Also known as Japanese horseradish, wasabi is a tingling-hot, sinus- clearing, powder most commonly associated with sushi. A nice change of pace for chile lovers, wasabi provides sharp flavor and plenty of heat, but with an herbal overtone that compliments nearly any Asian dish.
Wasabi is a member of the Brassica plant family and is related to horseradish, cabbage, and mustard. It grows wild along cold mountain streams in its native Japan, under closely guarded growing practices. Wasabi is a critical ingredient in Japanese sushi and sashimi, but pairs very well with avocado, raw fish, beef, rice and seafood as well.
To use: combine equal parts of wasabi powder and warm water, soy sauce, or warm cream to make wasabi paste [or wasabi cream]. The light grey powdered form of wasabi changes to a bright green paste when mixed with water. To maximize the flavor of dried wasabi, add your liquid and let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
Use wasabi powder as a substitute for Dijon mustard, or in combination with ginger and soy sauce. Powdered wasabi tastes zippy in mashed potatoes or mayonnaise, and enhances dips, meats, vinaigrettes, and other foods.
Peanuts, soybeans or peas may be roasted or fried, then coated with wasabi powder mixed with sugar, salt, and/or oil, and eaten as a crunchy spicy snack.