Eating Only the Real Wasabi

Mar 07, 2016 12:24 AM EST | By Rhea Penaflor (media@latinospost.com)

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We love sushi.  We love the Japanese dish.  We love dipping our sushi with wasabi inj fancy Japanese restaurants and we always think that we are eating the "real" wasabi but most often, we don't get the real deal.

So, how do you know if you are eating the "real" wasabi?

Here's your simple guide to determine that you only get to the real stuff, the real wasabi:

1.  Wasabi is your Japanese horseradish.

The ingredients are cabbageshorseradish, and mustard.

2. Fresh wasabi leaves can be eaten, having the spicy flavor of wasabi stems. It should not burn your tongue!

3.  Real wasabi loses its flavor after 15 minutes of being left uncovered.    

Wasabi paste is prepared when the customer orders, and is made using a grater to grate the stem; once the paste is prepared, it loses flavor in 15 minutes if left uncovered. In sushi preparation, sushi chefs usually put the wasabi between the fish and the rice because covering wasabi until served preserves its flavor.

4.  Real Wasabi is expensive since it is difficult to cultivate. An alternative is a mixture of horseradish,mustardstarch and green food coloring. Outside Japan, it is rare to find real wasabi plants. Often packages are labeled as wasabi while the ingredients do not actually include wasabi plant. Wasabi and Horseradish are similar in taste and pungency due to similar Isothiocyanate levels. The primary difference between the two is color with Wasabi being naturally green. In Japan, horseradish is referred to as seiyō wasabi (西洋わさび, "western wasabi"). In the United States, true wasabi is generally found only at specialty grocers and high-end restaurants.

If you're not sure of the Japanese restaurant offering you wasabi, you may also roast or fry legumes such as peanuts, soybeans and peas and then coat them with wasabi powder and mix some sugar, salt or oil.  That will make a crunchy snack.  Try it!

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