My Wasabi Mashed Potatoes are creamy smooth with a nice amount of heat from the wasabi. Perfect with a simply seasoned piece of sautéed or roasted fish. Typically, if I am serving fish with these potatoes, the only seasoning I add to the fish is salt, it doesn’t need anything else.
Not all wasabi is created equal
Genuine wasabi is actually very difficult to grow and requires very specific growing conditions. This makes it quite rare and ridiculously expensive. Therefore, genuine wasabi is not the right ingredient for my wasabi mashed potatoes recipe. Wasabi mashed potatoes should be made using the artificial wasabi made with horseradish. Genuine wasabi grows naturally in the cool running waters of streambeds in the mountain river valleys of Japan. It is made from the root of a plant, Wasabi Japonica, which belongs to the Brassicaceae family, a cousin to cabbage, mustard, and horseradish. It is this rhizome that is ground into a paste to make genuine wasabi.
The intensity of the flavor in genuine wasabi is actually very short-lived. When the rhizome of the plant is ground, there is a sudden chemical reaction that takes place at the cellular level resulting in an herbal, spicy, pungency. This chemical reaction lasts only a few minutes and then is completely gone after about 15-minutes.
Horseradish vs Wasabi
The stuff you’ve been eating at sushi restaurants is more than likely artificial wasabi. A mixture of horseradish, mustard, and green food coloring, although it is said to have a similar taste (I don’t think I’ve ever had real wasabi) it is also said to be harsher and lacks the subtle qualities of the real deal.
Because it is so rare and expensive the Sushi Chef will probably make a show of preparing genuine wasabi for you. So, unless you’ve seen the Sushi Chef grating the root of wasabi japonica you’re probably eating the fake stuff too. Sorry.
The wasabi I used for the wasabi mashed potatoes recipe is labeled ‘HOT’, once you add the butter and half & half, 1-tablespoon per pound of potatoes it is ideal. Some wasabi is more intense than others, taste the potatoes before serving, you can always add a little more if the wasabi has a mild flavor, but do so at you’re own risk. A little goes a long way.
Best Potatoes for Mashing
- High-Starch Potatoes: My Dad made the best-mashed potatoes, and he always used the high starch Russet potatoes. Russets are a ‘floury’ potato that has low moisture content and more of a fluffy texture when cooked, making them my go-to for light, creamy, smooth mashed potatoes.
- Medium-Starch Potatoes: Yukon Gold potatoes are somewhere in between the Russet and the Red Potato having characteristics of both a waxy and a floury potato. These will produce a dense, creamy mashed potato.
- Low-Starch / Waxy Potatoes: Red Potatoes are what’s called a ‘waxy’ potato and will hold their shape when cooked, they make an interesting niche / rustic mashed potato, but not what we are looking for in this or any traditional mashed potato recipe.
How to Make the Best Mashed Potatoes
- Peel the potatoes and cut into equal size pieces, approximately 2-inches. If you choose to leave the skins on, be sure to scrub the skins very well to remove all dirt.
- Boil the potatoes in well-salted water. Anytime a recipe calls for boiling veggies, potatoes, or pasta, in salted water, it should taste like the ocean. Not enough salt and you’ll have a bland result in the end.
- Don’t over boil. You just want them to cook to the point that the tip of a knife will pierce the potato with little resistance. Over-boiling will cause the potatoes to fall apart in the water.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot uncovered. Let them steam for a minute or two to dry out and rid the pot of excess moisture.
- Combine the butter, dairy, and other ingredients in another pot. Bring to a simmer before adding them to the hot potatoes. Never add cold ingredients to your hot potatoes.
- Mash by hand, not with a machine. There is a lot of starch in these potatoes, and the mechanical action of a mixer or food processor releases more of the starch. This has the potential of making the finished mashed potatoes gluey and gummy. If this happens, you can rescue gummy mashed potatoes by stirring in more hot cream or stock. Rather than light and fluffy, they will be a lot creamier, but at least they won’t be gummy.
Here is my recipe for Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
- 2 Pounds Russet Potatoes Peeled, 2-inch dice
- 1/2 Cup Half & Half Simmering
- 2 Tablespoons Wasabi Hot (Temps vary, read the label, adjust quantity as needed
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter Melted
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- Place diced potatoes in a small pot covered in salted water over high heat. Water should have enough salt to taste like the ocean. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook at a low boil until a knife pierces the potato easily. Approximately 20-25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot over low heat. Let the potatoes steam uncovered for about 1-minute to evaporate some of the excess moisture.
- Combine all the other ingredients in a small pot and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn. (or microwave until steaming hot).
- Add the hot liquid to the potatoes and use a hand masher, mash the potatoes until smooth, about 1-minute