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The Masked Tulip

Wasabi, Stephen Fry & Qi

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On QI just now Stephen Fry stated that most of the wasabi served in UK restaurants is - because it takes two years to grow and, for some reason, is expensive to ship - is turnip dyed green.

I did a double take at this but the luvvies on the show seemed to accept it.

If this is indeed true then surely there would be some illegal stuff going on re the trade description's act - I would be cheesed off if I ordered steak, for example, and got dyed turnip.

Secondly, wasabi has a very hot taste to it which heats the mouth. What would they be adding to green dyed turnip to achieve this heat?

Personally, I feel that this dyed green turnip replacement for wasabi to be a bit of b*ll*x as surely it would be illegal. I see numerous wasabi products for sale in supermarkets - doubt that they are dyed turnips.

"Hmm, darling, this wasabi tastes a bit turnipy.".

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The first thing to know about wasabi - or Wasabia japonica, as it's officially known - is that you have probably never tried the real thing.

That light green paste nestled next to the pink ginger in your box of sushi? It is most likely a mix of mustard, European horseradish, and food colouring.

In fact, by some estimates, only 5% of the wasabi served in Japanese restaurants around the world comes from the rhizome, or root, of a wasabi plant

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HPC knowledge is wonderful.

So all those people you know who wax lyrical about how wonderful their wasabi is are actually talking a load of b*ll*ox whereas Stephen Fry was not.

I have sat in restaurants with people who have raved about the stuff.

But how do they get horseradish around the trade descriptions then if it is horseradish? How do the supermarkets get away with selling green stuff labelled as wasabi?

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I know the BBC is rubbish but I read and enjoyed this article about wasabi a few months ago...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29082091

Fascinating. Seems the Japanese do not want anyone else growing the stuff. Can you imagine trying to grow it here - you would be having scrogs turning up in transist vans at 4 in the morning to nick your crop... and magistrates giving them suspended sentences having wiped out your multi-million pound investment.

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HPC knowledge is wonderful.

So all those people you know who wax lyrical about how wonderful their wasabi is are actually talking a load of b*ll*ox whereas Stephen Fry was not.

I have sat in restaurants with people who have raved about the stuff.

But how do they get horseradish around the trade descriptions then if it is horseradish? How do the supermarkets get away with selling green stuff labelled as wasabi?

Cow-vs-Tall-Cow-e1362607871371.jpg

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I'm going to have a crack at growing some Wasabi in the greenhouse this year. I looked into it before after failing to buy some decent powered Wasabi as I wanted to recreate the wasabi almonds from LIDIL.

Anyway there was someone selling wasabi plants on eBay. Worth a crack at £400/kg

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I'm going to have a crack at growing some Wasabi in the greenhouse this year. I looked into it before after failing to buy some decent powered Wasabi as I wanted to recreate the wasabi almonds from LIDIL.

Anyway there was someone selling wasabi plants on eBay. Worth a crack at £400/kg

Instead of Wasabia Japonica you will probably end up getting sent Fallopia Japonica and spend the next 20 years trying to get rid of it.

BTW I understand that the latter, the dreaded Japanese Knotweed, is edible if you harvest it early in the year so maybe we should be eating it to extinction rather than poncing about with exotic radishes

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.... Can you imagine trying to grow it here - you would be having scrogs turning up in transist vans at 4 in the morning to nick your crop...

As a child I travelled through some wasteland quite regularly. For a few years running (autumn time if I remember correctly) there would be 3 or 4 blokes spending hours on this wasteland digging up this white root.

I asked one of the guys what they were doing and he told me it was horseradish and they were selling it to restaurants in central London.

Considering the land was a former rubbish dump I wouldn't have eaten the stuff!

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Hmm, he could have said horseradish instead of turnips. It is spicey isn't but not as hot as wasabi.

Wasabi is just a trendy horseradish, innit?

AIUI, they're about as closely related as different varieties of chilli. Oh, and in a couple of months when the asparagus is in season, you can make a surprisingly delicious sauce for it by mixing horseradish or wasabi into creme fraiche. mmmm :)

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That light green paste nestled next to the pink ginger in your box of sushi? It is most likely a mix of mustard, European horseradish, and food colouring.

A perfect partner to crab sticks then.

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