Wasabi : More Than Just a Hot Sushi Condiment

Wasabi—the innocent-looking green paste that accompanies sushi and sashimi, a too-big bite of which can make your eyes water and sinuses explode!

Real wasabi (Wasabia japonica, or Japanese horseradish) is native to Japan, where it has been cultivated for at least a thousand years. Mentions of the plant have been found in botanical books and dictionaries in Japan that trace back to 794 CE.



Wasabi is green and has a refreshing aroma and spiciness. Grated rhizomes are mainly used as condiments for sushi, sashimi, and buckwheat noodles.
Wasabi is an indispensable part of Japanese food culture.

Wasabi, which is characterized by its unique flavor and spiciness that goes through your nose, is indispensable for nigiri sushi.

The spicy ingredient of wasabi has a strong bactericidal action

It works to suppress the growth of many food poisoning bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Staphylococcus aureus.
It also has the effect of suppressing the growth of mold and yeast.


Deodorant effect & appetite promotion effect

This is because allyl isothiocyanate, which is the pungent component of wasabi, has the effect of decomposing the fishy odor of fish, and the uniquely pungent taste has the effect of increasing appetite.

In the Edo period, when there was no refrigerator, wasabi was added to prevent sushi from spoiling. The wasabi also has the advantage of eliminating the fishy odor of seafood.




Wasabi has ingredients that cause spiciness and flavor around the skin, so wash the skin with a brush to remove the petioles.

The one closer to the stem is fresher, so grate it from this side.


You Should grate wasabi while laughing

This is means to "grate you finely without any force."
If force is applied, the texture will become rough and the viscosity will decrease, so grate gently.

It is best if it becomes a fine and viscous cream. Grate in a circular motion without exerting any force.

It is said that the finer the wasabi, the spicier it becomes. This is because the wasabi cells break down and produce pungent ingredients.

Grater and wasabi

Sharkskin is said to be the best grater.
When raw wasabi is grated with shark skin, the cells are broken into small pieces, creating aroma and spiciness.

A grater made of metal may be used, but it may impair the flavor and spiciness, and the viscosity is low, making it impossible to take advantage of the original flavor and spiciness of raw wasabi.
Also, the most important nutrients of raw wasabi cannot be extracted.

In general households, plastic or ceramic graters are fine.



Even Japanese people don't know the real wasabi..?

The chances are, you’ve never actually eaten real wasabi.

Most of the wasabi you’ll find in Japanese restaurants in Europe the United States and even often in Japan is not real wasabi.

This is because horseradish is available as a substitute because of its convenience and low cost.

The reason is the characteristic of wasabi.

The aroma of a moment

Real wasabi comes from grating the root Wasabia Japonica. When grated, enzymes work to create a refreshing spiciness and aroma.

the ingredients of true wasabi are volatile. Wasabi powder, added to water, loses its zing in about 15 minutes (though it can be stabilized somewhat with vinegar or lemon juice).
Horseradish, on the other hand, stays hot for hours.


Difficult upbringing

Wasabi is a very delicate plant that grows only in limited natural conditions.

  • Clear running water
  • Water temperature is 13-16C throughout the year
  • The amount of water and the strength of the flow are constant
  • Where deciduous trees block the sun

Furthermore, it is famous for being difficult to grow because it must meet the conditions of a stable environment that faces north and does not undergo major changes in climate throughout the year. It also takes more than two years to mature.
Wasabi can only grow on land that meets various conditions.

For these reasons, genuine wasabi is expensive and is rarely seen outside of Japan.


Japanese daily life and wasabi

The wasabi we use at home is generally in a tube. It is made by mixing horseradish and corn oil with this wasabi (Wasabia japonica) and can be used at a low price.
Since each manufacturer has a different composition, there are differences in spiciness and flavor.

Most packages say that it contains wasabi (Wasabia japonica), but domestically produced wasabi is expensive, so in reality, wasabi made in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc. is used.

Real Wasabi is quite expensive, this is why true wasabi is generally found only at specialty grocers and high-end restaurants.

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