I am extremely excited to inform you that fresh wasabi grows right here in Australia. Did you know that?
And let me also tell you, it’s a million times better than that thick green goop you get at the supermarket, or your local Japanese restaurant for that matter.
The wonderful people at Shima Wasabi absolutely made my week when they posted me a fabulous little package with a fresh wasabi stems, wasabi leaf stems, wasabi leaves and a ceramic grater inside.
Yes, that’s right, fresh wasabi is grown in beautiful Tasmania – and who on earth knew that’s what it looked like fresh! AND that it had stems and leaves that taste subtly of wasabi too. Incredible. It really is just too exciting for words.
I guess you can tell I lurve finding out new things about fresh produce. This post is all about introducing you to fresh wasabi and then I’ve got some recipes lined up over the next few days.
I’ve also never owned a ginger grated before (pictured far left) so I was delighted to finally use one. The design is so perfect for grating the raw wasabi and the aroma it creates is absolutely heavenly.
Let me describe the taste and texture of each part of the wasabi plant:
The wasabi stem: Very firm and knobbly. It doesn’t have a strong wasabi smell until grated – even the cut edge isn’t very powerful – but once you grate it, POW! The smell is overwhelming (in a good way) and the taste is deliciously pungent. The familiar eye-watering and sinus clearing sensation that I love so much about wasabi is clear as day.
The wasabi leaf stems: A similar texture to celery or spring onions (scallions), stringy in a way. They’re really nice chopped finely into thin rounds. Very crunchy and juicy – you can tell the water content is high in the same way as celery.
The wasabai leaves: About the thickness of spinach and nicely textured (you can see them close-up below). The wasabi taste is mild and only really evident as a lingering afterthought. One person I let sample them said ‘they just taste like regular leaves’. I beg to differ, but it’s good to get more than one opinion!
As you can probably tell I feel very priviledged to be in possession of this wonderful produce. Especially as I know Shima deliver to all the best restaurants in Sydney such as Quay, Tetsuya’s, and Rockpool. I’m not puting myself in their league (obviously!) but it’s still pretty cool.
There’s quite a few recipe ideas on the Shima website and I’ve got two yummy recipes coming up in the next few days. Don’t forget to come back and check them out!