Broccoli with wasabi sauce (wasabi-ae)

broccoli_wasabi.sidebar.jpg All hail the mighty broccoli. While it's always available in the produce section, it's one of the few fresh vegetables that haven't been shipped halfway around the world to reach people who live in many parts of the northern hemisphere during the colder months. In the spring we even get very locally grown broccoli and its relatives like romanesco.

Broccoli can be rather boring if it's just served steamed, boiled or, god forbid , raw. (I'm sorry, I don't really get raw broccoli. Raw cauliflower yes, but not raw broccoli.) A way to perk up broccoli without relying on those yummy yet caloric additions like mayonnaise, cheese sauce or garlic-and-olive-oil, is to make aemono or ohitashi with them. Ohitashi is basically vegetables that have been steamed or blanched/boiled served with a sauce that contains soy sauce, often but not always a little dashi stock, and sometimes a bit of sake or mirin and sugar. Aemono uses a similar sauce, with added ingredients like ground up sesame seeds. In this recipe, the sauce contains wasabi, so it's aemono.

As long as you have all the ingredients on hand it's very quick to make, and very tasty. The sinus-clearing qualities of the wasabi are softened by the other ingredients in the sauce, while still giving the broccoli a nice, bright flavor.

It makes a great side dish as part of a Japanese meal, or even a salad. It's also a very nice bento item (you may want to contain the sauce in a paper cup or its own container).

Broccoli with wasabi sauce (burokkori no wasabi ae)

  • 4 to 5 cups (one small head) cut up broccoli, the flower part broken into small pieces, the stem part peeled and sliced thin
  • Salt and water for cooking
  • 2 1/2 tsp. wasabi powder, reconstituted to a paste with a few drops of water
  • 4 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. sake
  • 1 Tbs. sugar or sweetener of your choice

Bring the water and salt to a boil. Cook the broccoli until it's crisp-tender and still a bright green in color. Drain, and refresh very briefly with cold running water. (Note: you can skip this step if you're not in a hurry and have time to cool the broccoli.)

In the meantime, mix together all the remaining ingredients except the wasabi in a small pan, and stir over a low heat until the sugar is melted. Let cool, and add the wasabi, reserving 1/2 tsp or so. Mix well until the wasabi is dissolved.

Pour the sauce over the broccoli and mix well. Serve at room temperature or chilled, optionally with a little additional wasabi on the side for people to mix into the broccoli as they eat it (if they really like wasabi).


You can, in a pinch, use frozen broccoli.

While using fresh grated wasabi root is ideal, powdered wasabi is fine for this dish.

Use less wasabi if you find it too strong.

You can turn this into a one-dish meal by adding some protein of your choice, such as blanched and cut-up tofu, or poached and shredded chicken breast. The sauce is great with either.

Filed under:  japanese lighter vegetables vegetarian quickcook bento vegan under10 gluten-free

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That's so simple, yet brilliant. I like broccoli and I love wasabi. Why didn't I think of this?

Me too - love broccoli & that wasabe hit. Broccoli, sundried tomatoes, chilli & garlic cooked in olive oil and lashed onto fresh pasta is a great favourite of mine.

I like broccoli but lately Im a bit bored with it....I love wasabi so I'm really keen to try this now! I have the wasabi that comes in a tube, it's a paste, would you have any idea how much I would need?

btw just recently discovered your site and I'M LOVING IT!
(no pun intended....)

try starting with 1 tsp. of wasabi paste from a tube, and add more to taste. (You will probably end up using about 2 tsp but it's easier to add more than take it out!)

Wow, thank you for posting this! I've learned to like broccoli quite recently, so I'm always at a loss of what to do with it besides adding it to salads (and like you said, the usual sauces are too calorie rich) or stir-fries. I'm gonna try this for bento too, since it is said wasabi has antibacterial properties.

I've tried several different kinds of powdered wasabi and it all ends up tasting very blah. What brand have you found that tastes delicious from a powder?

I can't wait to try this... probably with "tube" wasabi tho since the powdered kind is always disappointing :-(

One trick that my stepfather always does with wasabi powder is this: make the paste fairly thick, in a small bowl. Then invert the bowl and leave it like that for about half an hour if possible, but at least 10 minutes. The flavor of the wasabi develops much better this way. (I should actually post this hint as a post I guess since it is pretty useful.)

Is it alright to substitute sake with mirin for this recipe?

Btw, I LOVE your site and your sister site just bento. So many great recipes and ideas for my bento lunches. :)

You can use sake, and maybe add a tiny pinch of sugar (since mirin is fairly sweet).

Oishi!!! My husband's new favorite way to eat broccoli. I didn't have any sake around, so I used mirin and a spash of lemon juice at the end. Thanks for the healthy recipe!

I just had this for lunch and it's delicious! The wasabi goes really well with the broccoli. As it's also really easy to prepare, I guessed it's going to become a standard bento dish for me.

it's a great sauce. It's also very good to add some garlic, a chili pepper and chopped scallions before cooking the sauce :)

We had this as a side dish for supper tonight, and we absolutely loved it!!! It has become my new favorite way to eat broccoli! ^__^

Thank you for the recipe!

I used tablespoons instead of teaspoons for the wasabi powder (didn't read carefully)

It was really strong, but still very tasty!
I used frozen broccoli, my suggestion, defrost it before you boil (and make sure the water is VERY hot when you throw them in)

I made the sauce the night before w/o the wasabi and just let my husband add as much wasabi as he wanted at lunch time. Also, I used it as a dipping sauce instead of pouring it over the braccoli and he liked it on rice as well. Oh, and I steamed the braccoli to keep more nutrients in it and blanched it in ice water to keep the texture and color.