Power Up Your Pantry
ELLE Singapore|Aug 2018

Gourmet ingredients are fun to buy, but which ones are really worth the price tag? Mia Chenyze discovers how they can elevate your cooking game.

Wasabi

WHAT TO BUY: For fresh wasabi, check that it has a brilliant green appearance and a uniform stem thickness, says Shigeo Akiba, head chef of Nami Restaurant and Bar. It should also be quite plump and heavy in the hand. For wasabi paste, look out for brands that hail from Shizuoka, a prefecture known for quality wasabi. The products should also be labelled as “honwasabi” — an indication that it is made from whole wasabi rather than mixed.

MUST-KNOW: If using fresh wasabi within a few days, chef Akiba suggests wrapping it in damp newspaper or kitchen towels, then pack into a plastic container, and refrigerate. For longer storage, wrap wasabi tightly then freeze. The skin on the stem protects moisture and flavour, so take care to peel only what you need. One more thing, no thawing is required.

HOW TO USE: Using a non-metallic grater, grate wasabi from the bottom of the stem in a circular motion. Fresh wasabi is very delicate and loses flavour quickly when cooked, so use it in a finishing step, either grated or as a dip. Chef Akiba recommends pairing poached chicken rice with wasabi (as a substitute for ginger).

Available at Meidi-Ya Supermarket at Liang Court, and Cold Storage at Takashimaya DS.

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