If you’re familiar with sushi, you’re probably familiar with oshinko (especially if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet). But what is oshinko, exactly—and how do you make it?
What Is Oshinko?
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Oshinko, which means “fragrant dish,” refers to Japanese pickled vegetables. It can be made from all sorts of vegetables, but it’s most commonly made with daikon radishes.
Though daikon radishes are white, they turn yellow when pickled.
Oshinko daikon radish is made with salt, sugar, vinegar, according to Izzy Cooking. Other types of seasonings, like sake and red chili pepper, are often added.
Most often, oshinko is associated with sushi. Many vegetarian and vegan sushi lovers are familiar with the oshinko roll (pickled radish rolled in sushi rice and seaweed).
Related: How to Pickle Anything
Oshinko vs. Tsukemono
These days (especially in the U.S.), oshinko and tsukemono are all but synonymous.
However, this has not always been the case.
Traditionally, tsukemono refers to all Japanese pickles. Oshinko, meanwhile, refers to lightly pickled vegetables made in a short time without fermenting ingredients.
In other words: Oshinko is always tsukemono, but tsukemono is not always oshinko.
What Does Oshinko Taste Like?
Before it’s pickled, the daikon radish tastes sweet and mild. It’s generally less potent than other types of radishes.
It retains that sweetness after it’s pickled, but becomes quite a bit more salty because of the pickling process.
Oshinko Health Benefits
Because oshinko is pickled and not fermented, it doesn’t pack the probiotic-rich punch some think it does. However, daikon is considered by many to be a superfood.
Nutritional highlights of daikon include:
- It’s low in calories but high in fiber, which makes it a great food for weight loss or management.
- It’s high in vitamin C, which helps support a healthy immune system.
- It contains several enzymes that may aid in digestion.
How to Make Oshinko
You can order oshinko online or find it in Japanese or Asian grocery stores.
However, it’s easy to make your own oshinko—provided you can find daikon radishes, of course.
Again, your best bet is going to be an Asian grocery store. But you’re also likely to find this type of radish at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and similar chain and local stores.
Look for daikon that is firm, smooth, and dense.
To make oshinko:
- Peel and slice 1 pound of daikon into thin strips.
- Put the strips in a large jar or container with 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, and ⅔ cup sugar.
- Tightly seal the container and refrigerate for two to three days.
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