Gourmet Food Source
Wasabi is a perennial plant, which grows naturally along streams in the mountainous valleys of Japan. The plant, which grows to twenty inches in height produces, a rhizome as it ages and this is the fresh root from which wasabi is obtained. The leaves from the plant can also be eaten and share some of the roots spiciness.
What we in the West believe to be wasabi (the squeezy tube of green paste in our bento box of sushi) is usually nothing more than horseradish mixed with mustard and green food colouring. True wasabi is very hard to find outside of its native Japan although it has been cultivated in America hence the reason for the common substitute.
Japanese sushi chefs grate the fresh root on a traditional grater made of dried sharkskin which is said to make a smoother paste whilst in the West it can be found in ready to use paste form or as dried powder to which a little cold water is added.
Wasabi, along with soy sauce and pickled ginger is the tradional accompaniment to sushi and sashimi and should be eaten in moderation as it can be very hot.
Content and picture © Miles Collins