What is wasabi and how it looks like?
Wasabi (Wasabia japonica) is an ancient Japanese plant that is grown in Japan from the 10 century AD. It's very old plant, which is now using in Japanese cuisine as well as very strong and sharp spice, with sushi and sashimi.
Growing wasabi plants in general is not easy, because this plant grows in the high mountains, at the source of the cold mountain stream. This is real wasabi, although today this plant is cultivated. Today, except in Japan, wasabi is also raised in China, Taiwan, Canada and North Carolina.
Wasabi is an herbaceous plant with broad green leaves that are edible and can be added to salads and white flowers that in state of mature produce small seeds.
The root of the wasabi plant is the bearer of a strong and pungent taste of wasabi spice. Root is pale green in color, so the ultimate spice, with spicy taste that simply burns the mouth. In the process of wasabi preparation, the root goes through drying and ground into a powder, so this is the only original form of wasabi spice.
True or fake wasabi?
Wasabi belongs to expensive spices and served only in exclusive hotels and sushi bars in Japan. In markets around the world wasabi can be found in the form of green wasabi paste, but that is usually a fake wasabi - called Seiyo wasabi. It contains a Japanese horseradish and mustard and various other accessories.
Do wasabi have healing properties?
Yes, wasabi, except for use in the kitchen has strong anti-cancer properties, especially with the onset of hormone-related cancers (breast, prostate). In the traditional treatment, wasabi was used to calm inflamed sinus, colds, sore throats and lung diseases.
It is believed that wasabi possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
An interesting feature of wasabi is to prevent the formation of cavities, so it can be added to natural toothpaste.
The use of wasabi in the kitchen
Wasabi is using as a basic seasoning for fish - like sushi and for dishes with pasta - noodles. It gives the food a strong peppery taste that quickly burns the mouth but do not stay long.
Also in specialized stores in Japan can buy wasabi wine, and there is a liqueur made from wasabi with a slightly larger percentage of alcohol.