Wasabi: Sharp from Japan

Anyone who has eaten sushi knows Wasabi as well: The green wasabi paste is usually served with the tasty sushi snacks. However, one should be wary of trying the Japanese spice for the first time, as wasabi tastes very spicy. In contrast to chilies, which cause a sharp sensation of taste in the mouth and especially on the tongue, the sharpness of wasabi rises in the nose and burns in the throat. In this point, the spice is similar to horseradish, which is why wasabi is also called "Japanese horseradish" or water horseradish. From a botanical point of view Wasabi is only distantly related to horseradish.

Ingredients of wasabi

Wasabi (Eutrema japonica) comes from the family of the Kreuzblütengewächse. In Japan, the rhizome, that is the rhizome of the plant, is used as a spice. By rubbing the rootstock on a wooden board, which is covered with sharkskin, creates the green paste, Wasabi traditionally not only tastes sharp, but also has a slightly sweet note.

Similar to horseradish and mustard, Wasabi's pungency is due to mustard oils (isothiocyanates) contained in the rootstock. Wasabi contains the two mustard oils glucocochlearin and sinigrin. Sinigrin is also included in mustard and horseradish. In contrast to horseradish, the sharpness of wasabi evaporates faster: Wasabi loses its sharpness after only half an hour. This is done by oxidation of mustard oils.

Wasabi: effect

The consumption of wasabi can have a positive effect on our digestion, as wasabi promotes digestion and stabilizes it. In addition, the spicy mustard oils inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the body and also kill bacteria. That's why mustard oils are also referred to as "herbal antibiotics". In addition to bacteria, the mustard oils can also combat pathogens such as viruses, fungi and yeasts. Mustard oils have been found to be particularly effective in upper respiratory tract and urinary tract infections.

In addition, wasabi should also have a positive effect on our immune system: The sharp paste should stimulate our immune system and increase the number of immune cells. In addition, wasabi should help to detoxify the liver. So Wasabi is also said to have a detoxifying effect.

Like other hot spices, you should only enjoy wasabi in moderation, because spicy food can also have a negative impact on our health. Especially people who suffer from stomach problems should be careful: too hot food can cause heartburn, stomach ache and diarrhea.

Nickname "Green horseradish"

Wasabi plays a crucial role in the production of typical Japanese dishes: For example, without wasabi, the consumption of sushi or sashimi is unimaginable. However, fresh wasabi is hard to come by outside of Japan. That is why wasabi is usually offered in Europe as paste from the tube or as a powder that has to be mixed with water. Since the mustard oils oxidize in the air and thereby lose their sharp note, the tube must be closed again immediately after consumption.

When buying wasabi, however, it should be noted that many of the wasabi pastes offered in Germany are actually made from white horseradish, as it is much cheaper to buy. With the help of artificial dyes, the green wasabi paste is then conjured up from the white horseradish. Through this procedure Wasabi got his nickname "green horseradish".

Recipes with wasabi

In addition to fish and sushi, you can also use wasabi to refine peanuts, rice or peas. Meanwhile even cheese with wasabi taste is offered.

A mashed potato with wasabi is also suitable as a tasty accompaniment to fish dishes: For this, 800 grams of potatoes are peeled and boiled for about 20 minutes. Then the hot potatoes are mashed to pulp. In the meantime 150ml milk, 150ml cream and 30g butter are mixed, boiled and refined with a little salt. The mixture is then added to the mashed potatoes and stirred with three tablespoons of lime juice and a tablespoon of wasabi paste. Then the mashed potatoes can be seasoned as desired.

If you want to experiment with Wasabi, you should always remember the extreme sharpness of Wasabi. Especially Wasabi newcomers should be careful to use the spice only in small quantities.

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