The Umami-Packed Ingredient To Elevate Homemade Potato Chips

Snacks are the beloved mini meals that activate our appetites, get us through a long day, join us on movie nights, and sometimes have to be taken away before dinner. Potato chips are likely at the top of the favorite snack list, with flavors and styles that vary globally but satisfy universally. If you're ready to wow snack-loving palates with a unique homemade potato chip, try adding this umami-forward flavor that will have snackers licking their fingers and refilling the bowl.

When Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda couldn't nail down the flavor sensation he experienced when enjoying a bowl of dashi, he took to his lab and isolated the molecule responsible for the taste that wasn't exactly sweet, sour, salty, or bitter. Ikeda discovered that a compound called glutamate was the source of the flavor, and he named it "umami," meaning "delicious" in Japanese. It is a fitting term for the fifth taste that embodies the essence of other flavors but also stands alone with its unique characteristics.

Umami is an intensely savory flavor closely associated with the taste of salt but more complex in that it also boasts earthy bitterness, mild sweetness, and surprisingly tangy flavors. Food sources that exemplify the taste of umami are dark mushrooms, seaweed, Parmesan cheese, and ketchup.

Nori puts the sea in seasoning

Just like your favorite potato chips, umami makes your mouth water. Forget being overwhelmed on the snack aisle when you can make far tastier homemade potato chips seasoned to umami perfection with roasted nori. The sheets of seaweed superfood are mostly recognized for wrapping up sushi rolls but boast an impressive nutritional profile and snack-worthy salty flavor.

Nori embodies the essence of umami with its briny, oceanic flavor that is salty with a mild hint of sweetness. A quick toast in the oven enhances nori's savory flare before grinding it into a salty powder. This versatile powder can be combined with salt to make it more pinchable, but Food & Nutrition shares that its natural saltiness can also stand alone as a flavorful alternative on a low-sodium diet.

The salty-sweet nature of umami makes for an ideal seasoning, as it enhances surrounding flavors and cuts bitterness just as salt and sugar would do on their own. When sprinkled over a batch of fresh-fried potato chips, powdered nori yields a savory snack packed with sea-salty flavors balanced by a hint of grassy sweetness. Elevate your next snack session with the homemade nori-seasoned potato chips that might become your favorite flavor.