10 Things You Don't Need to Know about Wasabi

Jan 05, 2009
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Wasabi is getting more and more popular in "fusion" cuisines around the world. asia! shares some facts on this well-loved Japanese chilli.

1.  Most sushi bars, even those in Japan, serve imitation wasabi – powdered horseradish, mustard seed and green food colouring, mixed with water – because authentic wasabi is expensive.

2.  Real wasabi is grated from the root of the wasabi plant, which grows naturally in the mountains of Japan.

3.  The best way to grate wasabi is with a sama-gawa, or sharkskin grater.

4.  Sushi chefs usually put the wasabi between the fish and the rice because the paste loses its flavour through evaporation.

5.  Wasabi contains a natural chemical that can fight certain cancer cells.

6.  You can make your own wasabi ice cream with 16 oz milk, 3 eggs, 4 oz castor sugar, 1 litre whipping cream and 4 tablespoons wasabi powder.

7.  The chemicals in wasabi that give it its unique flavour are called isothiocyanates.

8.  "Wasabi", a 2001 movie starring Jean Reno and Ryoko Hirosue, was released in France as "Wasabi, la petite moutarde qui monte au nez” (“Wasabi, the little mustard that gets up your nose").

9.  Wasabi is also the name of a type of microchip used in the Wii game console.

10.  In Japanese, horseradish is known as seiyō wasabi, or "Western wasabi".