Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Proper grater essential to enjoyment of real wasabi
Having a source of real wasabi at the KCC Saturday Farmers Market (see previous post) is a pleasure, but it also presents a new challenge. Wasabi cannot be grated with a standard grater. Even the finest Microplane won't do the job.
What is really needed, and there is no perfect substitute, is a "same-gawa" (sharkskin) grater. The most common type has the shape of a small wooden paddle faced with genuine shark skin.
Since real wasabi is a rarity in the States, the sharkskin grater is also hard to find. Google will reveal several sources, of course. We don't have our genuine sharkskin grater yet, so we're making do with a stainless-steel model purchased at Shirokiya. This article describes the proper grating technique--a circular, kneading motion on the flat sharkskin surface. The article has information on wasabi and its history which you may enjoy also.
Don't underestimate the importance of proper technique. The wasabi is a bit of an investment, so you might as well enjoy it thoroughly. Prepared using a standard grater, it doesn't yield even a fraction of its full pungency or flavor.
So if you've bought your wasabi root, make a trip to Shirokiya to pick up the little grater pictured. Try the circular motion described in the article. If you like the results, consider acquiring your own sharkskin paddle.
Once you taste real wasabi properly prepared, there's no going back to the imitation green-dyed horseradish or mustard.
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