Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In Japan - Fresh Wasabi

I was wandering around Tsukiji Fish Market last Saturday and got a piece of fresh wasabi for 735 yen. That was the cheapest I could find. From my observation, normally the smaller wasabi roots cost less. I've seen bigger wasabi root than this, and if I wasn't mistaken it was around 1200 yen.

It's green, but somehow it's not as green as the fake wasabi (it's actually horseradish colored with green coloring) we see at sushi shops. I thought it would be hard to peel, but it's actually easier than peeling ginger root.

I bought a mini oroshiki (grater) suitable to make grated wasabi or ginger from 100 yen shops (honestly, those shops are amazing; maybe I should cover it someday).

It's hard to tell from the picture, but the green color gets more intense as it gets to the top. I'm not sure why.

It took me about 5 minutes to get everything grated. It was quite a painful journey because my eyes are pretty sensitive to volatile irritants. I always cry whenever I cut onions. Well, this time, rather than getting volatile irritants into my eyes directly, the smell of the wasabi struck my nose and it induced me to cry.

Compared to the wasabi used at many sushi shops, this grated wasabi look coarser and dryer. In terms of volatile compounds, because it's not chilled I can smell the sharp, offensive wasabi smell better. As for the taste, surprisingly it is not as striking as the ones used in sushi shops. Somehow it has a very smooth spiciness.

Worth the money? Well, I'm not a big fan of wasabi and I couldn't think of any applications other than as salad dressings and fried rice component. I just made fried rice with egg, wasabi, shouyu, nori, shredded crab stick and green onions. Delicioso.


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