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Thoughts on wasabi mashed potatoes?

Cake Ladies Jan 10, 2008 06:33 AM

Had wasabi mashed potatoes for the first time at a coastal N.C. restaurant (we're a little behind the trend, I know), but have no comparison. The side had a strong wasabi punch, and the potatoes were as pale green as actually wasabi. They seemed overseasoned.

So my question: How should great wasabi mashed potatoes taste/look?

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  1. c
    Cathy RE: Cake Ladies Jan 10, 2008 06:58 AM

    There are no great wasabi mashed potatoes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cathy
      sirregular RE: Cathy Jan 10, 2008 08:22 AM

      I think that wasabi mashed potatoes have the potential to be great, or at least better than "not bad." It would have to be kept in context, though, and I can't really come up with a way to do that, beyond serving it next to a sesame steak. On second thought, even though I love wasabi, "great" might be stretching it.

      My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

    2. w
      Westy RE: Cake Ladies Jan 10, 2008 07:00 AM

      I have made horseradish mashed potatoes. They were okay, but, as my wife pointed out "After a few bites, you wish the horseradish wasn't there." It sounded like such a good idea at the time, too...

      1. hannaone RE: Cake Ladies Jan 10, 2008 07:30 AM

        I make my own at home using wasabi powder mixed with the potatoes. They are not seasoned to the point of being green, just enough to give a hint of wasabi. Very good as an occasional change to the standard.

        1. ajs228 RE: Cake Ladies Jan 10, 2008 07:34 AM

          If you want mashed potatoes with a little kick, try blending in hatch green chiles. Gives it some heat, without turning the color green.

          1. alanbarnes RE: Cake Ladies Jan 10, 2008 08:14 AM

            In the first place, it was unlikely that you got real wasabi in your mashed potatoes. The real thing is a root that is not widely available and costs a small fortune. The stuff that's found at most sushi bars is just horseradish and green food coloring. So odds are you were served horseradish mashed potatoes with a green tinge.

            Now I love horseradish. There's nothing better than fresh grated cream-syle horseradish with roast beef. But putting it in potatoes is one of my least favorite applications, especially since it's so easy to overdo. An elusive hint of sinus-tingling spice is okay, but the level of horseradish (or wasabi) should barely rise above the level of detectability. More than that and the dish can turn downright unpleasant very quickly.

            9 Replies
            1. re: alanbarnes
              madgreek RE: alanbarnes Jan 10, 2008 09:08 AM

              Does real wasabi taste a lot like horseradish? I bet I've never had the real stuff, but the green horseradish I use sparingly (or not at all), because I don't like it. I like spicy, just not that horseradish flavor. Yuck.

              1. re: madgreek
                alanbarnes RE: madgreek Jan 10, 2008 09:47 AM

                Although the two plants are close relatives, and therefore presumably similar in flavor, those who are in the know claim that the differences are dramatic. Thus justifying $90/pound plus overnight shipping charges for fresh wasabi rhisomes.

                I don't mind the green paste served in sushi bars, but it seems like it would be a lot better if they didn't use powdered ground stuff. Why not grate fresh horseradish (and color it green, if you must)? Similarly, you can buy powdered real wasabi, but it's still powdered.

                1. re: alanbarnes
                  KaimukiMan RE: alanbarnes Jan 10, 2008 11:40 AM

                  if you used grated instead of pureed or powdered it would not dissolve in your soy sauce when you mixed it.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                    alanbarnes RE: KaimukiMan Jan 10, 2008 12:12 PM

                    True, unless you use a sharkskin (or similar) grater. They make a paste rather than shreds.

              2. re: alanbarnes
                Caroline1 RE: alanbarnes Jan 12, 2008 07:28 AM

                Okay, so not every supermarket will have a selection of three brands of genuine wasabe, but the fact is it is NOT difficult to come by! Fresh wasabe is more difficult to find than dried, but dried has a nice long shelf life not shared by the fresh.

                I use Hime brand, available on the web, including Amazon. A small can will last the average home cook quite a while, and is well worth the cost. But I'm the type who also uses real saffron in paella. I can't say I've ever encountered "counterfiet" wasabe. At least not that I know of, and I think I have fairly well informed taste buds. You seem to have a rather jaded outlook on a lot of things, poor baby! '-)

                As for Mr. Food's question about wasabi mashed potatoes, not exactly my cup of tea. I tried making them once and felt it was a great waste of wasabe.

                However, for anyone stricken with the idea of green mashed potatoes, I don't know if his recipe is available on the web or not, but Jaime Oliver does a killer mashed potatoes with pureed green peas mixed in that is VERY good! I thought, "Gee, if peas are good, what about carrots?" So I tried mashed potatoes with pureed carrots mashed in. Not so good. At least not when compared to the pea mixture. Or wasabe.

                1. re: Caroline1
                  alanbarnes RE: Caroline1 Jan 12, 2008 09:03 AM

                  Hate to break it to you, but Hine and all the other cans and tubes of wasabi at the grocery store (even my local Japanese grocery) are "seiyo wasabi." Their primary ingredient is armoracia rusticana--plain ol' European horseradish. Anything made from wasabia japonica is going to be specifically and prominently labeled as "real wasabi" or "hon-wasabi." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasabi

                  1. re: alanbarnes
                    Caroline1 RE: alanbarnes Jan 12, 2008 09:33 AM

                    Don't know about the "plain old European horseradish." The label says "Japanese horseradish." But for the real thing, I found this website a coule of weeks ago and plan on ordering from them.
                    For the amounts a home cook uses, wasabi is NOT that expensive! What would I do with a pound of it? Six bucks for a reasonable amount that I'll use before it dies is a good price.

                    1. re: Caroline1
                      alanbarnes RE: Caroline1 Jan 12, 2008 10:46 AM

                      Thanks for the link! I see hon-wasabi in my future...

                      1. re: alanbarnes
                        lebelage RE: alanbarnes Jan 12, 2008 10:50 AM

                        I like this product, better than the powdered real wasabi and at a good price too:


              3. t
                tinymango RE: Cake Ladies Jan 10, 2008 09:42 AM

                i've never had good wasabi mashed potatoes. they've always fallen short for me.

                also had some wasabi potato salad once, sounded like a better idea but still not good. perhaps we should give up on the notion of the marriage of the wasabi root and potatoes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tinymango
                  jinet12 RE: tinymango Jan 11, 2008 08:10 AM

                  I have made many types of "mashed potatoes", with cheese, with roasted garlic, etc. etc. My favorite is still good ol real butter, salt, pepper, and either cream or, my personal fave, sour cream...I also don't like to whip them, but mash them instead...Also, don't like them too creamy, a bit lumpy is a good thing....

                2. p
                  Pampatz RE: Cake Ladies Jan 10, 2008 10:45 AM

                  I don't like wasabi mashed potatoes. I'm really tired of all the add-ins to mashed potatoes. Don't even like skins in the mashers. To me that's just laziness and makes the potatoes gritty. Salt, white pepper, butter and half & half-that's enough to make me happy.

                  1. jfood RE: Cake Ladies Jan 10, 2008 10:58 AM

                    There is a resto in Norwalk CT (Ocean Drive) that serves a Mahogony Sea Bass with Wasabi mashed potatoes. The hoison marinaded sea bass with the wasabi mashed is a perfect combo. Inthe right plating (hoison type) this addition to potatoes is absolutely wonderful.

                    They do have a tint of green to the color.

                    1. bubblet4me RE: Cake Ladies Jan 10, 2008 07:47 PM

                      The wasabi mashed potatoes at Trader Vic's are so amazing that I tend to order them as an extra side dish now. They have just a barely detectable hint of green color to them and the flavor is very subtle. TV pairs them with a mahi mahi steak and the flavors are a perfect match.

                      I tend to think of wasabi as a flavor to be paired with Asian flavors. If it is plated with something else, say a steak, it tends to just taste like horseradish and looses some of the delicateness that it has in comparison.

                      1. sixelagogo RE: Cake Ladies Jan 11, 2008 02:29 AM

                        wasabi mashed potatoes are so indicative of the mid-90's that having it at a restaurant is akin to wearing a neon Flashdance shirt paired with acid washed jeans.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: sixelagogo
                          alanbarnes RE: sixelagogo Jan 11, 2008 07:02 AM

                          I guess that's the difference between a chowhound and a foodie. Chow is about flavor, not fashion. If it tastes good, who cares if somebody else considers it passe?

                          Of course, wasabi mashed potatoes may be a bad recipe on which to raise this issue, given the questions as to whether they actually taste good. But since that's totally subjective we've got to let it go.

                          1. re: alanbarnes
                            jfood RE: alanbarnes Jan 11, 2008 07:39 AM

                            Thanks A. Jfood agrees that "in" and "out" foods are for writers and marketers.

                            jfood still love beef wellington, beef stew, chicken pot pie, wasabi potatoes, seared tuna, tuna tartare and many other foods that were included on another thread on what foods should be retired.

                            And sometimes a hot dog is just a hot dog.

                            1. re: jfood
                              moh RE: jfood Jan 11, 2008 08:04 AM

                              Jfood, love your list of Loved Items that others want to retire. Pot Pies make me want to sing. And I am not ashamed to say it, I really like green jello salads lke they used to make in the 50's 60's and 70's. I make fun of my friend who makes it all the time, but I also insist he makes it whenever we have a potluck with him!!! (I'm a terrible friend...)

                              BUT... love wasabi. love mashed potatoes (they were very exotic for a Korean kid growing up in an immigrant household). For the most part, am a big fan of fusion. But I have a hard time enjoying the two together. The creamy, silky, comforting goodness that is mashed potatoes doesn't seem to match psychologically with the racy, bracing rush of wasabi. Yes the first few bites are exciting, and may taste very good. But my head is in a different place when I eat these two items, and I have a hard time reconciling the two mental spaces.

                              1. re: moh
                                moh RE: moh Jan 12, 2008 07:40 AM

                                Jfood, I thought about this further. I just posted about my Korean Mom's perogies on another post. Potato and cheese perogies based on a Ukrainian recipe, and she adds mild Korean style spicing to the potatoes. I love them. And I asked, well how is this different that wasabi in mashed? Maybe I just have to get my head around this combination. Mild Korean spicing and potatoes seem easier, because I equate both with comfort food, and they are the same mental space. Perhaps I'll give wasabi mash another go if I see it in a restaurant.

                              2. re: jfood
                                sixelagogo RE: jfood Jan 11, 2008 10:09 AM

                                yes, but like fashion, top-40 songs, and the like, there are classics, and others that are just fads...i think wasabi potatoes are indicative of the fusion fad that graced the nation circa 1996-1998. As a line cook during that time I HATED making them and plating them, reguardless how much i enjoy wasabi and potatoes.

                                1. re: sixelagogo
                                  jfood RE: sixelagogo Jan 11, 2008 12:45 PM

                                  given the choice of disco and wasabi-masjed, please pass the fork.

                          2. mamaciita RE: Cake Ladies Jan 11, 2008 04:26 AM

                            Here is a recipe from Gourmet that I've made several times. I don't have a ricer so I mash the potatoes (skins on). I thought the cheese was way too much when I used the entire amount, so I use about half.


                            1. babette feasts RE: Cake Ladies Jan 12, 2008 02:05 AM

                              My chef is always raiding the cake decorating food colors when he makes wasabi creme fraiche.

                              I think enhancing the color is supposed to complete the visual-taste connection, as if people will be more satisfied with the wasabi flavor if the food is wasabi colored, even if there is not that much wasabi in it.

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