If you eat sushi, then you probably heard of Wasabi.
Yes, that green hot staff you find in your nigiri between fish and sushi rice. Or you will see it on the edge of your sashimi plate. At the sushi bar, Wasabi may be accompanied by gari, pickled ginger at the edge of your sushi plate.
It’s not something you expect to find other than a sushi restaurant, correct?
Well, if you are in the US and many other non-Japanese countries, that is true: it’s likely sushi restaurant be the only place you’ll find Wasabi.
But in Japan, Wasabi is served with many non-sushi dishes. Soba noodle and chicken yakitori are some of the good examples.
When I say Wasabi, I am talking about the fresh Wasabi — not the powdered kind you are served at most of the sushi restaurants in the US.
I’ve mentioned this (and written many articles) repeatedly that, what most sushi eaters in the US think Wasabi is not Wasabi at all. It is horseradish with some food coloring (and mustard, which is the cause of “hotness.”)
Because I know how different and fantastic fresh wasabi is, I’ve been serving it every time I do private omakase style sushi dinners for my clients.
Most of them are shocked (pleasantly) and say, “Amazing!”
This is one of the reasons I decided to host a wasabi event.
On March 30, 2021, I hosted an online talk and demonstration event in conjunction with San Francisco Professional Food Society: Wasabi, not just for sushi.
I asked Jeff Roller, Co-owner of Half Moon Bay Wasabi company, about interesting and creative recipes he loves.
“Bloody Mary,” he told me without hesitation.
“What?? Wasabi Bloody Mary?” I shouted.
“Yes. Use fresh Wasabi instead of horseradish,” Jeff smiled. “But you need to use it twice as much as the horseradish.
“I had no idea you put horseradish in Bloody Mary, which goes to show you how much Bloody Mary I drink,” I said.
So, I purchased all the ingredients from the recipe I found online (from liquor.com)
Them, I made my first Wasabi Bloody Mary!
The biggest takeaway for me from talking to Jeff was that the best part of enjoying fresh Wasabi is the grating part.
When you can smell the fantastic aroma of fresh Wasabi, you know the dish you are about to eat with wasabi will be awesome. It is, as if, you’re mentally getting ready to eat that wasabi. The aroma is sending a message to your brain: Get ready. You are about to experience this fantastic aromatic thing.
I always focused on the finished grated Wasabi — the taste and aroma, but the process of grating it is a big part of the experience.
This is why I highly recommend trying fresh Wasabi if you haven’t experienced it.
There are many wasabi farmers in the US, who sell fresh wasabi online. Of course, Half Moon Bay Wasabi sells them also.
Buy Fresh wasabi from Half Moon Bay Wasabi Company.
Wasabi Bloody Mary
(Based on the Bloody Mary recipe from Liquor.com)
Freshly grated wasabi should be used within twenty minutes of being grated.
Here is a video showing how to grate wasabi:
1 lemon wedge
1 lime wedge
2 ounces vodka
4 oz. tomato juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated Wasabi
2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch smoked paprika
Garnish: lime wedge
Garnish: celery stalk
Grate fresh wasabi using wasabi grater (or metal grater).
Squeeze lemon and lime wedges into a shaker.
Add vodka, tomato juice, wasabi, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, smoked paprika, ice, and shake gently.
Pour into a glass.
Garnish with a lime wedge and celery stalk.