Japanese ingredients for your healthy life

How to use wasabi

The ultimate taste addition

So youfve done your research, you know now that wasabi is a very innocent looking little paste with a big flavour hit, chances are you know this because the first time you are it was by accident when you curiously stared at the little paste rosette on your Sushi plate and thought gHmm, I wonder what that is?h ? a couple seconds later you are basically pouring the water jug sitting on the table down your throat whilst waving at your face to try cool yourself down. (Sound familiar?)

 

What you might not yet know is that when used properly wasabi can deliver flavours that are unbelievable, it packs a mean punch but when its used in the right dish with the right quantity it can turn good food into a brilliant eMust have it every day for the rest of my lifef type dish.

 

First and foremost the easiest way to use or eat wasabi is with Sushi or Sashimi. Japanese have made this little amazing trick so famous that it is known worldwide and very popular with daring westerners. The reason I say edaringf westerners is because many still just dip their sashimi in the soy sauce and leave the wasabi sitting on the side of the plate, scared that it is too hot to eat. Many are also unsure of the amount to eat and the etiquette with this dish. Here goes:

 

Traditional Wasabi/Sashimi rules ? to mix or not to mix? That is the question. The correct technique is to place a small amount of wasabi on each piece of you sushi or sashimi, you do this using your chopstick (always remember, less is more!). However these days it is becoming increasingly common for people outside of Japan to mix their wasabi in Soy Sauce as a dipping sauce for the sushi, whilst itfs not the gcorrect Japanese techniqueh it is acceptable and no one will judge you, not even in Japan. This is an easier way to incorporate wasabi into your dish, the saltiness of the soy sauce eliminates some of the hot flavour in the wasabi making it flavoursome and very enjoyable.

 

Now, here is a little something you may not know that could potentially change the way you eat wasabi in your dish. It is rumoured that the extra wasabi on your plate is put there as a trick, when chefs or sushi restaurant owners see people mixing extra wasabi in with our soy sauce this is when they stop giving us their best fish, because we are putting so much flavours and spice onto it to coat it we wonft know the difference, they are going to save the best fish for someone else. A good sushi chef actually puts a little bit of wasabi into the piece of sushi when he prepares it, there shouldnft be any more or any less wasabi on that piece of sushi, any more will generally overwhelm the very delicate flavours of some of the fish. That is just a little something for you to think about next time you are in your local sushi restaurant. Another little tip to go along side that from Trevor Corson, author of eThe story of Sushif is to sit at the bar and tell the chef that you are not going to add extra wasabi to your fish and ask him to season the sushi the way the chef wants you to eat it. A good sushi chef will paint a little sheen of sauce with a brush across the top of the sushi and maybe add a garnish and then give it to you. This is the ideal way to eat it ? just put it in your mouth and enjoy. Of course these tips donft apply unless you are eating the dish at a Sushi bar where it is prepared fresh, you obviously donft have this choice if you are just grabbing one from your local Sushi takeaway.

 

Another great way to enjoy wasabi is mixed in with cold Soba noodles. Soba noodles are a thin Japanese noodle made from Buckwheat flour; they can be used in many forms such as salads, soups or simply on their own. A common dish is to cook them cook them up and allow them to cool and go cold, add in tofu as a protein and create a sauce (generally this is made with Soy Sauce and lemon juice and a small amount of wasabi) the wasabi adds the flavour without an overpowering hotness making for a beautiful salty dish.

 

Now, how about trying these not so commonly known ways to eat Wasabi, some of them you may need to visit your local Asian grocer for, but itfs worth it!

 

There are many ways to use it such as mixing it in with regular sauces such as BBQ sauce to make a nice sauce that goes well as a marinade or dipping sauce with barbequed chicken and meats, mixing it in with Japanese mayonnaise to make a lovely dipping sauce, mixing it in with pickles to make it spicier, putting it in with your sushi roll (it goes really well with fish and avocado, mixing it with soy sauce and putting on top of your sashimi and mixing it with peanuts or peas which is a yummy snack!

 

What once was a condiment that most have been afraid of (maybe since that first time you ate too much of it thinking it was some avocado on your sushi plate) you are now armed with information and knowledge that will help you eat and enjoy this fine flavour enhancing condiment, so what are you waiting for.

 

Tips to remember when eating wasabi:

  • Less is more
  • Have water nearby at all times
  • Try and enjoy the taste sensation without concentrating on the hotness

 

Used sparingly and correctly Wasabi can be amongst one of the most flavoursome condiments created, and best of all when you make it yourself there are no nasty additives or flavours, it is basically just a natural plant extract mixed with a few secret (or not so secret) ingredients ? why not try it in your next dish?