Karashi vs Wasabi: 2 Pungent Condiments that Represent Japan
When it comes to the condiments for traditional Japanese buckwheat noodles “Nihon Soba (日本そば)“, in addition to “Shichimi Togarashi (七味唐辛子)“, I love to add grated Japanese horseradish “Wasabi (わさび)” to the cup of Soba.
In terms of the condiment for Nihon Soba, I think Wasabi is a normal choice, but some Japanese, especially those living in Niigata Prefecture, prefer adding “Karashi (からし)” to the Soba cup.
Actually, Karashi is an essential condiment for Niigata’s specialty “Hegi Soba (へぎそば)“, and if you have a chance to go to a famous Hegi Soba restaurant in Niigata “Kojimaya (小嶋屋)”, in place of Wasabi, Karashi will come with their Hegi Soba noodles.
The Difference between Karashi and Wasabi
By the way, do you know how Karashi is different from Wasabi? For those who don’t know much about these spicy pungent Japanese condiments, today I will talk about the difference between them.
As mentioned above, Wasabi is a green paste prepared by grinding the ground rhizomes of Japanese horseradish, while Karashi usually refers to the yellow mustard made from the crushed seeds of brassica juncea.
Karashi is very similar in appearance to Western yellow mustard and is referred to as Japanese mustard in English speaking countries.
Both Wasabi and Karashi are spicy, pungent condiments. Wasabi is characterized by its refreshing taste and smell as well as stimulating your nose when eating, while Karashi is similar to Western yellow mustard, but usually more intense in pungency and aroma.
Wasabi is famous as a condiment or garnish for Sushi and Sashimi and can remove the fishy odor. In addition to being used for Sushi and Sashimi, in Japan, Wasabi is used to flavor various snack foods including these.
On the other hand, we Japanese usually eat Natto fermented soybeans, Tonkatsu pork cutlets, Oden stewed ingredients and so on with Japanese mustard Karashi.