If you are enthusiastic about Japanese cuisine, you would have come across the superfood wasabi, which is in the root form provides a spicy kick to your food. Wasabi has a fantastic taste and is super hot but pleasant, so what is precisely wasabi? The official name is Wasabia japonica and is native to Japanese agriculture. The entire wasabi plant is edible and the herb part of the plant is the heart-shaped leaves and stems, which make an outstanding contribution to salads. Wasabi is similar to other vegetables such as cabbage, mustard and horseradish. However, wasabi is closely related to horseradish and is sometimes referred to as Japanese horseradish.
Wasabi is a superfood and good for you
Spicy wasabi not only puts the punch back into food, but it also is very nutritious and contains a bunch of vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Wasabi also has additional benefits and contains a herbal compound known as isothiocyanates. Also, wasabi is a medicinal plant and is a powerful antioxidant. Several research articles have investigated the benefits of isothiocyanates as a cancer-fighting agent, protect cells from damage and keep your heart healthy.
These isothiocyanates that make wasabi a superfood have shown to produce anti-inflammatory effects and are therefore essential to any healthy diet.
So, with all these extraordinary properties, you want to make sure that you are eating REAL WASABI and not FAKE WASABI.
Did you know that most wasabi is not real wasabi
The biggest secret about wasabi is that not most wasabi outside of Japan served in restaurants and supermarkets is FAKE because real wasabi is in short supply, making it rare. The wasabi you have been eating is highly likely to be a mixture of mustard, horseradish and green food dye. This makes fake wasabi very cheap!
You can enjoy real wasabi with lots of foods
Fresh wasabi has proven to be a versatile ingredient that compliments various foods both from Japanese and European cuisine. Traditionally, real wasabi is paired with sushi and accompanies a sushi roll dipped in soy sauce and ginger. Also, fresh wasabi is served with sashimi, a dish prepared from thin slices of raw meat. However, you can serve freshly grated wasabi with sirloin steak or even on your favourite hamburger.
How to eat real spicy wasabi
The wasabi experience works first by grating the rhizomes, sometimes referred to as wasabi root on a Japanese sharkskin paddle or a stainless steel fine grater. Then gather the fresh wasabi paste using a bamboo brush and leave for at least 5 minutes for the flavour to mature. However, you must consume the wasabi within 20 minutes to enjoy the optimal spiciness of your favourite food. This intense spicy ingredient packs a powerful punch when consumed.
Amazingly, the whole wasabi plant can be eaten and the rich leaves and stems can be used in salads and with your favourite sandwich. Also, freshly grated wasabi can be used as a dipping sauce especially fused with soy sauce and ginger. Further, it a great as a topping on a salad or coated on fish or meat – it’s your choice!
I’m Sofia Kitson, the Wasabi Crop Blogger. My interests are writing articles on growing and cooking with wasabi.