Wasabi – Japan’s Most Famous Vegetable

Wasabi, although relatively well known in the West, is still a mystery to many. What is it actually, where does it come from, and how is it made? We will answer these and a lot more in this introductory guide to Japan’s most famous vegetable.

Topics Covered

  • What is wasabi?
  • What is wasabi sauce?
    • How to make the sauce
  • Is wasabi healthy?
  • Where to buy the original
Eden Foods wasabi powderPowder from Eden Foods in 0.88oz quantity
Wasabi powderPowder from D’allesandro in 14oz quantity
Wasabi paste3x tubes (43g per tube) paste from the Wasabi brand

So what exactly is wasabi?

Grating wasabi root
A chef grating a wasabi root.

Wasabi is one of Japan’s most famous vegetables and is a common ingredient in many types of Japanese cuisine as a side dish or condiment. It grows naturally throughout Japan’s mountainous river valley regions and is also grown on numerous large-scale wasabi farms. The root, which is one of the world’s most difficult vegetables to grow, is mostly unknown outside of Japan, and only became popularized in the West because of sushi.

The wasabi found inside of Japan is mainly for domestic use, and finding it outside the country is rare. Many of the restaurants and food outlets outside of Japan that claim to offer it do not have the real thing. Instead, they offer mustard mixed with horseradish and green food coloring. Therefore, chances are extremely good that you have never had the real thing unless you had it in Japan.

What is wasabi sauce?

Wasabi sauce is ground-up pieces of wasabi root with water added to make a paste. It is almost always consumed as a sauce or paste and making it is easy.

Wasabi paste
Wasabi paste served alongside sushi rolls.

How to make the sauce:

What you will need: Wasabi roots and a blender or powder, some water, and a bowl.

Step 1:

Ideally, you want it in powder form. If you have the powder, then skip to step 2, but if you have the roots, then you will first have to make it into a powder. Doing so is easy as you simply place some of the roots into a blender and blend it until it becomes a fine powder.

Step 2:

Take three teaspoons of the powder and mix it with one teaspoon of water into a bowl.

Step 3:

Turn the bowl upside down and allow it to stand for one minute. The reason for turning the bowl upside down is so that water and humidity do not accumulate at the bottom of your mixture. After a minute has passed, turn the bowl the right way around again, and now you have wasabi sauce!

Is wasabi healthy?

There are health benefits, but the vegetable is consumed in tiny amounts because of its strong taste and burning effect. Therefore, the consumer doesn’t get its full nutritional value unless, of course, the consumer has the supernatural ability to eat large quantities of it.

The vegetable has excellent anti-microbial properties, which is why its always consumed with raw fish. It’s so efficient in that department that in Japan, it’s not uncommon for small amounts of it to be added as an ingredient to toothpaste. Other possible benefits include anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, and it may also be useful for blood thinning.

Where to buy the original

Finding real wasabi outside of Japan can be difficult, but your best bet is to visit your nearest Asian grocery store. Alternatively, order it online directly from Japan! Here we have listed two such products – the chopped and powdered varieties.

Wasabi powder from Eden Foods

This 0.88oz container of 100% real wasabi is imported from Japan and packaged by Eden Foods in the US.

The product contains horseradish, 100% real wasabi, and mustard. To use, simply add a little bit of water to the powder.

Wasabi powder from D’allesandro

Liven up your meals with this wasabi powder. Sprinkle it over food or add a little bit of water to make your own sauce. It also goes great when mixing it with regular mayonnaise. It comes in a jar that contains 14 ounces of powder so it will last a very long time.

Wasabi paste from the Wasabi brand

This product comes as a paste (3x 43-gram tubes), so no preparation is needed. The taste is hot and intense and goes perfectly with sushi and sashimi. The only downside to this product is that each tube contains 43 grams, so it’s a bit small.

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