Updated: March 15, 2019
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Learn Everything About Oshinko

A vegetarian's favorite, oshinko is healthy and yummy!

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What is Oshinko?

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Variety of Japanese pickled vegetables.
You have probably noticed that every single meal in Japan has some kind of pickled vegetable as a side dish. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, you name it!
Over the centuries Japanese cuisine has developed a wide variety of techniques to pickle vegetables, using, for example, vinegar (酢漬け - Suzuke), sugar and vinegar (甘酢漬け - Amasuzuke), mold-cultured rice (塩麹 - Koji) and salt (塩漬け - Shiozuke), to name a few.

Oshinko (御新香) is a pickle made with salt (shiozuke) usually made from daikon radish. Other vegetables, including carrots and cucumbers, can also be used to make oshinko, though daikon is the most common.
In other words, the word "oshinko" can be used to refer to a variety of different types of Japanese pickled vegetables, though it's more than likely to be daikon radish. Also called “Takuan”, oshinko made from daikon has a bright yellow coloration.

How is it made?

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Only three things are needed to prepare oshinko: a container, salt, and something to apply downward pressure on top of the pickles.
The traditional process uses a tsukemono ki (漬物器) (literally "pickling container"), a Japanese pickle press. The pressure is generated by heavy stones called tsukemono ishi (漬物石) (literally "pickle stone") with a weight of one to two kilograms, sometimes more. This type of pickle press is still in use, and can be made from a variety of materials, such as plastic, wood, glass or ceramic. Before tsukemono ishi came into use, the pressure was applied by driving a wedge between a handle of the container and its lid.

The finished oshinko is usually yellow in color and tastes like a salty pickled lightly-flavored radish.

How to eat it

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The preferred way to taste oshinko is in a roll, called oshinko maki. The rice and seaweed produce a perfect balance with the saltiness of the pickled daikon.A favorite among vegetarians, this dish is both delicious and filling!

It also works well in salads and other cold dishes, or as a light snack paired with a cold beer!
Since it's pickled, the oshinko can be stored for long periods in the fridge, even after opening – so it’s a relatively more convenient to handle than most sushi ingredients.
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