What does savoury mean?
Do you like your food to be delicious, tasty and full of flavour? Well, if you do, then you are actually quite clever because the more flavours your food has, the more satisfying it will be. Plus, your meal will be more likely to leave you feeling satiated and full—so focus on savoury foods when you’re cooking.
In the world of cuisine, savoury is often used to refer to something that is salty or the opposite of sweet. However, savoury means so much more than that!
When we talk about the sensation of tasting, there are five established basic tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness and umami. A savoury meal should include all five tastes to be complete. If you miss one, there is a good chance you will not feel perfectly satiated after your meal. For example, when you need something sweet after a meal, it is often because you did not include the taste of sweetness in your meal and therefore did not satisfy all your needs.
What about salt?
Many people believe a meal needs a lot of salt to be full of flavour. However, too much salt can be harmful to your health, causing high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney stones and stomach cancer, so it is a good idea to cut back on the salt.
Today, most people consume about 9–12 grams of salt every day. This is twice the recommended amount of 5–6 grams at most. The biggest portion (approximately 80%) of people’s salt intake comes from processed foods, such as ready meals, processed meats, cheese, bread and cereals. But many people also add too much salt when they’re cooking or at the table.
Human beings are not born with a preference for salty foods. We get accustomed to the taste when we’re growing up, and then we need more and more and more. But we can easily get our taste buds accustomed to needing less salt again if we just regulate our cooking and eating habits a little bit every week and instead use other flavours and fresh herbs in our meals. Try adding fresh basil, chilli, lime, garlic, mint, etc. to your favourite meals the next time you cook them.
How to compose a savoury meal
If you want to create the perfect savoury meal without using too much salt, you should instead focus on incorporating ALL the five basic tastes. Let’s say you want to make a fresh salad for dinner. You need something sweet, such as red peppers, watermelon or maybe strawberries. You also need something sour, which could be fresh lemon juice or lime.
The salty flavour could come from soya, capers, parmesan cheese or some bacon, and the bitter element could be ginger, radicchio, spring cabbage or kale. Then you need something umami. Umami can be a bit difficult to describe, but think of a round brothy or meaty flavour. You can get the umami taste from tomatoes, meat, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, cheese and more.
Keep this in mind the next time you cook a meal. Enjoy!
Did you know
That most people consume too much salt? On average, most people eat 9–12 grams per day, or around twice the recommended maximum level
That a lot of people think they need extra salt on hot and humid days? However, people loose little salt through sweat, so there is no need for extra salt. Just remember to drink a lot of water
That an estimated 2,5 million deaths could be prevented each year if our global consumption of salt were reduced to the recommended level of 5–6 grams per day per person?
That although most people think of savoury foods as being ‘not sweet’, the most flavourful meals contain some sweetness to play off the other flavours and add an overall depth of flavour? For example, you can use sweet glazes made with honey or syrup on your bacon. The sweetness increases the savoury food benefits.