Updated: Sep 30
If you think of “hot” when you hear the word wasabi, my guess is you probably haven’t had a chance to experience the fresh wasabi. Fresh ground wasabi is rather sweet. Sure, it does have the slight and mild “hotness” initially, but it only lasts for a brief moment, leaving long lasting mild sweet aftertaste and aroma.
Wasabi's "hotness" comes from the oxidization of sinigrin, glucosinolate substance found in broccoli, mustard, and horseradish. When the wasabi is grounder, sinigrin makes contact with oxygen. Most of the hotness lasts ten to twenty minutes. It is said the finer you grind, the better it is. The traditional grinder is made of shark skin - said to produce a hot but mild sweet taste when wasabi is grounded.
But, wasabi roll does not use ground wasabi normally put on nigiri, or used for sashimi. Instead, wasabi is thinly cut – matchstick, or Julienne– and rolled into Nori/Seaweed out, cut into 6 pcs. The result is much different taste characteristics than ground wasabi. Matchstick wasabi is not hot at all because oxidization occurs only on the outside cut surface of wasabi.
In Japan, a Wasabi roll is generally served at the end of the sushi meal, regarded as one of the finishing pieces.
(Fresh Wasabi root)
Use Fresh Wasabi
In the US, there are some wasabi farms in Oregon and California. Half Moon Bay Wasabi Company is one of them, who can ship fresh wasabi.
Soak fresh wasabi in water and store in the refrigerator for several weeks. Alternatively, you can freeze wasabi. To use frozen wasabi, never thaw frozen wasabi. Grind frozen on the grinder. Once finished, put back into the freeze immediately. Should last for a month or two.
Ingredients (for one roll):
1/4 (100g) cup Sushi Rice
1 Nori Seaweed, half sheet
20 - 30 g Thinly cut wasabi root
Makisu, Sushi Rolling Mat
Make Sushi Rice (follow this recipe)
Cut wasabi into thin matchsticks
Making A Roll
Wipe the cutting board with a wet towel to moisten
Place half sheet nori horizontally, rough side facing up
Wet your hands
Grab sushi rice, half the amount of inside out roll, approximately 100g
Leave top ½ inch/1cm blank
Using the bottom part of your left palm, apply pressure, spread the sushi rice horizontally
With your right hand, making a “U” shape, guide the sushi rice so that it covers the top half to 2/3 of the nori
Rhythmically, turn your left hand three times to cover the top portion of the nori with rice
Clean your hands with the wet towel, dip your fingers in the water
Using fingertips, apply the pressure, spread the rice leaving 1/8 inch /3mm left, right and bottom edge
Lift up Nori and place makisu on the cutting board
Put down nori on makisu, aligning the bottom edge
Place wasabi matchsticks on the center
Roll - Pick up the bottom part of Makisu, seal the roll by placing the bottom edge against the top end of the sushi rice
Press to seal
Life up makisu halfway, roll forward the entire roll 90 degrees, so the seam will be at the bottom
Seal with Makisu one more time, from the front, top and backside
Cut into six pieces
Place and serve
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