What Are Wasabi Peas?

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Crunchy, fiery wasabi-coated peas are a pleasantly addictive treat.
Crunchy, fiery wasabi-coated peas are a pleasantly addictive treat. (Image: Kae Horng Mau/iStock/Getty Images)

A quick trip down the aisles of your local supermarket clearly demonstrates the allure of foods that combine crunchiness and salt. Snack-food makers are keenly aware of this, and treats as dissimilar as potato chips and wasabi peas share those two crucial characteristics. Wasabi peas add a blast of pungent heat, as well, with their characteristic coating of the powdered Japanese condiment.

The Basics

The peas you enjoy in your summertime garden are relatively tender and sweet, but left on the vine they'll become starchier as they mature. Those fully matured peas, dried for long storage, are the base of wasabi peas. They're first reconstituted in water and then partially dehydrated again, so they're dry but not as rock-hard as they were in their fully dried form. Then they're either deep-fried or slow-roasted with a small amount of oil, and coated with a mixture of salt and dried wasabi powder. The end result is a light, crisp, crunchy, salty, spicy treat that always tempts you to take "just one more handful."

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