Wasabi is a spice derived from the grated bits of a Japanese plant called Wasabia Japonica. It apparently loses its flavor quickly and doesn't leave an aftertaste. Since the wasabi we enjoy alongside our sushi is strong enough to clear our sinuses and leaves a burning aftertaste, it's likely not the real deal. If that's the case, we figured we might as well pick up a store-bought variety for our homemade sushi or seafood accompaniments. Imitation wasabi is a paste usually made of horseradish, mustard and green food coloring. Our panelists sampled five varieties to see which options they would keep in their pantries or refrigerators.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent