From the Spice Cupboard: Wasabi Powder

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For us, wasabi powder is one of those ingredients we bought for a specific recipe and then thought, "Huh. Ok, now what?" It's a pretty product to have on the shelf, with its pale, lemony-lime green color, but we rarely use it. That's a shame, really, because it adds a sharp heat that is great in a lot of dishes.

Wasabi powder is the dried form of Japanese horseradish that is commonly seen as a paste on the side of your sushi plate. In fact, you can add water to wasabi powder to form your own paste at home.

We've used wasabi powder on fish, mostly tuna, but you can add it to mashed potatoes, eggs, or salad dressings. It has the intense kick you know from eating the paste, but it's easy to get a mellow flavor when you mix it into a sauce or marinade. It's a good option for adding heat without using chiles or red pepper flakes, and it goes well with creamy things (mixed into mayonnaise, added to a dip) that tone it down.

Most wasabi powders are not pure, 100 percent wasabi root. They have some mustard mixed in, which adds to the biting, tangy flavor.

A few recipes to try:
Wasabi Dip, from Paula Deen.
Fresh Tuna Salad, from Ina Garten.
Avocado Wasabi Salad, from Vegan Yum Yum.
Cucumbers with Wasabi and Rice Vinegar, from Gourmet.
Salmon with Soy-Honey and Wasabi Sauces, from Gourmet.

Anyone have a favorite use for wasabi powder?

Related: From the Spice Cupboard: Chinese Five-Spice Powder

(Images: The Spice House; Amazon)

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