Wasabi is a Japanese plant in the cabbage family and is related to cabbage, horseradish and mustard. It is grown for its root which is used as a spice often used in Japanese cuisine.
The green roots are grated and are sold as a dry powder or as a paste. Wasabi has a very strong and hot flavor, similar to mustard. The hot sensation is experienced in the nose rather than on the tongue and disappears quickly.
Basic information and facts
Japan. The wasabi plant is found growing wild near stream beds in mountain river valleys in Japan.
Japan, China, Ali Mountain of Taiwan, New Zealand, North America.
Annual, biennial, or perennial:
Wasabi is a slow growing perennial plant.
There are many cultivars of Wasabi, but the two main cultivars are ‘Daruma’ and ‘Mazuma’.
Climate and weather:
Wasabi prefers cool and shady conditions. It grows in a temperate climate with temperature between 8°C and 20°C, preferably with high humidity in the summer season.
Self pollination or cross pollination by insects.
Wasabi can be propagated by seeds. Nowadays it is also propagated using tissue culture techniques. Small offshoots of the mature wasabi plant can also be replanted.
The roots are used as a spice. They have an extremely strong and hot flavor which is experienced in the nose and disappears quickly. The flavor is similar to mustard.
Wasabi is used in Japanese cuisine and also to produce snacks such as “wasabi peas”.
Proverbs and Quotes
- The human tongue is like wasabi: it’s very powerful, and should be used sparingly. (John Green)
Did you know that?
- Wasabi is difficult to cultivate and therefore expensive. The wasabi served in many Japanese restaurant is often an imitation which is a mixture of horseradish, mustard, starch and green food coloring.