Review by Lady C’in – Jar kindly supplied by Mr. Vikki’s
“Wasabi – Noun – A Japanese plant with a thick green root which tastes like strong horseradish and is used in cookery, especially in powder or paste form as an accompaniment to raw fish.”
When you ask someone what is Wasabi, they will, more often than not, reply with Japanese horseradish. Partly true. All the science says that it is from the same family as horseradish and mustard Because the wasabi root is hard to grow, real wasabi can be pricey to get hold of, so the general answer for this is to mix horseradish and mustard with a little green food colouring and voila – common wasabi. The taste is very different, and if you find some of your generic supermarket wasabi and pair it with a real wasabi product, you’ll never want the supermarket product again!
Ingredients: Horseradish, Wasabi japonica (6%), Mustard, Spirit Vinegar, Honey, Spinach, Spices and Salt.
In his usual hexagonal jars with the brightly coloured yellow label, weighing in at 110g of dark green and mustard coloured thick paste, you can see immediately the difference between your ‘run of the mill’ wasabi products, and what Adam at Mr. Vikki’s is proud to call ‘fresh and natural’. There are no added colours, so you aren’t encumbered with the bright fake green we see in other wasabi pastes (note, natural wasabi is bright green, but due to the lack of it in supermarkets, they just use dye to fool you). Just all natural colours of the produce he gets in and turns into these awesome creations.
There are a few small particles of spices inside the paste, giving it a very fine blended texture. The smell is an earthy horseradish. You can feel a little tingle up the nose already, helped along by the vinegar to carry that feeling a little bit further into your sinuses. There is a sweet scent which follows the horseradish smell afterwards. The paste is so thick I can stand my chopstick up in it (yes a chopstick. It seemed appropriate, and I thought a spoon may be too much to sample at a time). So giving it a little stir, the paste is sticky and clings onto the chopstick. The texture on the tongue is very fine and sticks to your tongue and grabs those taste buds!
The first taste hits straight at the front of your tongue, a sweet kick of mustard and subtle honey glues the flavours to your mouth. Straight after that, I get a wave of that all-encompassing horseradish and mustard sinus burn, coined ‘Wasabi nose’ a few years ago. It certainly will clear your head. This intense and different burn is brief, making your mouth water and your eyes run just a little, before enticing you in again to feel more, to discover more of this taste. Behind all of these different parts of this paste, there is an underlying earthy aroma, and an almost nutty aftertaste.
Try it with sushi (obviously). If you’re a little worried about that sinus burn, mix it with some soy sauce to create a sauce which will take a little of the burn away but still leave you with the flavours. Wasabi isn’t just limited to rice dishes, try it with anything you’d usually have mustard for. On burgers as a little ‘extra’ with your meat, dip your prawns in it, mix with soy and use as a dressing on salads. This soy sauce method can also be used to marinade meats, glaze before grilling, dip for tortilla chips, mix with veggies to add another level of interesting flavour. Don’t pigeon hole wasabi into ‘Rice and sushi’ condiments, go out and try it with everything!
Available in 110g jars from Mr. Vikki’s online shop at a price of £3.50 you’d be crazy not to! This product will last you a while; its heat means ‘use sparingly’ and you really don’t need a lot to open the true flavour of the wasabi paste. You’ll never go back to supermarket brands again!