Quick tip: Making the most of wasabi powder
Please forgive the lack of photos - in the middle of packing, I've somehow misplaced my camera. I'm sure it will come out soon, but in the meantime here is a handy tip for bring out the best flavor in wasabi powder.
In an ideal world, I'd love to use fresh wasabi all the time. Unfortunately it's just about impossible to get fresh wasabi root here in Switzerland, and even in Japan it's pretty expensive. So, like other people I made do with wasabi powder most of the time and reserve my precious hoard of froen fresh root for special occasions.
My stepfather (who lives in Yokohama) loves sashimi, and has it for dinner every other day at least. Even when he lived in New York, he liked to indulge in sashimi. He used wasabi powder most of the time too, but had a trick to bring out the flavor in it that he has learned from an old itamae-san (sushi chef):
- In a small bowl, reconstitute the powder with enough water so that it forms a very thick, not watery, paste.
- Invert the bowl on a plate or on the tabletop. Leave it like that for at least 10 minutes, preferably about half an hour.
I'm not sure how or why, but when you make reconstituted wasabi that way it has a lot more flavor. This works well with reconstituted mustard powder too, so I suspect it has something to do with the mustard-flavor being trapped and getting concentrated, or something.
So if you like wasabi, give this trick a try!