Fresh wasabi is a rare and expensive delicacy that deserves proper handling. Like any vegetable, wasabi is at its best when served as close to harvest time as possible, but since the vast majority of wasabi is grown in Asia, gourmands lucky enough to get their hands on true fresh wasabi know it should be consumed promptly. 

It is the process of careful grating and preparation before serving that optimizes wasabi's unique flavor.

Traditionally, the fresh wasabi rhizome is washed, the top end is cut off and it is then pressed tightly against an "Oroshi" grater, a piece of sharkskin mounted on a wooden or ceramic paddle. Using a tight circular motion, the rhizome is carefully grated to produce a small pile of mashed plant particles. While an oroshi is considered ideal, a small toothed or nubbed stainless steel or ceramic grater may be used, the finer the better. Some chefs use the back of a knife to further crush wasabi particles to maximize release of flavors. When a suitable amount of wasabi has been grated, gather and press it by hand into a small ball and let it relax at room temperature so that the chemical process can take place.

The purpose of grating is to break open the cells of the plant so that the chemical compounds contained within can intermingle and transmute. Technically, it is the exposure of wasabi's glucosinolates with the enzyme myrosianse that releases isothiocynates, the active compounds that produce wasabi's unique taste and are also nutritionally beneficial.

Like a fine old wine, the grated wasabi needs some time to breathe, but no too much time, to maximize its flavor. The compounds released are quite volatile and flavors will dissapate with too much exposure to air.

Timing is important. Generally about ten minutes after preparation is the optimum time to serve Real Wasabi™ paste.  Be advised however, that the flavors will "peak" after about twenty to thirty minutes. If this occurs and the meal is still ongoing, you can re-invigorate the flavors by adding some freshly grated wasabi and regrouping it back into a tight little pile.  Some chefs add a pinch of sugar to re-ignite the enzyme reactions.

Dried Ground Wasabi

Despite reports to the contrary, it is possible to dry and process wasabi japonica to preserve its flavor.  Our careful fast handling, processing and drying reproduces the distinctive flavor of fresh wasabi with remarkable accuracy. While it is true that many powdered so called "wasabi products" contain little or no actual wasabi, the products offered by Real Wasabi™, LLC, contain 100% natural authentic wasabi japonica.

To make authentic wasabi paste, vigorously mix a measure of dried ground Real Wasabi™ with an equal amount of water.  When thoroughly blended, take a small taste.  It should be slightly bitter and a little hot. Upon tasting it a vintner friend described it as "tobacco, slightly grassy" (he would).  Now group the paste into a lump and set aside in a covered dish.

After seven or so minutes the enzymatic action will activate the full flavors of Real Wasabi™.  Taste it again to enjoy the Fiery Taste and Smooth Finish™ that only Real Wasabi™ delivers. The resulting paste can be served as a condiment with sashimi or sushi, added to recipes or used in a host of creative ways to lend a unique kick to sauces, dressings, spreads or meals.