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Sushi - Sushi Ingredients (Condiments) - Wasabi

Wasabi (Japanese Horse Radish)

Wasabi    Tube Wasabi   
Wasabi root                                                                                   Real Wasabi made
                                                                                                        in the Izu farms.

Wasabi is a green horse radish found in Japan. It has always been used as a condiment for sashimi since it had properties to bring out the sweet flavors while washing away excess smell of the fish that it may have.

Wasabi has been used in Edo style sushi for its antibacterial properties. It helped prevent food poisoning in the early days when refrigerators were unavailable. Unfortunately, most of the wasabi sold in the markets are actually modified horse radish with green food coloring.

When wasabi is grated, a special wasabi grater (wasabi oroshi) must be used. It has finer grains and is able to break the cells of the wasabi and release the allyl isothiocyanate, which is the active ingredient that acts as an anti-bacterial agent. Originally, these graters were made with shark skin. When the wasabi is grated properly with this grater, the flavors become very strong as well.