Did you know that Wasabi was used to prevent food poisoning?
Whenever you’ve gone to eat sushi at a fine dining Japanese restaurant, you’ve come across Wasabi. Wasabi is Japanese horseradish that’s consumed as a dipping sauce along with Japanese delicacies. Strong in taste and just a pinch enough to tear you up, this condiment has garnered the interest of foodies around the world, through the ages. Why people love a condiment that has the potential to shock their taste buds will remain a mystery, but here are some interesting facts about this condiment, that you probably didn’t know before:
1) Wasabi was used to prevent food poisoning
While wasabi has become a flavour additive in the recent culinary scene of Japanese cuisine, so was not the case originally. Wasabi was used for the medicinal properties it had, years ago in Japan. The Japanese believed that adding wasabi to their meal could cure the disease caused by bacterias present in half cooked or poorly cooked meat. Interestingly, there could be a scientific reason backing this theory. On a detailed examination Wasabi was found to contain a chemical called allyl isothiocyanate, which is used as an insecticide and the condiment also has anti-bacterial properties.
This fact could be alarming to digest. Cabbage is not known particularly to be a flavourful vegetable in itself and so when you think of Wasabi hailing from the same family, things don’t add up. However, Wasabi does belong to the cabbage family even though it doesn’t taste anything like cabbage. While the cabbage is bland, the Wasabi is spicy and shock inducing. When you’re eating the Wasabi, you’re essentially eating it’s root that’s been ground to a paste. Wasabi is interestingly also good for your skin and hair as it’s rich in vitamin C.
5) What you’re eating is probably not Wasabi
As Wasabi is difficult to grow, the demand for authentic Wasabi far exceeds its supply. This has even lead to a price surge of up to 250$ per kg (approx ₹19,487) for Wasabi. The problem of finding fake wasabi across many restaurants is a real one. What restaurants have reportedly been passing off as Wasabi, is its artificial counterpart which is sold in a tube and is made from a mixture of European horseradish and mustard seeds. The fake Wasabi is extremely spicy and the green colour that it comes in is due to food colouring.