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How to make Oden at Home

If you are familiar with Japanese drama or cartoon, you have probably seen a scene of salarymen eating Oden and drinking sake at a food stand at night with their coworkers.  It has been known as a food stall dish during the night time for relaxing after a day of work.  Fortunately, this dish can also be enjoyed at home and we can even take out from Don Don Donki. When I was in Taiwan years ago, I saw the 7-Elevens sell Oden as 關東煮.

I am not sure what’s the right translation for this recipe but Oden is a one-pot dish, which is a little bit different from stew or hot pot.  It’s more like simmered dish: assorted fish balls, fish cakes, atsuage (deep fried tofu), hard-boiled eggs and some vegetables are simmered in soy sauce based broth. 

I usually make Oden a day before so that all the ingredients will absorb good Oden broth and it tastes much better the following day.  In my house, I usually serve with Rice. The color seems boring because of mainly brown color, but the flavor is amazing and exquisite.  Maybe that’s why it’s a lot of people’s winter / new year comfort dish.

Oden Stock/ Soup Base Recipe
There is various type of stock base, and we ended up decided using a combination of kombu and Iriko Dashi.

Ingredients |

  • 2 pieces of kombu kelp
  • 20g of dried baby anchovies
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • salt, to taste, if needed
  • 6 cups of water

Method |
Start by cleaning the kombu kelp with a wet cloth. Then soak the kombu kelp and dried baby anchovies in 6 cups of water overnight. The next day brings the soaked water to boil. When boiling, skim and reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Season it with mirin and salt to taste.

Ingredients in Oden

  • Daikon (White Radish) – peel and cut into 1-2 inch rounds. I like to cook this before popping it into the Oden stock by placing it in a small pot covered with dashi. Bring it up to a simmer on medium heat and cook, until tender (you should be able to easily slide a butter knife into the center).
  • Atsuage – basically deep-fried tofu, this is one of my favorite things in Oden. The outsides are deep-fried to a golden brown, while the insides are the same pale white tofu that you know and love. Cut into cubes or in half into triangles.
  • Chikuwa – fish cake in a tube shape. Cut them into bite-size pieces and skewer them, or place them in as is.
  • Satsuma-age – fried fish cake and probably one of my favorite things in Oden!
  • Mushrooms – add an extra bit of umami to your Oden. Slice and pop in or quarter and skewer.
  • Whole boiled egg – we all need some proteins and eggs is the best choice!
  • Vegetables – definitely not traditional and not meant to be simmered in the stock, we added some carrots for the sweetness and color.

It’s homey, warming, filling, and one of our favorite things to eat when it’s cold outside. All it takes is a quick trip to the grocery store to buy the ingredients and you’re good to go. One of the best things about Oden is that everything in it is pretty much store bought: fish cakes, fish balls, tofu. But, if you’re feeling like a bit of prep work, you can also pop in mushrooms, chicken, quail eggs, potatoes. Basically the sky’s the limit!

Ingredients |

  • 8 inch daikon radish
  • 5 large eggs
  • Nishime Kombu (dried seaweed)
  • 2 pkg Oden set (Japanese fish cakes and fish balls)
  • 1 Aburaage (deep fried tofu pouch)
  • 1-inch carrot (cut into Flower Petals)

Method |
After preparing all the ingredients, we place them in an Earthenware Pot. Having the radish at the base, we slowly lay the ingridents nicely.

Then pour your stock in just enough to cover the ingridents ( do not over fill it as after the radish will release liquid). Boiled it for 30 minutes and you are ready to enjoy the dish.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

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