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Wasabi sauce (Recipe: ginger salad dressing)


Our friend Matt — artist, designer, and carpenter extraordinaire — helps Ted with construction projects from time to time.

One Saturday morning, as they were working on the mega-bookcase that now houses 350 of my cookbooks, I overheard the following snippet of conversation. I don't know who started it, or why.

"What's that Japanese word? You know, for good design, or beauty. It's kind of like wasabi."

"Wasabi??? No, no, that's the spicy stuff for sushi."

"Hmmm. Maybe it's wabi-sabi? Could that be right?"

"Sounds right, but I can never remember which is which."

I'm still giggling. And they didn't even get around to Wasabi, the Jean Reno movie (tag line: Quite possibly the greatest French-Language, English-Subtitled, Japanese Action-Comedy of all time).

Real wasabi, a member of the cabbage family, has a root that's ground into a spice, much like horseradish — which often substitutes in the wasabi served in American (and many Japanese) restaurants.

Horseradish subs in my favorite Gold's Wasabi Sauce, too. This bright green slather isn't the healthiest thing in my pantry (sometimes it's best not to read labels too closely), but it's absolutely delicious. People who fear wasabi — too strange! too spicy! too green! — love this sauce, which contains no wasabi at all. I often use it when making sushi, both as a dip mixed with soy sauce, and as an ingredient inside the maki rolls. It's also a great topping for a cold roast beef sandwich, or mixed with yogurt for a veggie dip. The flavor is mildly hot, with a noticeable kick of ginger, and it's mildly addictive, too.

There are lots of wasabi sauces on the market, and Trader Joe's makes a wasabi mayonnaise that's pretty darned good. You'll find Gold's Wasabi Sauce in the seafood section of your regular grocery store, or online.   

Ginger salad dressing

If you use another brand of wasabi sauce that doesn't have ginger, add 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger to this recipe. Serves 8.


2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp soy sauce
2/3 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 tsp Gold's Wasabi Sauce (with ginger)
1-1/4 tsp honey
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste


Place all ingredients in a jar with a screw-top lid, and shake until emulsified.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

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I see... ;-) I've never tasted wasabi with garlic! Unless you count the pickled pink garlic you get in Japanese restaurants...

I watched Wasabi in the cinema years ago, and yes, it was quite entertaining!

Hoho, I once was with an American friend strolling around in Singapore when a TV crew happened to be passing, looking for, of all things, hapless "foreigners" (how politically incorrect!) - to eat little makis fill with only rice and wasabi! :) So, with cameras rolling, he had to eat it without shedding a tear! He fared pretty well, before whispering to the crew off-camera that it was nothing, since he had been living in Japan for the previous 6 months! :)

Anyway, I was surprised to discover that horseradish surfaces often in German food, too. Well, I systematically received it as a dip whenever I ordered sausages. Pretty mild stuff, though.

I love wasabi and this looks like a good product. And thanks for the dressing recipe--we'll use that in our household.

Wabi-sabi! That's great, I can picture a wasabi root dimly lit on a spare wooden table...I am going to have to look for this Gold's stuff. And I read in an old Saveur that most of the wasabi is the US is just horseradish mixed with Green, have you ever had the "real" stuff?

Wasabi... I really love it. Even in my home country, Vietnam, washabi has become an essential accompaniment. I didn't know that some wasabi sauce in the States does not contain wasabi. Normally I am stick with the Japanese products.

I like working with the powdered wasabi as well. Mix a tablespoon in with a little milk and add it to potatoes as you mash them. Gives them a nice, subtle zing.

I must admit I'd never known what wasabi really was, so it's nice to know about the real thing and its various "cousins!" I'm going to find me some Gold's!

I am reading this over lunch and have just imbibed a large blob of wasabi.

Thanks for introducing me to this brand (I love the bottle). I've only used wasabi a handful of times, but haven't used it in dressing. This sounds like a delicious recipe, and I'm looking forward to trying it.

Shilpa, great story! I can picture your friend's face, trying not to let the wasabi get to him....

Sher, this is really a good product for people who don't like super-spicy wasabi. It's definitely got a kick, but not as much as the real thing.

Callipygia, I do keep the real thing in my pantry also, in powdered form (I'll be blogging about that, too). A lot of "wasabi" products in the US don't have any wasabi at all. Best to read the labels carefully.

Anh, I'm pretty addicted to hot and spicy things, and I love the kick of real wasabi.

Terry, I've never tried wasabi mashed potatoes -- but that's a super idea.

TW, this brand (Gold's) is in all of the larger supermarkets around here (and here is a somewhat rural place). There are other brands, too, that you can find in gourmet stores or Whole Foods.

Kitchen Hand, welcome to the pantry! What did you eat with your wasabi blob?

Susan, isn't the bottle hard to resist? I confess that's why I bought it in the first place, but it turned out that people who don't usually like wasabi seem to like this stuff (yes, it has sweeteners in it), so I get a lot of use out of it.

what a delicious sounding salad dressing! I can't wait for salad season to come back around. This snow in March thing is bs! I want spring back!

I love Wasabi, we have it with tinned tuna in rolls or mixed with mashed potato!

I found wasabi in a tube (like Amore tomato paste). It's great to have for just that little touch of heat when needed.

What? There's a Jean Reno movie I haven't seen?

Love wasabi. Love horseradish. Love the idea of all that goodness in a bottle.

I made some yaki nori at home once with some wasabi. My ex girlfriend thought she liked hot food, so took a large scoop of wasabi into her mouth.

She was sick :)

Ann, it's snowing like crazy here in NW Rhode Island this morning, so I know just how you feel. Two days ago it was 70 here....

Freya, another wasabi mashed potato person! I am definitely going to have to try this.

Pauline, tubes are great. So many foods in Europe come in tubes. I've always wondered why the US is so far behind in food packaging.

Elise, I love Jean Reno in just about everything! He's like the French Gene Hackman, in more movies than anyone.

Scott, clearly she failed the wasabi test! I've never used that one, but many many years ago I did use the chocolate ice cream test on my husband before we were married. If he couldn't eat a pint, with a spoon, right from the container, he would have failed.

I love the kick that wasabi gives! I think we made a wasabi aioli in class which is garlic , wasabi powder and the homemade mayo. It was great on sesame crusted tuna.

Wasabi is Wasabi...no substitute!
Great packaging on that bottle~ I will keep my eyes open for it.

That is a great bottle, I agree. Wasabi has now made it up to the northern hinterlands. Now how can I make it French?

Veron, wasabi aioli on tuna sounds just perfect!

Sandi, wasabi IS wasabi -- except, it seems, in this sauce, and in lots of things that are labeled wasabi but really use horseradish for the kick. I keep powdered wasabi (the real stuff) in my pantry, too.

Mimi, I'll be watching your blog and waiting for wasabi (or even wasabi sauce) to show up in one of your fabulous French recipes!

Lydia, Can I please move in with you and your 350 cookbooks, please??? :) I personally have yet to acquire a taste for wasabi, it really makes my nose sting and eyes water! But maybe TJ's wasabi mayo is the thing to try.

First time I had wasabi I almost died, Lydia - I thought "omg, this is tooo strong!" lol

I've learned to love it. :)

Nupur, if you're ever in Rhode Island.... and do try the TJ's wasabi mayo. It's really not spicy -- at least not to me!

Patricia, look for one of these wasabi sauces -- most of them don't have any wasabi at all, just horseradish, which isn't nearly as incendiary. I love the real thing, but I do love this "fake" stuff, too.

You always come up with the most fascinating stuff! Never seen this wasabi sauce, I´ll have to go to the Japanese supermarket to see if they have it.

It's Wasabi Sauce without wasabi...I'm sure there's a who's on first dialogue here but I'll skip that.
I will look for the Gold's!
We enjoy wasabi and horseradish.

Ximena, you can add this to the list of pantry items I'm going to send to you. Really.

Tanna, there is something a little bit Abbott and Costello about this!

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