You’ve probably made garlic mashed potatoes or mashed potatoes with cream cheese. But have you tried mashed potatoes with wasabi?
According to the website RealWasabi, wasabi was discovered hundreds of years ago in a remote mountain village of Japan by a farmer who decided cultivate it and, “he reportedly showed it to Tokugawa Ieyasu, a Japanese warlord of the era. Ieyasu, who later became Shogun, liked it so much he declared it a treasure only to be grown in the Shizuoka area.”
Wasabi, in its pure form, is a root that is known for its heat. It’s in the same family as horseradish and mustard – two other plants known for their heat. Unlike chile peppers, which get their heat from capsaicin, wasabi releases a series of hot vapors when grated. I like to use the raw wasabi paste in mashed potatoes, not for its heat, but for its overall flavor.
Wasabi roots are difficult to grow, and a pound of roots can cost up to $100. As a result, a substitute for wasabi is often made by combining mustard, horseradish, and food coloring as a cheap alternative to the real thing. When you buy wasabi paste at your local market, be sure it lists wasabi or wasabi root, as it’s main ingredient.
If you’ve never experienced wasabi, or are trying it for the first time, use a scant 2 teaspoons of wasabi paste in the recipe below. If you like wasabi, I recommend a full 3 teaspoons.
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes (washed, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)
½ whole cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
2 to 3 teaspoons wasabi paste
¼ cup chives (chopped for garnish)
Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 12 minutes or until potatoes are beginning to fall apart. Test for doneness by piercing with a fork. If the fork does not easily go into the potato, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Drain water from potatoes, put back into saucepan, and set aside.
Heat the milk, butter, salt and wasabi paste in small saucepan over medium-low heat until butter is melted (do not boil). Whisk to combine, remove from heat and set aside.
Using a potato masher or an electric mixer (on low speed), beat potatoes until they begin to look mashed. Add milk/wasabi mixture and beat potatoes until they are smooth and a touch fluffy.
Season with more salt, if desired, garnish with chives and bring to table while still hot.
Note: This recipe make 2 – 3 servings and may be doubled for up to 6 servings.