Wasabi is a root that is used as a spice or condiment, and has an extremely strong flavor.

Wasabi is often served with sushi or sashimi and accompanied with soy sauce.

It is generally grated and ground and into a paste to use. It is finding it's way into cheeses and as a flavoring for specialty chips, nuts, and other snacks.


Other names: Japanese Horse Radish, Wasabi Root
Translations: わさび, Krienai, الوسابي, 고추 냉이, וואסאבי, 山葵, Васаби

Physical Description

Wasabi (Wasabia japonica) is a perennial plant and a
member the mustard family. Wasabi is native to Japan, where most of the world supply is grown. It has a unique, enlarged stem or root, which is 2 to 4 inches in diameter and 6 to 12 inches long and a bright green color.

Colors: Green

Tasting Notes

Flavors: spicy, sweet
Mouthfeel: Spicy, Sharp, Burning, Gritty
Food complements: Fish, Seafood, Shellfish, Rice, Soy sauce, Ginger
Wine complements: Plum wine
Beverage complements: Sake, Green tea
Substitutes: Horseradish, Hot mustard

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Peak: january, february, december
Choosing: Look for products labeled "Real Wasabi" or "True Wasabi."
Buying: You can buy wasabi in a variety of forms, dried and powdered, grated and preserved, or in its natural root form. True or real wasabi is much more expensive than the imitation powdered form that is commonly sold in small green cans. The raw root frequently sells for as much as $50 per pound, but since a little goes a long way, a small amount can be affordable.
Procuring: Wasabi root is difficult to grow. It only thrives in cold damp environments. Until recently, it was only cultivated in Japan, but in recent years, American farmers have perfected the process and now grow it in the USA, especially in the Pacific Northwest region.

Preparation and Use

Peel and grate the wasabi, then using a mortar & pestle, grind into a fine paste. Add to soy sauce for use with Sushi or Sashimi.

Wasabi can be used as a replacement for horseradish for a more mild flavor profile.

Conserving and Storing

Keep fresh wasabi refrigerated and moist. Prepared wasabi should also be refrigerated, whereas the dried powder should be stored in a cool dry place.


History: Wasabi has been grown in Japan in the the 1600s and there are 18 well know types or "cultivars" commonly grown there. American producers started growing and marketing wasabi in the 1990s.



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