Confused?? I don't think so. Did I say Wasabi was NOT a root? I don' t think so. My cookbooks state that true wasabi which is green in itself, is often paired with green food coloring to give it a more appealing color. BTW, Cold Stone Creamery sold wasabi ice cream here in Michigan on a trial basis. I bought a cone and I loved it. When I went back a couple of days later, they had discontinued it because they said only one person bought it. I guess that was me.
Originally Posted by GB
I think you are confused DQ. Real wasabi is a root. It is not combined with food coloring or anything else. It is grated and used as is.
Fresh wasabi root for sale at Nishiki Market
Wasabi is generally sold either in the form of a root
(real wasabi), which must be very finely grated before use, or as a ready-to-use paste (horseradish, mustard and food coloring), usually in tubes approximately the size and shape of travel toothpaste
tubes. Once the paste is prepared it should remain covered until served to protect the flavor from evaporation. For this reason, sushi
chefs usually put the wasabi between the fish and the rice
Fresh leaves of wasabi can also be eaten and have some of the hot flavor of wasabi roots. They can be eaten as wasabi salad by pickling overnight with a salt-and-vinegar-based dressing, or by quickly boiling them with a little soy sauce
. Additionally, the leaves can be battered and deep-fried
The burning sensations it can induce are short-lived compared to the effects of chili peppers
, especially when water
is used to remove the spicy flavor.
Wasabi is often served with sushi
, usually accompanied with soy sauce. The two are sometimes mixed to form a single dipping sauce known as Wasabi-joyu. Legumes
) may be roasted or fried, then coated with a wasabi-like mixture (usually an imitation
); these are then eaten as an eye-watering "in the hand" snack.
Wasabi ice cream is a recent but increasingly popular innovation.
Recent studies have also shown that wasabi contains a natural chemical that can be used against certain cancer cells. This unique root vegetable can also be used for oral hygiene and infections. It has been suggested that Wasabi can help prevent cardiovascular diseases like stroke, heart attack, and hypertension. The health benefits are many. This root can help with diarrhea, osteoporosis, asthma, arthritis, and allergies as well.
Wasabi and imitations
A tube of imitation wasabi
Almost all sushi bars in America and Japan serve imitation (seiyō
) wasabi (see Etymology section, below) because authentic wasabi is usually expensive, but it is becoming widely available even in the United States. Wasabi loses much of its flavor if exposed to air for even a short time, so genuine powdered wasabi, while it does exist, typically contains horseradish and other ingredients to approximate the nasal spiciness
of fresh wasabi. Because of this, most powders use no real wasabi and instead turn to just horseradish
, mustard seed, and green food coloring (sometimes Spirulina
). Whether real or imitation, the powder is mixed with an equal amount of water to make a paste. Few people, even in Japan, realize that most of the wasabi that they consume is in fact an imitation. While not considered equal with the freshly grated product, preserved wasabi is available in tubes and, in larger quantity, frozen bags. Like powder, tubed wasabi often contains no real wasabi at all, so verification of the ingredients is needed.
To distinguish between the true variety of wasabi and the imitation product, real wasabi is known in Japan as hon-wasabi
(本山葵), meaning original or true wasabi. Local Sushi chefs usually substitute horseradish in Japanese restaurants.