卸し (おろし; Oroshi) comes in many types, the most common one is however the 大根卸し (だいこんおろし; daikonoroshi), which is the beloved radish that often finds its way into Japanese style dishes. Other forms of grated vegetable used as condiment (薬味;やくみ) or garnish (付け合せ;つけあわせ) are for instance carrot, ginger or potato. Radish Oroshi does not only serve as a decorative addition, but with its distinct spiciness, it also has the property of neutralizing smells (i.e. from fish). What is more, containing various enzymes, radish oroshi is also said to facilitate digestion. Thus, often accompanies fried foods, like Tempura, or meat dishes (i.e. 唐揚げ; Karaage chicken) for the purpose. Hailing from the various health benefits of radish oroshi, we can hence find the saying 「大根おろしに医者いらず; だいこんおろしにいしゃいらず」. This expression is similar in meaning to ‘An apple a day, keeps the doctor away’ in English, lit. you won’t need a doctor as long as you eat it.
The purée like Oroshi is often a small plain pile when served in restaurants, izakayas or other eateries, however, there are sheer endless opportunities for creative home chefs, as examples show below. It goes great with Japanese style hamburgers, grilled fish and chicken to name some of the variations. The sculptures range from cute animals to popular cartoon characters over to outrages depictions of space ships etc. – no boundaries.
Made you curious to branch out, trying something totally new!? This book, by the name 大根おろしアート (Radish Oroshi Art, Japanese only) that was recently published and available on major shopping sites, could be a good start-up, providing input for many fun creations. There are also a number of silicon molds available that make it even easier to put the icing on the cake…I mean the radish onto your plate ;).