It seems nowadays anchovies show up in the oddest places to lend umami to a dish -- an 'innocent' mac 'n cheese put me in the hospital recently because no one mentioned the anchovies -- a common allergen, by the way -- and I did not think to ask. Mac & Cheese? Anyway two questions: First, if I go into a restaurant and say " does the dish contain any anchovies or worcestershire sauce, will a waiter actually know? And second, I see them popping up in recipes that otherwise sound good. I've tried subbing out with tomato paste in a recipe recently, but I could taste tomato and it didn't fit. Can anyone suggest any other subs for anchovies that do not involve seafood? ( And yes, I will always carry my Epipen when I eat out -- I had gotten slack.)
Anchovies - how to escape them?
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In an ideal world the answer would be yes, but in the real world, I wouldn't necessarily bet on it. Depends upon the level of commitment that the owners/management truly have to hospitality. There are restaurants where the wait staff know the menu and individual dish ingredients and preparations backwards and forwards. If they don't know the answer, they will go get the correct answer. If they do neither, they will find themselves at the unemployment office. As a side note, I would also add fish sauce (nuoc mam, nam pla, etc) to your question.
Dried shiitake powder. Another possibility, but not sure how it would work for you with your allergy since it comes from the sea, is ground seaweed and sea vegetables such as kombu, nori and wakame.
Thanks! I stay out of Vietnamese and most SE Asian restaurants… I am the only person I know who has spent a week in Thailand eating nothing but fruit -- but other cuisines could sneak in Asian fish sauce in pursuit of umami. I will go back to "any kind of fish or fish sauce at all". And carry the epi.
DRIED POWDERED shiitakes? Good idea. I had tried chopped mushrooms, too, and vegetarian "oyster" sauce, but you may just have it with the powdered dried mushrooms. Thanks - I'll give it another go.
Fish sauce has been one of my secret ingredients (flavor enhancer) for years, long before I ever heard of umami. I use it pretty much in any style of cuisine that I prepare and that is the reason I mentioned it. It's not just in Asian restaurants and seafood dishes either so be careful out there.
I just thought about another good umami source that I have recently started using to replace my beloved soy sauce (another secret ingredient flavor enhancer) in effort to appease those who are avoiding gluten in their diet