Random Thoughts – Randocity!

How to revive old Wasabi powder

Posted in food, food connoisseur, howto by commorancy on October 30, 2018

You bought some powdered Wasabi 3 years ago in a can and forgot all about it. You’ve let it sit in your pantry all that time. You need wasabi and you remember that you have some powder. When you try to mix it up, it tastes bitter and not at all like Wasabi. There is a fix. Let’s explore.

Genuine Wasabi Japonica vs Horseradish

I’d be remiss by not leading with this. Genuine Wasabi comes from the Wasabi Japonica plant. This plant is notoriously difficult to grow and is extremely persnickety when it comes to where in the world it wants to grow. Obviously, it grows well in parts of Japan. It also grows in parts of New Zealand. It looks like this when growing:

Wasabia_japonica_2

Photo courtesy of Qwert1234

Wasabi Japonica also has a long tapered cylindrical root that when grated or ground becomes the signature garnish we’ve come to know and love. The roots look like this:wasabi-root

Photo courtesy of hfordsa via Flickr

This is Wasabi Japonica.

The difficulty with this green garnish is that it can be readily mimicked by horseradish, hot mustard and green food coloring when dried into a powder. Some people call this “fake” Wasabi. I simply call it “wasabi” with a lower case ‘W’.

This ‘wasabi’ version is most often the powdered form that you’ll find in supermarkets and is what is most often served at Sushi restaurants in the U.S. (read the label or ask your sushi chef). If you live in North America,  “wasabi” (horseradish) is typically what you’ll find 99% of the time. The 1% of the time where you find genuine Wasabi Japonica is a rarity and it means the Sushi restaurant understands the subtle, important difference in flavor between the genuine article and the horseradish version. I’ve even found fresh cut Wasabi Japonica at one sushi restaurant. That was a treat!

The most often cited reason for using horseradish over genuine Wasabi Japonica is cost. While that may be mostly true, the truth is that it’s actually much more difficult to get genuine Wasabi in the US simply because it’s notoriously difficult to grow. This, of course, raises the price because you have to import it.

This means importing Wasabi Japonica from places like Japan or New Zealand and there is a monetary cost to importing produce. However, the flavor profile between the horseradish version and genuine Wasabi Japonica is markedly different. Even though they both produce the signature nose heat we know and love, Wasabi Japonica simply tastes different.

Powdered Wasabi

Dried and powdered wasabi, whether genuine or horseradish must be rehydrated to be useful in all of its green pasty glory. The difficulty with its powdered form is that, depending on the powder’s age, it takes longer and longer to hydrate fully to bring back its signature heat. This is called blooming.

For example, if you hydrate wasabi powder and immediately taste it, you’ll notice no heat at all. It’ll only taste bitter. This means that the wasabi has not yet bloomed. You must wait a period of time before the wasabi has fully bloomed back into its signature hot flavor and lost that bitterness.

How long that bloom takes depends entirely on the ….

Age of Powdered Wasabi

Let’s get back to that old powder you have sitting in your cupboard. The longer the wasabi sits in a zippered bag, can or jar, the slower it takes to rehydrate. As I said above, it will take time to bloom back into its signature flavor. How long it takes depends on how old your wasabi powder is. So, don’t throw your powder away if you rehydrate the powder and it still tastes bitter 10 minutes later. You might be thinking that because it’s bitter it’s bad. It isn’t bad. It’s just super dry.

Sure, fresh powder hydrates to full strength in about 8-10 minutes. If you need some wasabi quick, getting fresh powder from the store may be your best answer. If you can plan ahead a little, your aged wasabi powder may take up to 24 hours to reach full flavor.

For several year old powder, simply mix it up, place it into a closed container and let it finish blooming in the fridge. I personally have some aged wasabi powder that now takes up to 24 hours to bloom. This is a horseradish + hot mustard version. I keep a small amount ready in the fridge as a condiment. When it gets low, I hydrate more and let it bloom overnight. I do have some genuine Wasabi Japonica powder which blooms fully in about 8 minutes. But, I only use that for special occasions or if I need some quick. I use the horseradish version when I’m mixing it into ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard or for any other recipe purposes.

Don’t throw out your older powder thinking it’s bad because it appears to remain bitter. You just need to wait longer to let the flavor work its way back out. The fix to old powder is that might take up to 24 hours in the fridge to fully bloom! However, it also means you need to plan ahead when using older wasabi powder.

Heating Wasabi Powder

You might be thinking you can heat the hydrating bitter wasabi and make it hydrate faster. Never do this. It doesn’t work. It will make the wasabi gluey and useless. It will become bad and you will have to toss it. Do not heat wasabi powder when hydrating it. Instead, mix it up with water and let it rehydrate in the fridge overnight.

Rehydrating wasabi Powder

If you’re new to wasabi and you’re wondering how to rehydrate it, it’s simple. Grab a small container and put a teaspoon of powder in the container. Now, fill your teaspoon with water and pour about half in and begin mixing. If the powder is still too dry and thick, add a little more water to bring it to a paste consistency you like. If you like being able to shape it into a ball with your fingers, then you’ll want it a little dryer. If you like it a little more runny, then add more water.

The consistency of the paste doesn’t play a part in blooming speed. The water does need to be mixed in thoroughly, though. The paste simply needs to sit to fully bloom and that takes time. Speaking of hot mustard, this problem also applies to cans of hot mustard powder as well.

Itadakimasu!


As always, if you have found this Randocity article useful and it helped you revive some old wasabi powder, please leave a comment below.

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Ice Cream Hard Shell Topping Recipe

Posted in food connoisseur by commorancy on August 31, 2016

I don’t often do food related posts, but in the spirit of randomness, I’m going to do one today. This recipe shows you how to create a hard chocolate shell for ice cream. Let’s explore.

Preface

Unlike some recipes on the net that require you to cook down your chocolate, this one doesn’t require any cooking. In fact, this recipe is so simple and fast, you can create your chocolate shell drizzle in under 5 minutes.

Ingredients

Coconut Oil
1 tbsp Cocoa Powder (I like Hershey’s)
2-3 packets Stevia powder or Sweet N Low powder or Splenda Powder or finely ground sugar

Instructions

This will produce 1 serving for immediate use. Make sure your coconut oil is liquid and not solid. Place it in the microwave and warm it in 30 second increments to liquefy, if needed. Coconut oil becomes liquid above 76ºF/25C. I keep mine on top of the fridge where it gets warmth from the condenser coils and remains liquid most of the year.

In a small container that you can seal, like a small condiment container, pour in 1 tbsp of cocoa powder. On top of the cocoa powder, pour in 2-3 packets of your preferred sweetener. Note, the sweetener must be dry. Do not use any liquid sweeteners as they are made of water and water and oil don’t mix.

The reason I don’t give an exact amount of coconut oil to add is that depending on how thick you like your drizzle, begin by adding a small amount (1/4 tsp) of coconut oil and stir. The less you add, the thicker the drizzle will be. The more you add, the thinner. Keep adding more oil a little at a time until you get your desired consistency. If you go too far with oil, you can always add in more cocoa powder.

Taste the mixture to make sure it’s as sweet as you like it. If it’s not sweet enough, add another packet. If you plan to use this as a hard shell on ice cream (and I’m assuming you are), then you don’t need it overly sweet. The ice cream’s sweetness will take care of that.

Notes

The coconut oil will make the mixture dissolve almost instantaneously. So, don’t worry about clumping or any other problems with the dry powders. You also don’t need to cook or in any way heat the final mixture to use it. It is ready to use immediately after mixed.

If you have any leftovers, don’t refrigerate. Cover and leave in your cabinet. If the mixture hardens because the temperature has gotten too low, hold it in your hand and then stir the mixture to warm it up. It will quickly liquefy for use again.

Note that this mixture will produce a hard shell. It is literally crunchy. If you prefer a softer shell, add in a few drops of vegetable oil. This will prevent the shell from getting fully hard. The more vegetable oil you add, the softer the shell will be. Though, it will still harden. If you would prefer it even more crunchy add in some chopped nuts.

Serving

Pour the drizzle on top of your ice cream. It will take about 30-45 seconds to fully harden. It will change from a shiny surface to a dull matte surface once hardened.

Bon appetit!

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