Wasabi

Wasabi by Andry Kartyasa

wasabi plantDo you remember a spicy green paste that make the sushi and sashimi in the Japanese restaurant taste better? People that regularly enjoy it should be familiar with it. It is called wasabi. It is not merely making the food taste better, but it also has many health benefits. Wasabi is a Japanese condiment that comes from the wasabi root. It belongs to the Brassicaceae family whose members also include cabbages, horseradish and mustard and is native to Japan and Korea and now grown on the Pacific coast of Canada. It grows best in temperate to cold climates, especially in mountainous areas where there are plenty of cold streams.

Since ancient times, wasabi was used as an antitoxin for food poisoning. Recent studies have found that wasabi contains isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates extract are powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Wasabi also contains minerals such as potassium and calcium that help fight tooth decay by blocking an enzyme that a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans uses to make plaque. It also has strong antimicrobacterial properties and helps prevent parasites and infections. Studies have also shown that the natural chemicals in wasabi can be used to fight certain cancer cells and slow the spread of the disease. Wasabi is also believed to help with certain conditions such as diarrhea, ulcers, osteoporosis, arthritis, asthma, and allergies, as well as stimulate digestion and detoxify the liver.

In addition, Wasabi also reduces the possibility of getting blood clots, encourages the body’s own defenses to discard cells that have started to mutate, and acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent against food poisons. Wasabi also plays an important role in flavoring foods. The taste of wasabi contributes to its use in the culinary sector. For a long time, the Japanese people use wasabi as a dressing for sushi and sashimi. The flavor of wasabi improves the taste of most foods including fish, meat, and noodles. Nowadays, we can find many products in the market that are made from wasabi, such as wasabi peas and wasabi sauce. There is even a food supplement that is made from wasabi for people that do not like the pungent flavor of wasabi.

wasabi in sushi restaurantThe Wasabi that we might get when we eat in the sushi restaurant might not be the real one. Restaurants and groceries might substitute the real wasabi with a combination of horseradish, mustard, cornstarch, and food coloring. They do this because the real wasabi is very costly and does not last for a very long time. They might do this because the wasabi plant is very hard to grow. They must be planted in certain weather conditions in order to grow well. However, one thing that we must realize is that the real herb’s flavor and health benefits are gone when we replace the real wasabi with the combination of other herbs. Genuine wasabi has within it a unique spicy nature that not only enhances Japanese cuisine; it also keeps food free of bacteria and retains its nutrition. Therefore, when you shop for wasabi products look for the items that include 100 percent real wasabi with no other added ingredients such as horseradish or mustard.

Below is a link of a YouTube video, from a company called “The Garden Girl”, that shows you how to make a fresh green salad, with some kick from the Wasabi Vinaigrette Dressing. The salad is called Wasabi Vinaigrette Salad.
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIS_0bnExuc



Picture Source:
http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Wasa_jap.html?style=flow
http://www.afcsushi.com/u/catalog/wasabi_tube.jpg

Information Source:
http://www.wasabia.com/science-biomedical.php#2
http://www.herbsarespecial.com.au/free-herb-information/wasabi http://deliciouslivingmag.com/health/nutrition/wasabi/

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