta b l e o f C o n t e n t s W h at i s M S G ?

4 Tec h niq u es

7 R e cipes

15 3

w h at i s m s g ? Monosodium Glutamate, known as MSG, is a flavour enhancer that is associated with the umami taste profile. Though MSG is omnipresent in today’s world, many disapprove of its use in contemporary food culture. Discovered by Kikunae Ikeda in 1909, MSG has been produced and utilized around the world for over a century. From kombu seaweed to sugar beet molasses, MSG can be found both naturally occurring in certain foods and can be artificially synthesized through bacterial fermentation. The chemical structure of MSG is composed of glutamic acid stabilized with sodium. There is a notable amount of controversy surrounding the use of this ingredient; however, glutamic acid is a non-essential amino acid that is produced in the human body everyday! This book is a compilation of techniques and applied explorations to celebrate this misrepresented ingredient.


Crystalline prisms of MSG | Prop styling by Laurie Raab | Justin Fantl



Tec h niq u es


T e c h niq u es

M S G C r y s ta l S o l u t i o n Ingredients +/- 74g MSG + 100 mL Distilled Water MSG Solution Combine the MSG and distilled water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until dissolved. Slowly add more MSG until it no longer dissolves. A layer of MSG crystals will start forming on the top of the solution and on the sides of your pot. Your solution is now supersaturated and ready to use. MSG Crystals Pour solution into a container, let rest. Crystals will start to form around the exterior of the container. When desired crystal size is met, carefully removed crystal and let dry in open air.


T e c h niq u es

C r y s ta l C o at i n g Ingredients MSG Solution + Ingredient to be coated Dip Coating Pour the MSG solution into a container and stir to break up any crystals that are forming. Dip ingredient into the solution and let dry. Repeat till desired crystal size is met. Submerged Crystallization Pour the MSG solution into a container and suspend the ingredient so that it is submerged in the solution. Let rest until you are satisfied the the amount of crystallization on the ingredient. Remove ingredient from the solution and let air dry.


T e c h niq u es

Casting Ingredients MSG Solution Method Pour solution into a container and allow crystals to start forming. Drain out some of the remaining liquid and crush existing crystals until you have a thick sludge like consistency. Pour the mixture into desired moulds and let air dry. To increase drying time use a dehyrator or low heat setting in an oven. Drying time depends on size of the container.


T e c h niq u es

Pearls Ingredients 1/2 tsp MSG + 1/2 tsp Agar Powder + 250mL Distilled Water + 250 mL Oil Method Pour oil into a small container and place in the freezer for an hour. Combine MSG, water and agar powder in a small sauce pan and stir to dissolve. Heat on medium high and continue stirring until the mixture starts bubbling. Using a syringe or eyedropper, drip the msg mixture into the chilled oil. Pearls will form at the bottom of th container. Let them set for a couple minutes. Strain out oil and gently rinse the pearls with cold water. Pearls can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge for longer periods.


T e c h niq u es

Thin Sheet Ingredients 1/2 tsp MSG + 2 tsp Gelatin + 1/2 tsp Glycerin + 400mL Distilled Water Method Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Stir over medium-high heat till the gelatin is dissolved and the liquid starts to bubble. Remove from heat. Pour into a non-stick baking sheet with a rim on a level surface. Set aside for 10 - 24 hours, depending on the size of the sheet. The sheet will be ready when it is dry to the touch and starts peeling arounf the edges.


T e c h niq u es

Abstr act Gar nish Ingredients 1/4 tsp MSG + 2 tsp Gelatin + 1/4 tsp Glycerin + 30 mL Distilled Water Method Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Stir over medium-high heat till the gelatin is fully dissolved and the liquid begins to bubble. Remove from heat. Use a syringe, heatproof piping bag, or paint brush to add the liquid onto a non-stick baking sheet. Let rest for about 1 hour till set. Garnish will harden and become more rigid with longer setting time.


T e c h niq u es

Tuile Ingredients 1/4 tsp MSG + 1 1/2 tbsp Flour + 100 mL Water + 25 mL Oil Method Combine MSG and flour. Slowly add oil and water while stirring to ensure there are no clumps in the batter. Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high. Pour enough batter to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. The batter will start bubbling releasing water vapour to create a pattern. The tuile is finished when the bubbling stops.




R e cipes

Caprese Crostini with C r y s ta l l i z e d T o m at o Ingredients


- msg solution (See pg. 8) - baguette - olive oil - basil leaves - mozzarella - sundried tomatoes

Prepare MSG solution. Thinly slice sundried tomatoes and dip or submerge into the MSG solution. *Refer to crystallization coating methods (See pg. 9) Slice baguette and brush with olive oil. Toast in oven, pan, or grill till golden brown. Arrange mozzarella, basil leave and crystallized tomato onto the toasted baguette rounds.



R e cipes

Seared Salmon Sushi, MSG Pearls, Nori and Tuile Ingredients


- msg pearls (see pg.11) - tuile (see pg.14)

Prepare MSG pearls and tuile, toast nori in an oven or pan and set aside.

- 1 salmon fillet (sushi grade) - 1 tsp sweet soy sauce - 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Rinse rice in cold water and drain. Combine rice and water into a pot and let sit covered for 30 min. Move pot to stove and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 8-9 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes without removing the lid.

- 1 cup sushi rice - 1 cup water - 40 mL rice vinegar - 1 tbsp sugar - 1 tsp salt - black sesame seeds (optional) - 2 sheets of nori

Combine rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan. Stir over low heat the the sugar and salt dissolve, do not bring to a boil. Add mixture to rice and stir with wooden paddle. Optional: add black sesame seeds and stir into rice. Lightly brush salmon with sweet soy sauce. Heat oil in a frying pan on high heat. When the oil is hot add the salmon and sear for 3 min on each side. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the salmon. Wet hands and shape rice into small cylinders the palm of your hand then slightly flatten them. Place seared salmon slices on the rice, top with MSG pearls, tuile and nori.



R e cipes

S u s p e n d e d Wo n to n So u p w i th C r is py S h a llots Ingredients


- 1 order of wonton soup from your local Chinese take-away - 1/2-1 tsp agar powder

Remove wontons from soup and set aside. Combine broth and agar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 min while continuing to stir.

- shallot - oil - green onion

Place wonton into chosen mould. Carefully pour liquid into the mould and adjust wonton placement. Let rest for 1 hour in the refrigerator or until set. Heat oil in small saucepan over medium-high hear. Thinly slice shallots and add to the hot oil. Fry till golden brown, remove with slotted spoon and let rest on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Remove the wonton soup from the mould and garnish with sliced green onion and shallots.



R e cipes

Spring Roll Salad Ingredients


- 2 frozen spring rolls with dipping sauce. -1/2 tsp agar powder - 25 mL water - microgreens - green onion

Combine dipping sauce, water and agar powder in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Use the cold oil drip method to create sauce pearls (Refer to Pearl Technique - pg.11 ). Defrost spring rolls, thinly slice rounds. Place on baking tray and bake at 400 for 5-10 min or until golden brown and crisp. Arrange spring rolls, microgreens, sliced green onion and sauce pearls onto plate.



R e cipes

C h i c k e n M o u s s e , B at t e r T u i l e Sweet & Sour Sauce Pearls



- 1 cup frozen battered sweet and sour chicken (sauce is separate) - 1/2 tsp agar powder - 25 mL water - 1/4 tsp gelatin

Defrost ingredients. Remove batter from the chicken and set both aside.

- 10 mL oil - 100 mL water - 1 tbsp cream - green onion

Combine sauce packet contents, 25 mL water and agar powder in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Use the cold oil drip method to create sauce pearls (Refer to Pearl Technique - pg.11) Mince chicken pieces and combine with gelatin and cream. Heat in small sauce pan, but do not allow the cream to boil. Let mixutre cool. Puree with imersion blender till light and smooth. Let set in fridge for 1 hour or overnight. Combine batter pieces, flour, oil and 100 mL water into a blender or food process and puree till smooth. Cook on non-stick pan till golden brown. (Refer to tuile recipe pg.) Use a hot spoon to carefully scoop out and plate the chicken mousse. Add tuile, and sauce pearls. Garnish with sliced green onion.



R e cipes

R oaste d As pa r ag u s & Ga r l ic on C r ac k e d M SG B loc k




- casted msg (see pg.10)

Cast MSG into a rectangular mould, allow to dry for at least 24 hours and break at cracking points.

- asparagus - garlic - oil

Preheat oven to 220oC. Drizzle olive oil onto aspargus and garlic and mix until well coated. Roast for 10-15 min or until tender and brown.

This can be done with any roasted vegetable, meat or fish for an extra boost in savoury flavour.

Place on MSG block and let rest for 5-10 min.


R e cipes

Crisped R ice with Shrimp in Pea & Spr ing Onion Purée Ingredients


- fried rice from your local Chinese take-away or frozen section of the grocery store.

Prepare the fried rice according to instructions, let cool then separate the ingredients in the fried rice.

- 4 tbsp oil - 1 tsp oil - 2 tbsp stock - 1-2 green onion stalks

Preheat oven to 180oC . Place rice on baking sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the rice starts to dry out. Heat oil in pot, drop the rice into the oil and cover with a lid for a couple minutes. The rice will begin to puff up, gently shake the pot around so that the rice doesn’t burn. Set aside on a paper towel to absorb extra oil. Chop green onion and saute in a sauce pan with 1 tsp of oil. Add peas and stock then continue to cook for a couple minutes. Allow the mixture to cool then puree in a blender till smooth. Spoon purée onto centre of the plate. Add rice in the middle of the purée. Garnish with green onion and baby shrimps.



R e cipes

P u r ĂŠ e d P o tat o i n E d i b l e P o u c h Ingredients


- 1 msg thin sheet (See pg.12) - 3 medium potatoes - 1 tbsp butter - 1/4 cup milk - 2 cloves garlic - 1/2 tsp thyme - green onion

Prepare thin MSG sheets for the wrappers and cut into 10cm x10cm squares. Slice green onions length wise into thin long strips. Mince garlic and saute in butter with thyme. Peel and chop potatoes into 2cm cubes. Place in pot and cover with cold water. Bring potatoes and water to a boil for 10 minutes or until potatoes or soft. Strain excess water. Combine milk, garlic butter and potatoes in a food processor and purĂŠe till smooth. Place a teaspoon of the potato onto the precut msg sheets. Pull the wrapper up around the potato and carefully secure by tying the green onion around the sheet.




The MSG Cookbook  
The MSG Cookbook