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All About Wasabi | Know Your Spice Wasabi or Japanese Horseradish (Eutrema japonicum)

All About Wasabi | Know Your Spice Wasabi or Japanese Horseradish (Eutrema japonicum)

All About Wasabi | Know Your Spice Wasabi or Japanese Horseradish (Eutrema japonicum)

All About Wasabi | Know Your Spice Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum)

Wasabi (Eutrema japonicum or Wasabia japonica) is also known as the Japanese horseradish. It is an herbaceous perennial & one of the common condiments to be found in several Asian regions.

It belongs to the same Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family of plants such as cabbage and horseradish but it is not in any way related to the species of horseradish.

It has a strong odour as well as taste as that found in horseradish; however this is where the similarity ends.

This plant has a taste similar to that of hot mustard and is mainly utilised as a condiment. This is usually consumed as a part of a Japanese cuisine and also is a staple diet of the country.

It is known for its strong taste and hotness when used as a condiment to accompany favorite food dishes. It can be found most frequently in horseradish, mustard and chili peppers.

The Japanese frequently flavour their sushi and sashimi by sprinkling it with wasabi. It is also used as a flavour enhancer with noodles, soup, rice, fish and meats that have been barbequed.

Since its spicy taste and temperature are quite intense, it is not recommended to use more than a dash of it on food, especially if someone is tasting it for the first time.

Every part of the the plant is used to promote health and well-being.

What are the other names of Wasabi?

Japanese horseradish names in other languages are given below.
Indian Languages Other Languages
Hindi:
Bengali: 
Gujarati:

Kannada: 
Malayalam
:
Marathi: 
Punjabi:
 
Sanskrit:
 
Tamil:
 
Telugu:
 
Latin (Botanical): Eutrema japonicum or Wasabia japonica
Arabic: Wasabi
Chinese:
Saan kwai
Dutch:
Bergstokroos, Japanse mierikswortel
English: Japanese horseradish
French:
Raifort du Japon
German: Bergstockrose, Japanischer Kren
Japanese: Wasabi, Namida
Portuguese: Rabanete-japonês
Swedish
: Japansk pepparrot

What exactly is Wasabi?

Get to know more about Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum)

Spice card – all about wasabi | know your spice wasabi or japanese horseradish (eutrema japonicum)

Wasabi or Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum or Wasabia japonica) is a plant of the family Brassicaceae, which also includes horseradish and mustard in other genera.

The Wasabia japonica plant is incredibly hard to grow because it needs to be partially submerged in moving water. In Japan, the wild plants grow in rocky river beds.

Botanically, it is a small herb growing about 2 feet tall from the soil surface and features broad, heart-shaped leaves.

The wasabi paste is made from its grated rhizomes (like a plant stem that grows underground where you would expect to see a root) is used as a pungent condiment for sushi and other foods.

Due to the high volatility of the flavour compounds, after grating the rhizome, the heat only lasts for, at most, fifteen minutes.

However, over 90% of the paste served with your California roll, or offered as an addition to your poke bowl, does not contain any real wasabi.

Since authentic herb is expensive, most wasabi found in grocery stores and with prepackaged sushi is made of powdered horseradish and artificial color.

It may also contain mustard powder and thickening agents like flour or cornstarch.

Real wasabi paste is made by grating the plant rhizome. In order to capture the most flavour possible, real wasabi is always served freshly grated with a ceramic or metal oroshigane.

The traditional method for grating is to run the rhizome in circles over sharkskin which acts like sandpaper, shearing very fine pieces of wasabi from the root.

What is the nutritional value of Wasabi?

Find out about the nutritional value of Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum)

It is an excellent source of vitamin-C. At 41.9 mg per 100 g of this vitamin; it possesses nearly twice the amount that in horseradish (24.9 mg/100 g) Vitamin-C is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant.

It is a very good source of minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron, copper, calcium (128 mg/100 g), and magnesium.

The rhizome also has average levels of essential vitamins such as folate, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.

What is the chemical composition of Wasabi?

Know and understand about chemical composition of Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum)

The characteristic flavour of wasabi paste condiment comes from the volatile isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are evolved from glucosinolates by enzymatic hydrolysis when tissues are macerated.

These isothiocyanates, include:

  • 6-methylthiohexyl isothiocyanate,
  • 7-methylthioheptyl isothiocyanate and
  • 8-methylthiooctyl isothiocyanate.

Research has shown that isothiocyanates have beneficial effects such as inhibiting microbial growth.

What is the history of Wasabi?

Know more about the origins & the story behind Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum)

According to the Tokyo Foundation, archaeological evidence shows that wasabi had found its way into the dinner plate by at least the Jōmon Period (14,000 BC to 400 BC).

Archaeological excavations of remains from the Jōmon period show these ancient hunter-gatherers were eating wild, small-rooted, sawa wasabi along with fish, seafood, deer, nuts & tubers.

This shows that this pungent spice was present in the earliest period of ancient Japanese civilization.

The word “wasabi” can be found in “Honzo Wamyo,” Japan’s oldest encyclopedia of medicinal plants compiled during 901 to 923 by Sukehito Fukane.

This suggests that wasabi was used medicinally at this time.

The “Engishiki,” Japan’s oldest collection of laws and customs, also mentions wasabi, which indicates it was collected as a tax from states around the capital.

In Mie Prefecture, around the year 786, the Japanese Buddhist monk Kohbou-Daishi transplanted wild-growing wasabi in Mount Koya to the area surrounding the Chuzen-ji Temple.

Japanese history describes the defeat of the Heike clan in the Dan-noura war, from Bunji years 3 to 5 (from 795 to 797). The survivors fled to other parts of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu.

Some of them settled near Mount Bahun, located in the upriver district of the Nishiki River.

The Heike survivors are believed to have gathered wild Wasabi to use as a seasoning for slices of raw yamame (a kind of trout), and raw venison.

With this knowledge of Kyoto cuisine, they ate pickled vegetables made from stems and leaves of Wasabi along with many other edible wild plants.

Wasabi is first thought to have begun being used in the modern way as a seasoning for sushi during the Bunka/Bunsei era of the Edo period (1804–1830).

Today, commercial enterprises farm wasabi rhizomes in mountain environs in the Shizuoka prefecture on Izu peninsula as well as in the Azumino plains of the Nagano prefecture.

Effective wasabi horticulture practices are still carefully guarded secrets.

What are the uses of Wasabi?

How is Japanese horseradish used?
  • In food, it helps against illnesses. Its antibacterial properties have been shown to be highly effective against E. coli and other bacteria, which cause food poisoning.
  • A few pharmaceutical companies have even started using this ingredient in antibacterial creams.
  • As a condiment. It is a versatile condiment which can be seen added to soba noodles, to dipping sauces served with yakiniku, wasabi rice bowls, unagi (eel) chazuke, and more.
  • As a seasoning. A small amount of condiment is often used to season fish in nigiri, applied between the fish and the rice, “shari” (rice) and “neta” (slice of fish or seafood).
  • Add to salad dressing. Like yuzu kosho, it can lend dimension to salad dressings.
  • As a salad. Some people sprinkle wasabi leaves into a salad or bake them in the oven as a healthy alternative to chips.

What does Wasabi taste like?

What is the the taste of Japanese horseradish?

Wasabi is a condiment that accentuates the delicate taste of fish, enhancing it to a higher level. It packs a powerful punch when eaten immediately after preparation.

It has a super-spicy flavor that takes a roller-coaster ride up your nasal passage and sticks around for a while.

How Much Wasabi Should I Use?

What is the the recommended quantity of Japanese horseradish for a day?

The best way to go about this process is to pluck a pea-sized dollop of paste from the serving plate and drop it in the mixing dish you’re provided with.

Add a few drops of soy sauce (not too much) and stir to dissolve the wasabi. When you are satisfied no clump is left, add more soy sauce to taste.

Alternatively,

To use it correctly you should spread the paste lightly on one side of the fish. You should then dip the other side of the fish into the soy sauce.

The Wasabi should not come into contact with the soy sauce. This is typical when eating nigiri sushi.


Fresh wasabi (wasabia japonica)


What are the ayurvedic properties of Wasabi?

Information about ayurvedic details of Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum).

Rasa (Taste): Tikta (Bitter), Tiksna (Pungent)
Guna (Qualities): Cala or Sara (Mobile), Laghu (Light), Ushna (Hot)
Veerya (Potency): Ushna (Hot)
Vipaka (Taste conversion after digestion): Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
Karma (Actions): Pacifies Kapha and Vata dosha. Aggravates Pitta


Homemade fresh wasabi paste


What can I use Wasabi for?

Learn how to use Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum) in your food & beverages.
  • Try a combination of soy sauce and wasabi to eat on your sashimi
  • Mix wasabi in with some cold soba noodles (thin Japanese noodles)
  • Paste it between the fish and veggies in your sushi rolls
  • Try a wasabi zuke (a Japanese wasabi pickle made with sake lees)
  • Eat some wasabi peanuts & peas.
  • Wasabi salad dressing for that extra kick? Mix wasabi with sesame and ginger for a flavour packed punch
  • Wasabi mayonnaise ? If you dare, mix a bit in at home to make your own. It will add a fresh kick to any sandwich or anything you put it in.
  • Wasabi BBQ hot sauce ? It is great for grilling seafood and chicken.
  • Wasabi in hummus gives your hummus the spicy kick that you’re looking for.
  • Spice up your normal mashed potatoes with some wasabi.

How do I prepare Wasabi for food?

Learn how to prepare Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum) in your food & beverages.

To prepare wasabi do not remove the skin from the stem prior to grating, as it contains a lot of flavour. Just thoroughly clean the skin, and remove any small knobs around the main stem with a sharp knife.

To get the most of this rhizome’s unique pungency, it needs to be grated with a sharp grater that has very small teeth. Grate it in a slow, light, and circular motion to gently release its intense compounds.

A traditional tool for grating this rhizome is a grater made with real shark skin, which helps to break it down into a very fine, paste-like consistency.

You can also use a ceramic or metal oroshigane or oroshiki (grating steel).

How long does Wasabi last?

Learn about how long does Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum) last in storage.

Fresh whole wasabi rhizome may last up to a few weeks when stored in a refrigerator. However, upon grating, the flavour lasts only for about 15-20 minutes.

How do I store Wasabi?

Learn about how to store Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum).

Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap, and store it in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for up to a few weeks. It can also be stored this way in the freezer, and grated while frozen.

Is there a substitute for Wasabi?

Learn how to use a substitute for Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum) if unavailable
  • Horseradish is by far the best pure available alternative to wasabi. It is a substitute for the pure root that you would find in a restaurant in Japan. Use it in the same proportion as the recipe demands.
  • Spicy brown mustard that also contains allyl isothiocyanate, so there is a spiciness match.

Where do I buy Wasabi from?

Where to Locate Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum) in the Grocery Store?

Most wasabi that you find in the grocery store is a mixture of several ingredients, some that include real wasabi, but only a small percentage.

You can buy pastes and powders that can be reconstituted by adding water. If you can find it, you can buy real wasabi – in the form of a full, fresh rhizome straight from the farm.

Your best bet for experiencing the real thing is finding a Japanese restaurant that offers it on their menu and makes it fresh.

What are the health benefits of Wasabi?

Learn about health benefits of Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum)

The following are health benefits of Wasabi (Eutrema japonicum) or Japanese horseradish

  • Health Benefits of Wasabi as an Antioxidant – Wasabi has various isothiocyanate antioxidants that are very beneficial in eliminating free radicals throughout the body’s systems.
  • Health Benefits of Japanese horseradish as an Anticancer Agent – Studies have shown that one form of isothiocyanate in wasabi, 6-MITC, has been clearly shown to inhibit the expansion of leukemia and stomach cancer cells. It actually promotes apoptosis (cell death) within 24 hours of consumption.
  • Health Benefits of Wasabi for Heart Health – has anti-hypercholesterolemic properties which help in lowering high cholesterol levels in the human body and reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
  • Health Benefits of Japanese horseradish as an Antimicrobial Agent – The powerful, natural components of wasabi have also been shown to fight off bacterial infections.
  • Health Benefits of Wasabi for Respiration – Wasabi can be a strong line of defense against certain respiratory tract pathogens.
  • Health Benefits of Wasabi for Digestion – Wasabi can prevent gut inflammation and prevent the risk of diverticulitis or leaky gut syndrome. This benefit is attributed to its high-fiber nature which helps bulk up the stool, thereby improving the digestion process and improving overall gut health.
  • Health Benefits of Wasabi Against Cavities – A Japanese study led by Dr. Hideki Masuda found that isothiocyanate in wasabi helps to prevent tooth decay by inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus mutans. Apparently, isothiocyanate interferes with sugar-dependent adherence of the bacterium to teeth and thus protects from decay or cavities.
  • Health Benefits of Japanese horseradish Against Ageing – Anti-aging benefits of wasabi are accredited to 6-methylthiohexyl isothiocyanate (6-MSITC), a sulfinyl compound present in it. 6-MSITC helps the body lower reactive oxygen.
  • Health Benefits of Wasabi for Blood Circulation – As well as keeping you younger, 6-MSITC that we mentioned earlier also works to inhibit blood clot formation.
  • Health Benefits of Japanese horseradish Against Hypertension – High potassium-low sodium is great for relaxing blood vessels, increasing blood flow, and protecting from hypertension.
  • Health Benefits of Wasabi Against Arthritis – Because of its excellent anti-inflammatory properties, consuming wasabi is a natural way to treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
  • Health Benefits of Wasabi Against Diabetes – Wasabi is often recommended by some doctors to diabetic patients, as it is a rich source of dietary fiber. Also, the same dietary fiber can lower your risk from strokes.
  • Health Benefits of Japanese horseradish as Immunity Booster – Wasabi is rich in antioxidants and various vitamins, including vitamin C. So a steady diet of wasabi should help to boost your overall metabolic health and your immune system.
  • Health Benefits of Wasabi to Stimulate Bone Metabolism – Wasabi is rich in vitamins, proteins and antioxidants. Moreover, it is proven to have a beneficial effect on your bone metabolism and is known to prevent several bone and muscular disorders.

All About Wasabi | Know Your Spice Wasabi or Japanese Horseradish (Eutrema japonicum)
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Wasabi - Homemade Wasabi Paste Recipe

Wasabi - Homemade Wasabi Paste Recipe - An essential accompaniment for sushi or sushi bowls & if you find fresh wasabi rhizomes in specialty Asian grocery stores.
Course Condiment
Cuisine Japanese
Diet Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword Homemade Wasabi Paste, Homemade Wasabi Paste Recipe, Wasabi, Wasabi Paste, Wasabi Paste Recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 Serving
Calories 5kcal
Author Sumit Malhotra

Ingredients

  • 1 Piece Fresh Wasabi Rhizome
  • 0.5 Teaspoons Cold water

Instructions

  • Rinse the wasabi under cool running water.
  • Clean and trim off any bumps.
  • Cut a segment for the amount you wish to use and store the rest.
  • With the thick end of the wasabi held perpendicular to the grater, press tightly and use a small circular motion to grate the wasabi.
  • Once the wasabi is grated, press on the paste to further release the flavours and maximise the taste.
  • Gather and press the grated wasabi into a small ball.
  • Your wasabi paste is ready.

Notes

  • Make only that much wasabi paste you intend to use. Fresh wasabi paste loses its potency rapidly.

Tools & Equipment Used For This Recipe

The links below the image lead to product links on Amazon.in & Amazon.com respectively

Wasabi Grater

FInally! To Sum It Up

All About Wasabi (Eutrema japonicum) | Uses & Health Benefits of Wasabi

Spice card – all about wasabi | know your spice wasabi or japanese horseradish (eutrema japonicum)

Wasabi (Eutrema japonicum or Wasabia japonica) is also known as the Japanese horseradish. Wasabi is an herbaceous perennial & one of the common condiments to be found in several Asian regions.

It belongs to the same Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family of plants such as cabbage and horseradish but it is not in any way related to the species of horseradish.

It has a strong odour as well as taste as that found in horseradish; however this is where the similarity ends.

This plant has a taste similar to that of hot mustard and is mainly utilised as a condiment. This is usually consumed as a part of a Japanese cuisine and also is a staple diet of the country.

Wasabi is known for its strong taste and hotness when used as a condiment to accompany favorite food dishes. It can be found most frequently in horseradish, mustard and chili peppers.

The Japanese frequently flavour their sushi and sashimi by sprinkling it with wasabi. It is also used as a flavour enhancer with noodles, soup, rice, fish and meats that have been barbequed.

Since its spicy taste and temperature are quite intense, it is not recommended to use more than a dash of it on food, especially if someone is tasting wasabi for the first time.

Every part of the plant is used to promote health and well-being.

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