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Oshinko (pickled Chinese cabbage)


  • 1 head Chinese cabbage
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tsp dried Japanese chili pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp shottsuru (optional) (fish sauce, available at Southeast Asian food stores, may be substituted. Called nuoc mam in Vietnamese or nam pla in Thai.)

Preparation time: 3 days


After washing, chop the cabbage into 1-inch pieces. In a glass, Corningware, or any other nonreactive bowl, place the drained cabbage and sprinkle salt over it, making layers. Place a plate over it and put a weight on it (at least 5 lbs.) Leave it for 3 days at room temperature, mixing it once a day and making sure that it is not rotting. If the leaves are withering, there isn't enough salt. After a day or so, there should be lots of liquid. It is ready when the cabbage is partly translucent and soft.

Serve with some katsuobushi (shaved dried bonito) and a little bit of shoyu (soy sauce). It oes very nicely with a traditional Japanese meal.

Most Japanese don't even know how to make this simple tsukemono anymore. It's always available at supermarkets in Japan. You can create your own flavours. My contribution is shottsuru, which was used like shoyu before shoyu was invented. It s made by fermenting fish in a wooden cask with lots of sea salt.

P.S. The amount of salt is for a very large cabbage often seen in Japan. For what I get around here, I use less. Maybe start with 2 tbs of salt and add more if necessary.

Source: Ken Iisaka
Copyright (c) Ken Iisaka. May be distributed freely provided this copyright notice is not removed.

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