Remember that insanely irritating Budweiser ad? Well, apparently, I'm bent on bringing that sticky memory back! :)
Sunita was crazy enough to let me host Think Spice this month. And I warned her that the theme would probably be non-traditional. And it is ...
And yes, it is a spice. Atleast the root is. In terms of the traditional definition of a spice!
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for the purpose of flavouring, and indirectly for the purpose of killing and preventing growth of pathogenic bacteria.
Ever since I got hooked on sushi, life has been a wasabi romance all along. Until I *just* discovered some vital facts:
Rude Shock #1:
Often, wasabi that we encounter in restaurants is not the real thing! And the stuff that comes in tubes is horseradish+mustard+food colouring.
Rude Shock #2:
What?! So, horseradish is not wasabi? *sigh*
Oh well, whatever. I'll eat it anyway. And I insist on calling it wasabi. Maybe wa-sah-bih. Maybe even wa-saaaab-beeeeee.
[This is what I love about Think Spice - it is often a botany-lesson-in-session. By the end of the month, I often feel like I could write a couple of essays about the spice of the month! :)]
From that fabulous Wikipedia:
Wasabi (Japanese: わさび,ワサビ , 山葵 (originally written 和佐比); Wasabia japonica, Cochlearia wasabi, or Eutrema japonica) is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbages, horseradish and mustard. Known as "Japanese horseradish", its root is used as a spice and has an extremely strong flavor. Its hotness is more akin to that of a hot mustard than the capsaicin in a chili pepper, producing vapors that irritate the nasal passages more than the tongue. The plant grows naturally along stream beds in mountain river valleys in Japan. There are also other species used, such as W. koreana, and W. tetsuigi. The two main cultivars in the marketplace are W. japonica var. Daruma and Mazuma, but there are many others.
So, time to dig through those cookbooks, surf the web, ping your friends and neighbours ... we need some wasabi recipes and we need them now! :)
Rules of the month:
Hit those asian stores, buy up all the wasabi you can lay your hands on and whip up some insanely pungent recipes that'll set the food blogosphere afire!
Obviously, you can go all gourmet and buy the wasabi root, grate it and work your mojo! Or you can buy the stuff in a tube or a bottle or a jar (even the not-so-authentic version) and whip up your recipes. Whatever works, as long as you have fun doing it :)
Share your nuggets of knowledge with the rest of us, any crazy wasabi stories? Or do you have video to share - maybe you snorted some wasabi sometime? Or ate a whole ball of it without knowing what it was?
Include a link back to this post in your write-up, a logo should be available here later today in case you want to use that along with your post.
Email the following information with your entry on or before June 25th to cookingfromatoz [at] gmail [dot] com:
* Use the subject 'Think Spice - Think Wasabi'
* Your name
* Name and Url of your blog
* Name of your recipe
* Url of the post on your blog
* A pic of your dish (250 px wide, height does not matter) if any
Non-bloggers are welcome too, email your recipe (and a pic, if applicable) to me and I'll post it as part of the round-up.
Weeeee! Now I'm excited thinking about all the crazy experimenting that this theme is going to induce!