What Is Oshinko? Learn All About It and How To Make Oshinko Roll

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Odette Published: June 17, 2021 Modified: October 1, 2021
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Have you ever tried Japanese cuisine before? Or better yet, seen a Japanese dining table? If you have, the first thing you will immediately notice is the assortment of side dishes. They almost play the same role as the main dish in that some people can’t eat without delicious appetizers and flavor enhancers. However, they don’t exist just to increase your appetite. Some side dishes are used to refresh your palate when the food becomes extra greasy. And among the number of side dishes you’ll see is oshinko.

This pickled side dish can be enjoyed with a lot of dishes like the well-known shrimp tempura. Usually, however, you see this pickled radish in sushi rolls — a well-loved dish among the vegetarian and vegan community. But for vegetarians and vegans, maki roll is the favorite.

To get you started on oshinko, check our guide below to find out how it’s made, how it differs from other pickled vegetables, and how it’s made into amazing sushi rolls!

What is Oshinko?

Oshinko in white background, pickled daikon radish

Oshinko is a fragrant dish made of daikon radish that’s been lightly pickled and stored in a jar or airtight container. Basically, in Japanese cooking, you can also use carrots and cucumbers, but nowadays, people mostly use daikon for this pickled vegetable. Similarly, oshinko has a counterpart in Korean cuisine called danmuji where it often accompanies jjajangmyeon (black bean noodles in English).

Contrary to its bright yellow color, oshinko has a sour yet salty taste but the pickling taste is light. Perhaps like a mildly flavored carrot and radish. For this reason, it’s also a very good palate refresher for dishes with very strong umami (a flavor that plays a huge role in Japanese dishes) flavor like this easy beef teriyaki.

Oshinko vs Tsukemono vs Old Takuan

Considering the number of side dishes and pickled food Japanese cuisine has, it’s not surprising if you confuse this pickled daikon radish with other varieties like tsukemono and takuan.

Tsukemono, an assortment of pickled vegetables

Flickr | Juha Uitto

Let’s start with tsukemono. Tsukemono is a general and traditional term in Japan that means “pickled things”. With that said, tsukemono is Japanese pickled vegetables and food in general, which includes fish roe and the famous umeboshi (pickled plums). It also involves different pickling ingredients for each type of pickled food, while oshinko uses rice vinegar and salt.

To make everything clear, oshinko and tsukemono are different. It’s just that oshinko is a type of side dish that also falls under tsukemono. However, in modern Japanese cuisine, people use oshinko as a classy way to say tsukemono. So, some use the two terms synonymously.

Takuan

Wikimedia Commons | puamelia

Aside from tsukemono, people also confuse oshinko with takuan. While takuan also uses daikon radish as its main ingredient, the two are still not to be confused together. You make takuan by pickling dried daikon radish in salted rice bran.

The way they are pickled is also quite distinguishable. Takuan is a well-pickled side dish that requires fermentation. It contrasts very well to oshinko’s just slightly pickled taste. Oshinko is also quite easy and quick to prepare compared to some Japanese side dishes. For this reason, home cooks favor this quickly pickled daikon over other varieties.

How to Make Oshinko

How to Make Oshinko

Flickr | kattebelletje

This pickled daikon radish is actually very easy to prepare. But if this is your first time trying this side dish, it might be better if you try it out at an authentic Japanese restaurant first. Or you can buy one in any Asian grocery store near you just to get an idea of its taste before making one at home.

Whatever you do to get a head start with this pickled vegetable, always remember not to pick just any radish. You need daikon radishes. Red radishes are peppery in taste, whereas daikon radishes are mild and sweeter that’s just perfect for pickling.

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To make pickled daikon radish, just follow these easy steps:

  1. Peel a pound of daikon radish. You can also use your handy potato peeler for this step.
  2. Slice it into strips. Using a sharp knife, slice your daikon radish into thin bite-sized pieces.
  3. Prepare your jar. Place sliced daikon radishes in the jar and set aside.
  4. In a bowl, mix two tablespoons of vinegar, one tablespoon of salt, and ⅔ cup of sugar. You may also add red chili pepper if you desire.
  5. Pour the mixture into your jar of pickled radish. Make sure all daikon strips are covered with the mixture.
  6. Refrigerate. Store in the fridge for at least two to three days to give it ample pickling time.

How to Make Oshinko Roll

oshinko, Maki Roll, sushi

Wikimedia Commons | Tim Reckmann

Oshinko roll, also known as oshinko maki roll, are bite-sized rolls with pickled daikon radish at the center, wrapped in an umami nori sheet.

To make this recipe, you only need a few ingredients and a makisu (bamboo mat).

  1. Make sushi rice. To make authentic Japanese maki, use short-grain rice. It will also help your maki stick together due to its sticky consistency. For this recipe, use three cups. Cook it as you would any rice. When it’s cooked and still warm, mix it with sushi vinegar (⅓ cup vinegar, three tablespoons sugar, and 1½ teaspoon salt).
  2. Prepare oshinko strips. Next, slice your pickled daikon radish lengthwise into ¼ inch strips like a fry.
  3. Cut nori sheets. Using a scissor, cut nori sheets according to your preference.
  4. Roll the maki. Start by wetting your hands with water and vinegar so the rice doesn’t stick. Lay the bamboo mat and place nori sheets on the top, shiny side facing downwards. Then, thinly spread rice on top of the nori sheet. Make sure to leave ½ inch of space on top. Next, place pickled radish on top of the rice and roll.
  5. Cut the maki roll. The last step is to cut the maki rolls into equal pieces.
  6. Refrigerate. Store in the fridge for at least two to three days to give it ample pickling time.
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The trick to rolling maki is by rolling the bamboo while pressing the filling together. You can start at the top or at the bottom. Whatever technique is most comfortable for you is the best way to do it.

READ ALSO: 30 Vegetarian Instant Pot Recipes

Oshinko Is Pickled Daikon Radish That’s Rolled Into Sushi

You can enjoy oshinko with Japanese dishes as a side dish or use it as a palate cleanser. But you can also get creative and fancy by using it for your maki and sushi rolls. Whatever you decide on, oshinko is a good addition to your stock of pickled vegetables!

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Odette

Odette is a content writer and proofreader by day, and living her inner artist as a poet and singer by night. She's also a former member of a publication who she now mentors from time to time. She likes how sharing a tiny bit of her life and her journey can help others in return. And because she is a curl embassador, she finds joy in empowering fellow curlies to embrace their natural curls. She also loves doing random acts of service to people she loves by cooking for them during her free time. This girl loves anything pasta and French cuisine though she just went through her Japanese and Korean cuisine phase.

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