What Exactly Is WASABI And What Is good with?

1. What Is Wasabi?

fresh_wasabi

Fresh Wasabi, harvested from the farm

Wasabi is a plant that grows in a shoal of clean mountain river water. Its root is edible and is one of the common Japanese spices. Wasabi is usually eaten grated and fresh. Its leaves and stems are very pungent. It is mainly produced in Nagano, Shizuoka and Shimane prefectures.

2. How To Grow Wasabi

To grow wasabi requires a cool place and a lot of clear water. It is grown in the shade as it is intolerant of high temperatures and direct sunlight. Based on these conditions, there are 2 ways to grow wasabi.

Water-grown wasabi: It is grown in fountains of valleys or streams. Since it specifically needs plenty of clean water of a particular temperature, not a lot of places produce water-grown wasabi in Japan.

Farm-grown wasabi: It is grown in humid and cool places or greenhouses. Its root doesn’t grow as big as water-grown wasabi’s.

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Water-grown wasabi farm

Azumino_Nagano

Azumino, Nagano Prefecture, which is one of major wasabi producing area

3. Beneficial Effects

  • Antibacterial effect… The substance producing wasabi’s pungent taste can also restrain some kinds of bacteria that cause food poisoning such as O-157 and E-coli. It also restrains mold and yeast from growing.
  • Deodorant effect… Wasabi reduces fishy smells.
  • Appetite promoting effect… Wasabi helps digestion and increases appetite. The strong pungency stimulates your stomach promoting a healthy appetite, digestion and absorption.
  • Thrombosis Prevention … Wasabi prevents the blood platelets from condensing and blood from clotting. It smooths blood stream, and prevents hardening of the arteries and strokes.
  • Cancer prevention… Wasabi helps detoxify the body and get rid of              substances that cause cancer from the body.

 

4. Real Wasabi And Wasabi Paste

Most wasabi paste (usually in a tube) seen in daily life does not contain real wasabi at all or is mixed with horseradish (a kind of radish produced in Northern Europe and Hokkaido in Japan). Real wasabi is usually grated to be eaten. Its pungency and flavor are strongest 3-5 minutes after being grated, and after another 30 minutes you will feel wasabi is delicious. Real wasabi is much better in taste and flavor. On the negative side, it is produced less and is more expensive. Furthermore, it does not last long as the component of the flavor goes bad easily. On the other hand, horseradish is easy to process and is cheap. Therefore, it is often used for wasabi paste.

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Grated fresh wasabi

5. How To Eat

For Sushi and Steak 

A very common way to use wasabi is as a condiment with soy sauce for sushi and sashimi.  It is used not only for fish but for meat like steaks and hamburger steaks. used this way it keeps the taste of the meat itself intact while adding the light taste of wasabi.  Moreover, wasabi is able to kill the toxins of burnt meat.

wasabi_for_steak

Wasabi Sauce

Mixing wasabi with mayonnaise or soy sauce is another way to enjoy wasabi. You can also add garlic paste, olive oil, vinegar or sugar to match your preferred taste. Serve the sauce with carpaccio or any kind of steak like fish, meat and tofu!

Wasabi Dressing

Add a hint of wasabi to some dressings in your fridge. It goes perfectly with green salad!

For Soba

Condiment for soba is another way to use wasabi in Japan. The idea was introduced to remove the smell of bonito in the dashi (soup stock)

wasabi_topping_for_soba

Toppings for Soba

Tori-wasabi (chicken-wasabi)

Boil chicken and then slice it to eat with wasabi soy sauce.

Wasabi-chazuke (rice in soup with wasabi topping)

Place rice in a bowl topped with wasabi, rice cracker balls, seaweed, etc. and pour hot green tea over it. It is a popular light meal in Japan.

Wasabi Ice Cream

If you have a chance to visit to Shizuoka or Nagano prefecture in Japan, you may find Wasabi Ice Cream at a cafe, food truck or wasabi farm.  You will enjoy sweet and spicy taste!

wasabi_icecream

Wasabi is popular mostly among adults as the strong flavor brings the best out of the simple ingredients. Wasabi is amazing as it has many health benefits that people don’t know about such as promoting appetite. Why don’t you add a pinch of wasabi to your meal today?