The most authentic wasabi is grated fresh and can only be found in sushi bars – the natural habitat.
If you’ve ever eaten sushi, you’ve had wasabi – the taste of green paste used to accompany sushi or sashimi that cleanses and refreshes your palate in between each bite.
However, suppose you are craving some sushi or organizing a Japanese-themed dinner party and realize there isn’t enough wasabi to go around, especially on the sushi, what will you do?
The most reasonable thing at this point is to use other wasabi substitutes, such as ginger, horseradish, Karachi, mustard, hot Daikon, Yuzu, Carolina Reaper, and chili peppers.
What Is Wasabi?
Wasabi is a root vegetable, usually sold ground into a paste. Wasabi is a green-colored horseradish-like paste commonly served with Japanese sushi dishes. This zesty paste is created by grating the root of a wasabi plant into a fine powder and then mixing it with water.
The mixture is then spread onto sushi rolls or used as a dipping sauce for other foods such as chicken, pasta sauce, or vegetables. Wasabi paste can be bought at many grocery stores and specialty stores today.
Furthermore, the wasabi plant is one of the oldest known members of the cabbage family and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
It is native to Japan, where it has long been regarded as an important ingredient in traditional Japanese cuisine.
Best Wasabi Substitutes
Below are some of the best wasabi substitutes you should know about:
1. Hot Daikon
Hot Daikon is a plant-based alternative to wasabi. It is a flavorful, fresh, and versatile root vegetable that can be consumed in many ways. It has that spicy-sweet flavor with a touch of sourness like wasabi, with a strong aroma.
You can eat it raw, include it in salads and sandwiches, or use it to garnish. It’s delicious when included in soups and stews as well. Since ancient times, the plant has grown in China, Japan, India, Korea, and other Asian countries.
In the United States, you will find Hot Daikon grown mostly in the Mid-Atlantic region. Besides, it’s packed with nutrients and vitamins essential for good health.
It can be hard to find fresh wasabi outside of Japan, so most Japanese restaurants in the United States use wasabi powder or paste made from horseradish instead.
Horseradish has a lot in common with wasabi. They both have a similar sharp flavor and burning sensation so horseradish can be used as a substitute for wasabi.
But it’s not as good as the real thing. While horseradish has a similar look and taste, it doesn’t have the same kick as “true wasabi.”
Horseradish comes from the roots of a plant called Armoracia rusticana, while wasabi is made from the stem (or rhizome) of the Wasabia japonica plant.
You can eat either one raw or cooked, but they don’t taste the same when prepared that way.
If you love wasabi but you’re trying to eat more sustainably, Karachi is the perfect substitute for wasabi. Karachi is a plant that tastes just like wasabi.
While the flavor may not be identical to wasabi, it’s close enough for most people to enjoy it as a substitute. Plus, because Karachi doesn’t pack the same punch as wasabi, it’s far less likely to burn your mouth or cause excessive tearing.
Furthermore, Karachi grows in the region of Pakistan known as Karachi, which is why it’s called Karachi.
It is the only condiment on the market that is proven to lower your cholesterol, give you more energy and even help you live longer.
Is your palate in need of a kick? Try Ginger.
Ginger is often used as a substitute for wasabi. They are more common than wasabi, easier to get, and less expensive.
But this isn’t fair to ginger. Ginger and wasabi are two entirely different ingredients, and both offer similar flavor profiles that make them excellent additions to your spice rack.
Wasabi, also called Japanese horseradish, has a hot, spicy flavor. It’s often paired with soy sauce and ginger to create a dipping sauce for sushi. It can be eaten raw or pickled.
The only thing is that ginger is spicy and sweet at the same time, with an intense earthy aroma, compared to wasabi.
Mustard is made from yellow or brown seeds that have been ground into a paste. It has a strong, sharp taste, making it very popular as an ingredient in many dishes.
If you’re looking to add some zing to your meal, mustard can be a great way to do it. Forget about the color. Yes, it may not look like wasabi, but it tastes more like it.
Also, wasabi has a milder flavor than mustard but still retains its pungency after being cooked. While mustard and wasabi are from the Brassicaceae family, they come from different species. So don’t expect them to taste identical.
6. Chilli Peppers
Chilli Peppers and Wasabi are both delicious additions to meals that need a little extra something, but when choosing between the two, we know what we’re reaching for Chilli Peppers.
For one thing, Chilli Peppers are far easier to prepare than wasabi.
You don’t have to worry about grating your fingers on a tough piece of wasabi or having a spicy flavor that overwhelms all the dishes’ other tastes.
Instead, Chilli Peppers can be added in a simple pinch — enjoy the freshness of flavor from chili peppers!
The Yuzu is a citrus fruit that has a tart and spicy flavor.
It can be used as a substitute for wasabi in sushi sauces, and it can also be served along with the sushi and sashimi to give you that satisfaction you crave from wasabi.
Both condiments are Japanese favorites.
But, Yuzu is a healthier choice that brings out the best in your food without unnecessary additives.
8. Carolina Reaper
Carolina Reaper is a substitute for wasabi – for many people, yes! Those who love the fiery from wasabi won’t mind throwing a Carolina reaper in their meal to get that feeling again.
Although, it’s more intense than wasabi. Of course, it should. It is the hottest pepper in the world. At its peak heat, it can reach up to 1.5M on the Scoville scale, compared to wasabi’s 200K at its peak heat level.
Aside from the heat, Carolina Reapers have a complex flavor with hints of grassiness and fruitiness.
You can use it in your sauce, soups, stews, etc.
9. Homemade Wasabi Paste
If you’re tired of buying ready-made products like this (which are often overpriced), why not try making your own?
Homemade Wasabi Paste is not only cheaper than wasabi but also more convenient. On top of that, homemade wasabi contains all-natural ingredients.
All you need is to follow our instructions with a few ingredients strictly. You don’t have to travel to Japan or spend a lot of money on fancy ingredients to make your wasabi paste.
Instead, you can make it with the following ingredients:
- 3/8 cup (60g) horseradish powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1/4 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp potato starch
- 2 tbsp water
- Pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl, and you have your wasabi paste.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Make Fake Wasabi?
How do you make fake wasabi? You could buy the powder and mix it with water or buy the pre-mixed paste in a tube. You could even buy a powdered wasabi kit with seeds and a soil pellet, which allows you to grow your wasabi plants at home.
But why spend money on fake wasabi when you can make your own? It’s easy to make and tastes better than any store-bought variety. All you need is some horseradish, mustard, and soy sauce.
Is Horseradish Similar To Wasabi?
Yes, it is. It’s no surprise that horseradish and wasabi are similar: Both are used as an accompaniment to sushi and sashimi. Also, you can use them as a condiment for larger dishes (such as macaroni and cheese), since both have similar tastes, etc.
Besides that, wasabi is horseradish based. However, what is surprising is that horseradish and wasabi aren’t very closely related at all. Horseradish belongs to the cabbage family, while wasabi belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family. Surprising, right?
Is Wasabi A Horseradish?
No! Wasabi is not a horseradish. And I know you’re thinking, “Wait, what?” But hear me out. First of all, wasabi is a plant. Horseradish is a root vegetable. So right away, we can see that they come from two entirely different parts of the plant kingdom.
Second of all, they look different. Maybe that sounds like a trivial point, but when you think about it, the way something looks can tell us a lot about what it is and what it does —not to mention the cultural context it exists in.
Plus, their taste and texture are completely different. Wasabi has that spicy kick that hits you at the back of your throat and makes your eyes water — in other words; you know it’s there.
Horseradish is just spicy for spicy’s sake — it has this intense heat that sits on your tongue like an immovable lump of fire.
Thirdly and finally, they’re not even related!
They’re from COMPLETELY different families of plants —the wasabi plant is related to mustard and broccoli, while horseradish is related to cabbage and turnips.
Is Wasabi Spicy Or Bitter?
It depends on which list you’re looking at. Wasabi, the Japanese horseradish, is often described as bitter and astringent.
However, the popular condiment is also classified in some lists as spicy — meaning that it’s one of the few plant-based foods that can produce the hot, burning sensation we associate with chiles.
It’s no secret that wasabi is a great addition to any meal. Whether you’re enjoying sushi, sashimi, or just want to spice up your rice, wasabi is the answer. But did you know that there’s an even better substitute for wasabi? It’s called hot Daikon, mustard, Karachi, or even horseradish
We hope we’ve helped you find an alternative to wasabi that you can feel good about using. The main point is, why support a product that has ties to such an exploitative industry when there’s a variety of better options?
Keep your conscience as clean as your palate with the products we’ve recommended above.