Many of us haven’t actually tried authentic wasabi.
Even if you regularly eat sushi, and go to fancy restaurants, it’s unlikely you’ve had the real deal. That’s because it’s pretty difficult to get hold of the pure ingredient – especially in the UK.
The American Chemical Society revealed that a lot of the wasabi consumed in Europe and the US contains minimal amounts of the Japanese plant.
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Wasabi is notoriously tricky to grow as it has to have access to a constant and steady stream of water. It's also difficult to grow in bulk.
This makes supply lower, bumping up the cost of authentic wasabi. And as a result, restaurants and supermarkets tend to use dyed horseradish instead.
This is shown by S&B Wasabi – sold by places like Ocado, Waitrose, and Sainsbury’s. In a 43g sachet, also described as “horseradish paste with wasabi”, the quantity of the Japanese ingredient is minimal.
The paste is 31.7% horseradish – six times more than the amount of wasabi, which only makes up 4.5% of the product.
Other ingredients include potato starch, water, turmeric and salt. There’s also some added colouring, which is likely to give the product is vibrant hue.
Yataka condiments, sold by places like Tesco and Asda, also contains minimal amount of wasabi.
In a 43g packet of Yutaka wasabi paste, you can expect 22% of horseradish powder compared to 5% of wasabi powder. Other ingredients include mustard powder, mustard oil, turmeric and soybean oil.
The more you know, eh!
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