October 28, 2020
4 Best Horseradish Substitutes for Home Cooking
We’ve rounded up some of the best horseradish substitutes you can get your hands on today.
With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s impossible not to dream of what to put on our tables.
Wonderful, complex roasts brimming with flavor, beef steaks grilled perfectly medium-rare, palate cleansers to pave way for more food to come.
During this season, one of the most commonly used ingredients is horseradish.
Horseradish, while commanding a relatively strong following, doesn’t quite rank as a kitchen or pantry staple. Around the holidays, however, it appears that more and more households take interest in this root ingredient, and with good reason.
Not only does it provide a cleansing and refreshing taste, albeit strong and pungent, it also stimulates the appetite with its spicy yet addicting taste.
Because of its increased demand during the holiday season, horseradish can become quite challenging to find during this time. Don’t fret.
What Is Horseradish?
Horseradish is a type of root from a hardy plant hailing from the Brassicaceae or mustard family. It is renowned for its pungent and fleshy root.
Although relatively smooth with no odor when uprooted, horseradish’s distinct smell lingers once you cut into it.
This root packs in the heat and pungency, giving those around it a whiff of nasal-clearing properties. Its unique taste and complex flavor make it a great paste when used as a condiment or as a table relish.
As mentioned, this root brings some heat and spiciness. In fact, a small serving can bring anyone to tears.
However, this sensation only lingers for a few moments, unlike that of spicy peppers which lasts for a longer time. The peculiar thing is that this heat is only experienced in the nose and sinuses.
Apart from its spiciness and heat, this root also bears hints of peppery notes. It is normally added to vinegar, mayonnaise, and mustard.
Often, green-tinted horseradish is used in place of real wasabi as the latter is hard to grow and expensive to buy.
Best Horseradish Substitute
For those looking for a close alternative to horseradish and its freshly grated texture, look no further than mustard. If you have mustard seeds you can use them as well by coarsely grounding them to bring out the flavor.
Mustard makes a worthy substitute to horseradish because it has a similar pungency as its counterpart.
What’s more, mustard also packs in the heat with its peppery flavor profile.
Bear in mind that for a successful recipe you should use a type of mustard similar to what your dish calls for. For example, those that require horseradish sauce should use creamy dijon mustard instead.
This helps mirror the consistency of the dish you want to recreate.
Another go-to option you should never rule out is Japanese wasabi root. Granted it’s quite difficult and rare to find, wasabi root has one of the closest flavor profiles to horseradish.
They both come from the same Brassicaceae family, which explains their similarities.
As you might know, wasabi bears such close similarities to horseradish that the latter is commonly used to create fake green wasabi paste served in lower-end restaurants and sushi joints.
Although having similar tastes, wasabi root typically has a slight and mild sweetness to it, alongside some floral notes.
In the event that your search for Japanese wasabi root leads nowhere, you can always use ever-reliable wasabi paste. Albeit not the real thing, this makes for a great substitute in a pinch.
However, since it is concentrated, start by using small amounts and working your way up from there.
For those who don’t want to sacrifice texture, ginger is a more accessible and somewhat sustainable option you can rely on.
Its fibers are similar to those of horseradish, making it a suitable alternative.
While ginger has some heat, its flavor profile is a cross between earthy, lemony, and peppery. As such, it isn’t nearly as numbing or shocking as horseradish.
So, when using ginger as a substitute, you may need to use more than the recipe calls for.
The Bottom Line
Finding horseradish substitutes can be challenging. But, with these alternatives, you can easily mimic the flavors and textures that horseradish brings to the table. Just be mindful of the amounts you’re using and you’re good to go.
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