MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is a crystalline powder that is usually added in cooking to add flavor or as a food flavoring. Usually, MSg is used in various processed foods and this is one of the controversial ones until now. Some chefs sometimes add it to their food to enhance the taste of food in restaurants, sometimes they add it to meals at home, and MSg is very well known and popular for its use in Chinese cuisine.
Indeed MSG has been approved by the FDA, but not a few who avoid it including us for many health reasons. Others are not for health reasons but because they are difficult to find in stores. Whatever your reason for not using MSG, but you can looking for MSG Substitutes that can also improve the taste of food. Instead of using Monosodium glutamate, we’d better use other ingredients that are safe for health. Here we share some of the best alternatives to MSG.
8 Best MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) Substitutes
1. Beef stock
To improve the taste of food, besides using MSG, you can also use beef stock that you make yourself at home. You can make your own broth or beef stock by cooking beef bones in a saucepan.
Homemade broth can be the best substitutes for MSG and this is inreasing the taste of your food. The beef and broth taste so much like MSG that you can find great substitutes for your meals without putting you in danger of MSG. Both contain high levels of glutamate, an amino acid found in high protein. The more stock is reduced, the higher the taste because the more it is loaded with glutamate.
You don’t have time to make your own stock? Maybe you can add beef stock cube in water for an easy and quick choice. However, before you buy beef broth that has been solidified, first check the product label, don’t let the product you choose contain MSG, because our goal is not to use MSG.
Tip: In an emergency, you can use vegetable broth as an alternative to MSG. Vegetable broth also contains ingredients similar to the concentration in MSG. If you want a stronger taste, you can make a beef consommé.
2. Soy sauce
Another best substitute for MSG is Soy sauce. It is a rich, flavorful sauce that you can add in soups, stir-fries, casseroles. Soy sauce has a salty and savory taste and you can find Soy sauce easily in supermarkets.
However, be careful in choosing Soy sauce products, check the label so that the product does not contain Mono-sodium Glutamate. In addition to soy sauce, you can also use oyster sauce to enhance the taste of your food. In adding it, add it in moderation because using too much will give your dish too salty. Besides soy sauce and oyster sauce, there is another alternative to MSG, this is Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire is usually used in burger patties, meatballs, or stews to enhance the taste.
3. Parmesan cheese
There is another product that is rich source of MSG so you can get rid of MSG and use this product, it is Parmesan cheese. Parmesan is an Italian cheese that contains the same ingredients in MSG, so it can be another best alternative.
The fermentation process of Italian cheese makes it release amino acids when breaking down proteins. Adding Parmesan cheese can add a savory taste to pizza, pasta, risotto and many other Italian dishes. But in Asian cuisine, Parmesan is not used and this can change your cooking. But if you cook Italian food at home, instead of MSG, you can use Parmesan cheese.
If you have a Parmesan wheel in your refrigerator, save the skin. The umami flavor of the outermost layer and delicious, it’s perfect as an addition to soups and casseroles.
Dulse is a natural ingredient similar to seaweed with a slightly salty, savory taste and is a great substitute for your MSG flavoring. Instead of using MSG in your cooking – which is controversial – it is better to use Dulse as a flavor enhancer in your dishes.
Dulse can be picked on rocks in some areas of the world. If you want to easily get it, you can buy it at Asian traders. This is a dry product, but you can soak it in water to make it fresh again and add it to some Asian recipes that generally use Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). Likewise, if you are making dashi flavored broth, add Dulse to your broth.
5. Shiitake Mushrooms
This is a luxury food that many people love. When it comes to mushrooms, your dish will taste delicious. As it turns out, there are mushrooms that are tastier and can be one of the best substitutes for MSG. These are Shiitake Mushrooms. These mushrooms contain high concentrations of glutamate.
When you add Shiitake Mushrooms to your diet, it will not only taste delicious from the mushrooms themselves but overall your ingredients will experience an enhanced umami delicacy.
6. Yeast extract
Yeast extract is also an alternative to MSG, yeast extract is usually used to make bread, and beer. You can get this ingredient in stores in powder form, usually in specialty breweries. If no yeast extract is available, you can also use marmite or a jar or vegemite and they will work best to add flavor to the dish.
This ingredient contains glutamic acid, in just one spoon it can improve the taste of your food. But remember that you are not using large amounts of yeast extract.
Salt is a food flavoring that has been used for generations. All food ingredients that are made always use salt because it gives an increase in flavor to a variety of foods.
For best results in your cooking, use kosher salt or pure sea salt. However, if you want, you can infest in Himalaya salt which is rich in health benefits, some are even made as Himalayan salt lamps that are useful for cleaning indoor air.
Anchovy is one of the fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids. However, anchovy can also be a flavoring for your cooking in the kitchen. Why is anchovy good as a substitute for MSG? Because anchovy is the richest food for glutamate and is good to add in various dishes to give it a savory and delicious taste. You can add anchovies to sauces, Italian sauces, and pastas. If you are afraid of smelling fishy, don’t worry because this smell will disappear after cooking.
High Free-Glutamate Foods
We’ve already mentioned some ingredients that contain glutamate and are good substitutes for MSG. While all of these items add flavor to your dish, consider how they affect the dish. Sometimes there are less effective ones, such as marmite and parmesan cheese, for use in Asian cooking, they don’t seem to work very well. However, parmesan and marmite cheese are great for adding flavor to slow-cooked dishes.
MSG or Monosodium Glutamate Fast facts
In Japanese cuisine, MSG has been used since the 1920s to enhance the goodness of ramen, dashi, bento boxes, and processed foods.
If you check the MSG content in the product above, check the code E621.
MSG contains a third of the amount of sodium and salt.
In a healthy diet, people tend to consume 10-20 grams of glutamate per day.