"Mountain Wasabi" - The perfect garnish for rice and so much more!
We all know and love delicious green wasabi often served with Japanese dishes. But here in Japan there is another kind of white wasabi available, "Mountain Wasabi."
In English you may already know about this delicious root by the name "Horseradish." While regular wasabi grows under water or in a swamp, mountain wasabi is often grown in fields.
▲ Raw mountain wasabi.
▲ A field of mountain wasabi.
Although commonly sold in supermarkets, the plant grows naturally across Hokkaido. Natives often say "It's easier to just go pick some from the mountain yourself!"
In my house we often went mountain wasabi picking as well. If you bring home the base of the leaf and submerge it in water, after a bit of time you'll be able to plant it in your own garden and harvest the treat for free! If well cared for the plant will grow quite large.
This works well for those living inside Hokkaido, but for those living elsewhere, I have a special recommendation for you!
▲ Pickled soy sauce mountain wasabi.This mountain wasabi is soaked in mirin and soy sauce, which gives it a sweet taste.
▲ Spicy soy sauce pickled mountain wasabi. This mountain wasabi is soaked in sake and soy sauce, giving it s sharp, and spice taste.
This can is packed full of grated wasabi. Plain horseradish is available, but there are also flavored versions which you can enjoy by itself!
▲ Here is some grated mountain wasabi paste. It is not flavored, so please use as a topping for dishes.
Mountain wasabi is 1.5 times spicier than regular wasabi. As soon as you taste it you'll be able to tell the difference, the spice is quite intense, and like traditional wasabi it all migrates to the nose! But, as opposed to regular wasabi, the mountain variety has quite a refreshing aftertaste!
▲ Mountain wasabi makes the perfect topping for roast beef or steak!
There are many ways to enjoy mountain wasabi, in Japan it is said that it goes well with sashimi. Here in Hokkaido Korikkori Squid and wasabi are often served together.
▲ Cold Tofu...
▲ Tuna with grated yam.
▲ Delicious Squid Sashimi!
But my number one suggestion is to use it as a topping for white rice.
▲ My recommendation from Yamawasa's shop, rice bowl topped with egg and mountain wasabi.
Rice with a simple mountain wasabi is a dish that needs nothing else. At the Yamawasa head office you can pick up various kinds of ready-to-eat mountain wasabi, so if you want to give it a try be sure to stop by!
For those who want to grate it themselves, why not try growing some for yourself with the Mountain Wasabi Tane?
Cut the root stalk at about three centimeters and place in water to watch it grow!
■ 山わさ本舗 (Yama-Wasa Head Office)
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)
(Photographs provided by 有限会社エーアイケー)