Learn About Wasabi

Author: Chef Sydney

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What is Wasabi?

Wasabi is a condiment made from the wasabi plant native to Japan.  Wasabi usually comes as a light green paste and is made by grinding the root-like stems of the wasabi plant.  Wasabi may come powdered or as the root-like stem.   Wasabi paste has a gritty texture and a strong smell when freshly made.  It smells pungent, similar to horseradish.

What Does Wasabi Taste Like?

Real wasabi has a unique, strong, spicy flavor.  Its spiciness is similar to horseradish or ginger, but it has a stronger flavor.  Imitation wasabi is often made of horseradish and hot mustard, so the flavor profile is mostly similar.

Learn About Wasabi
Fresh wasabi plants and wasabi paste on a wooden cutting board.

How Do You Eat Wasabi?

Wasabi is a condiment and is usually enjoyed as a topping or dipping sauce.  Wasabi is commonly paired with sushi, salmon, and other seafood.  Wasabi powder serves as a coating to edamame, peas, and almonds.  It is stirred into creamy sauces, like mayonnaise, or served as a salad dressing with ginger.  Wasabi is even used as a topping for popcorn.

Where Can You Buy Wasabi?

Because of the difficult growing conditions of wasabi plants, real wasabi is expensive and hard to find.  Real wasabi may be found in Asian or Japanese food stores.  Look for imitation wasabi in the condiments or international food aisle of the grocery store.  Wasabi is also found in international grocery stores.

How Do You Store Wasabi?

Store wasabi paste and powder in a sealed container in a cool, dark place.  Once opened, wasabi paste needs to be stored in the refrigerator.  Wrap fresh wasabi root in a damp paper towel, place it in an unsealed plastic bag, and store it in the refrigerator.

Fun Facts About Wasabi

Freshly grated wasabi loses its flavor quickly, about 15 minutes after being grated.

Did You Know?

Wasabi’s spice is felt in your nose, not on your tongue.

Recipes Using Wasabi

Homemade Imitation Wasabi

Can’t find real wasabi in your local grocery stores? Don’t worry! You can make your own at home. Combine horseradish, mustard, and a little green food coloring. While this doesn’t compare to real wasabi, the flavors are similar.

Wasabi Dressing

Add heat to your average salad dressing by using wasabi. Mix wasabi paste, soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice, and rice wine vinegar until incorporated. This dressing pairs well with coleslaw dishes.

Wasabi-Coated Almonds

Spice up your almond snacks with wasabi. Mix soy sauce and wasabi powder and stir almonds into the mixture. Spread almonds out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven. Once the almonds have cooled completely, toss through wasabi powder for an extra kick.

Wasabi Salmon

Create a wasabi marinade to boost the flavor of salmon. Place wasabi, ginger, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and salmon in a plastic bag. Allow salmon to soak for a few hours to overnight. Transfer fish and marinade to a skillet and cook until the fish is cooked through.

Wasabi Mayonnaise

Cool down the spice of wasabi with a creamy mayonnaise. Combine wasabi paste, mayonnaise, and honey in a bowl. For an additional creamy texture, mix in mashed avocado.


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