WASABI IN THE KITCHEN.
Wasabi adds a unique flavor and heat to foods and is described as having a sharp, hot, vegetable taste that enhanced flavors, acting much like salt. Wasabi’s heat component is different from chilies, as the hotness quickly dissipates in the mouth leaving a mild vegetable taste.
The rhizome can be grated fresh to add heat and complexity to a variety of dishes including meats, sauces, dressings, noodles and soups. The heat is volatile and both oleophilic and hydrophilic and can be transferred to oil and spirits to make infusions. The entire plant is edible and flavorful including the rhizome, leaves and stems. Leaves and stems can be served fresh or cooked. The relatively small amount of heat in the leaves and stems will diminish when cooked and taste similar to sautéed spinach and asparagus respectively. Some of our customer’ favorite uses include:
- Steak with fresh wasabi (and dipped in soy sauce). Imagine steak with a bit of asparagus on the fork with a horseradish heat. (Also a neo-traditional Japanese use)
- French fries with fresh wasabi (also in wasabi aioli)
- Wasabi fresh grated onto a raw oyster
- Mashed potatoes with fresh wasabi
- Soba Noodles with Fresh Wasabi and sautéed vegetables (a Japanese version of Pasta Primavera)
- Fresh wasabi on a hamburger
- Fresh wasabi grated into an asian salad
- Wasabi-infused vodka bloody mary (or grated and stirred)
- Fresh Wasabi ceviche
- Wasabi vinaigrette salad dressing
- Fresh wasabi grated into miso soup or stew.
- See below photo for use of all wasabi plant parts in one dish.
GRATE FRESH WASABI
1. Scrub the rhizome with a stiff brush under cold running water and pat dry.
2. Hold the rhizome perpendicular to a Wasabi grater. Grate using a circular motion until a fine paste is obtained.
3. Grate only what will be used within 10 or 15 minutes as the flavor will begin to dissipate within a short period of time.
4. With you fingers, compress the wasabi paste against the side of a small bowl or the bottom of a plate. This will help retain the flavor and heat.
For an instructional video using our wasabi, see our video page.
LEAVES AND STEMS
These can be eaten fresh, pickled or sautéed. They taste similar to mustard greens and have heat. The stems are hotter than the leaf. Fresh, they are great in salads or as a compote for proteins. With a quick (20- minute) pickling solution of salt and sugar, the leaves and stems can be pickled (called Wasabi zuke). This is also good in salads or as a protein compote or in noodles. Sauteed they are a great appetizer or addition to noodle dishes or salads.
The rhizomes keep fresh for at least three weeks in the refrigerator. The quality is nearly completely unaffected if stored correctly. Rhizomes stored properly can be used for two months or more. However, once it’s grated, the heat and flavor evaporate from the paste in about half an hour. It has to do with breaking the cell walls (maceration). Once the rhizome is grated and the cell walls broken, the heat and flavor are volatile. Thus, the plant is both robust for storage, but delicate for serving; somewhat like wine. It will keep for a long time, but once uncorked, it’s time to celebrate.
Wrap each individual rhizome in a wet paper towel and refrigerate in an open bowl or an open plastic vegetable bag. Re-wet the paper towel every few days. If the Wasabi darkens, peel the outer layer lightly with a potato peeler (we prefer the back of a knife) before grating. The cut areas will oxidize only superficially; the heat and flavor will remain unchanged under the oxidized layer. The leaves and stems will keep fresh for one week in the refrigerator stored in the same way you would other fresh greens.
Grate what will only be used within the next ½ hour. Do not grate and store. If this is necessary, we recommend to grate, put the paste into a ramekin and cover with plastic.
We recommend to purchase less frequently and purchase a greater volume. We only ship and shipping costs can be relatively similar to small volume orders. As the wasabi keeps for so long, undiminished, many customers are ordering twice as much as they need that week and saving on shipping costs.
Please see our blog for details of long-term storage.