So you are at a sushi restaurant, and on a small plate is served an incredibly potent green paste. Ever wonder what that was? It’s called wasabi, you may be surprised to learn that it is very similar to horseradish sauce out in the west.
Let’s take a look at what types of wasabi exist. From there, we will look at that ways that it can be served as well as the differences between real wasabi and the more common horseradish sauce you can buy throughout the west. With that out of the way, let the Wasabi 101 tutorial commence!
Types of Wasabi
Generally speaking, wasabi is a root vegetable that is popular in English horseradish sauce and Japanese wasabi. A frequent condiment to raw seafood, wasabi comes in a variety of forms when served. That being said, the main types of wasabi include the versions consumed under the label of horseradish, and the versions consumed under the label wasabi. Fundamental differences in taste help to split these into two different categories.
Forms Wasabi Can Be Served In
Wasabi can be served in a number of different forms. A popular form for wasabi to be served in is as a liquid paste. The paste is generally considered the most similar to horseradish in taste. Along with the paste, wasabi can sometimes be served as a coarse solid similar in appearance to sand. Moldable, this wasabi is a popular option for upscale restaurants and authentic eateries. Finally, there is wasabi powder, which is hotter than the average wasabi or horseradish, and is typically made from the green horseradish plant.
The Differences Between real Wasabi And The More Common Horseradish/Mustard/Food Colouring
While wasabi may share a taste and origin similar to horseradish, there are numerous fine differences between the two.
First, wasabi tastes far smoother and does not have the lingering burning sensation that horseradish has.
Second, it tastes far more plant-like and less artificial. Typically, the paste served in restaurants is harder and coarser than real wasabi.
In contrast to mustard and other products that utilize food colouring for similar affect, wasabi is in a completely different playing field. When trying to find authentic wasabi, it will all come down to being able to identify the taste and the freshness of the wasabi.With some practice, you can develop a fine palette for this particular condiment, ensuring that the next time you go out to a Japanese restaurant, you will be fully informed and capable of providing your own tutorial to friends on ‘wasabi 101.’