Meal bols are easy to make and very versatile. And at Bolay, we make it even easier with our selection of perfectly seasoned bases, proteins, veggies, add-ons, and sauces. With all our options, you can have a different bol every time you visit. Or, you can make your own favorite bol and stick with it. No judgment here.
When you are asked how something tastes, you may say it’s delicious, tasty, or scrumptious. You don’t usually think about how your tongue perceives tastes. There are five ways flavor can be broken down: salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami. Let’s take a closer look at theses tastes and how they make food memorable.
Your salt taste receptor is the simplest and one of the most important. Salt is a flavor conductor, and this is a taste that most of us crave. As a flavor conductor, adding salt to sweet dishes makes the sweet notes stronger, one of the reasons why salt is in almost every cake or cookie recipe. Adding salt during cooking brings out the flavor while adding it after just makes the dish taste salty.
Sweetness is often called the pleasure taste. As a survival mechanism, sweet signals the presence of sugar, an important source of energy, and something we all need. It is also a flavor conductor that complements other tastes. Adding a touch of sweet balsamic glaze to a vegetable dish that is traditionally salty will enhance the flavor and our pleasure in the dish.
Of the five tastes, bitter is the most sensitive. Many bitter compounds are known to be toxic, one of the main reasons our tongues perceive bitter flavors as unpleasant. Just as the sweet taste is a pleasure signal, the bitter taste is a displeasure signal. However, a little bitterness can make a flavor pairing more exciting, and some have become popular, such as the hoppy taste of beer. And, not all bitterness is toxic, some antioxidants that aid in digestion, such as the ones that make coffee or dart chocolate taste bitter.
Sourness is the taste that detects acidity. It’s the mouth-puckering feeling you get when you taste many citrus fruits, such as limes, lemons, and oranges, as well as some leafy greens. It is also present in food soured by the addition of vinegar or fermentation, such as sauerkraut or yogurt. You’ll find these notes in some sauces and dressings. Added to a dish, they help create a craveable flavor sensation.
And then there is the elusive umami. It’s considered an appetitive taste and is best described as meaty, earthy, or savory. It is common in mushroom, asparagus, tomatoes, meat, and cheese.
Putting It All Together
Of course, usually we don’t think about our food this way, we just go for what tastes good to us. However, when closely examined, we can see that these five principles are at work in almost any dish we eat. And, using them in combination with your food preferences can help you create a Bolay bol that suits your tastebuds just fine.
If you’re not sure what to try or are in the mood for something new, here are a few flavor combinations to try.
Baby Spinach, Herb Roasted Potatoes, Garden Green Beans, Lemon Chicken, and Minted Tomatoes
Start with baby spinach, a superfood that’s often taken for granted. It’s loaded with nutrients in a low-cal package. Get even more veggie goodness with herb roasted potatoes and Garden Green Beans. Here comes the fun part. Add some lemon chicken, and you’ve got the classic spinach, lemon, and chicken combo that is anything but boring. Brighten up the flavor with minted tomatoes and carrot ginger sauce, and you have the perfect balance of flavors in one dish.
Black Rice, Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic Mushrooms, and Miso Glazed Tofu with Variations
High in fiber and low in calories, forbidden black rice is a great start to any bowl. When cooked, it becomes a deep purple color and adds a delicious nutty flavor to your bol. Top this with Brussels sprouts and balsamic mushrooms. The sweet and tangy balsamic pairs well with the Brussels sprouts and the mushrooms add an earthy, umami flavor to the dish. Adding some Miso-Glazed Tofu embeds more of that savory umami flavor. Choose some cilantro for a little zing on your tongue and or avocado if you want a creamy finish. Carrot ginger sauce pulls all the flavors together, unless you like a spicier dish, then choose spicy Thai sauce.
Jasmine Rice, Garden Green Beans, Power Beans, Avocado, and Cilantro Pesto
The light, nutty flavor of jasmine rice creates a great base for the power bean medley. Seasoned with garlic and lime, this medley of cannellini beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, and red kidney beans, gives your bol a powerful punch of fiber and protein. Add even more protein with steak au jus, and because when someone asks, “what does avocado go well with?” we say everything (almost). Top your bol off with avocado and cilantro pesto.
Kale Yeah Salad, Black Rice, Brussels Sprouts, Garden Green Beans, Pork Tenderloin, Lemon Chicken, Avocado, and Carrot Ginger Sauce
Now, let’s get a little crazy. We’re talking layers of flavor here. Flavor pairing like you would not believe. If you like savory and sweet, this is the bol for you. We’re going to begin with the super healthy Kale Yeah! Salad and add some black rice. This gives us a good base for Brussels sprouts and Garden Green Beans. Now for proteins. That’s right two proteins: pork tenderloin and lemon chicken.
So, we’ve got the healthy, earthy kale, nutty forbidden rice, oven-roasted Brussels sprouts, and our Garden Green Beans spiced with sumac and mixed with pork tenderloin and lemon chicken. What next? Avocado and carrot ginger sauce adds the finishing touch, giving the dish the perfect balance of savory and sweet.
Now that you know a little about the five flavors and how they work together, use these bols for inspiration. Welcome to the world of flavor. Come in and play, or order your own combination of Bolay flavors online.