Wasabi works brilliantly in mash, better than European mustards, I think. I love the way its pungency strikes, threatens to blow your head off, then disappears just as panic is about to set in. The texture and richness of mash contain and cushion the effect, though not enough to take the fun out of it. How much to use is one of those personal things that only trial and error will solve for you, but the quantities below should cause a little drama. The instruction ‘stir wasabi into mashed potato’ is all that’s required here if you’re a happy potato masher. But if you weren’t paying attention when your mother was trying to teach you, or you lost the knack during its years of being unfashionable, this will help. The quantities of everything, as ever, depend on the degree of flouriness of the potatoes. Someone should invent a scale of flouriness to be marked on potatoes for sale. In Ireland almost all the common varieties for sale are floury and perfect for mashing and roasting - Records, Kerr’s Pink, Golden Wonders, British Queens. Roosters, which are becoming more common here, are a kind of halfway house to waxy varieties and not so good for mashing, though still fine for roasting. Warming the milk and butter helps to stretch the starch of the potatoes, giving a fluffier mash. An energetic mashing arm is crucial too.
PUT THE POTATOES IN A POT of cold water, bring to the boil and cook at a rolling boil until the potatoes are cooked through. Peel the potatoes while they are still hot and put them back in the pot over a low heat for a couple of minutes to dry them. The drier the potatoes, the fluffier your mash will be. At the same time, warm the butter and milk together until the butter is just melting. Then use a potato masher to mash the potatoes thoroughly with the butter and milk. Season well with salt and a little pepper before adding the wasabi - use white pepper if you don’t want your mash flecked with black dots. Make a paste with the wasabi powder and a little water or milk, then stir it into the mash. Taste, then add more wasabi if you need to.
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