It’s not what you think.

The green paste sat beside your spicy tuna roll is known as wasabi. It's a fiery condiment well known by sushi lovers. But this wasabi, the one we all know and love, isn't the real deal.

What is it?

Most wasabi on the market is horseradish with green dye. Real wasabi is rare and pretty pricey–fresh root, grated to order. But the faux wasabi is what most of us prefer, anyway. It's got a fiery kick that hits your sinuses, leaving a refreshing and slightly sweet aftertaste.

Getting to know wasabi

Wasabi, a cool-weather-loving plant from Japan, was more than just a spicy kick to sushi back in the day. It was actually celebrated for its antibacterial powers and used to dodge food poisoning. But growing it is pretty tough. It needs shade, clean water, and gravel-rich soil, making it rare and pricey. So when the world began craving Japanese cooking, fake wasabi (horseradish and food colouring) stepped in to fill the void. It's spicy, sure, but doesn't quite match the real deal's unique charm. Real wasabi is milder, with a sweet, delicate taste.

How to use up the leftover packets

We're often given far too many packets of wasabi with takeaway sushi. Here are a few ways to use them up.

Salad dressings

If you're finding yourself bored with uninteresting salads, update your dressing with wasabi. It'll add a fiery kick.

Spice up your sandwich

We've started mixing wasabi with mayonnaise and spreading it over our sandwiches. The mayonnaise tempers its spicy bite, adding a subtle heat to your sandwich, and not overwhelming other ingredients.