Oden is a hearty Japanese one-pot dish which is perfect for eating in cold weather. It has a variety of ingredients such as Daikon radish, Konnyaku, Atsuage (deep fried tofu), Beef sinew, eggs and all sorts of fish cakes in a subtly flavoured soup.
What is Oden ?
Oden is a Japanese one-pot dish perfect for winter, because it has various ingredients simmered in subtly flavoured warming soup stock. Although the ingredients differ from region to region, typically it contains Daikon radish, konnyaku(konjac), hard boiled eggs, Chikuwa (a type of fish cake), Ganmodoki (deep fried tofu with finely chopped vegetables).
Ultimate winter comfort dish
It is often cooked in WINTER, and not the scorching hot and humid weather like we had to suffer today in Brisbane. Oden is a hearty fish cake stew and hence it is suited for eating on cold days. You can even buy it hot, freshly cooked at counters of any convenience store in Japan. And they are delicious!
You may not be familiar with beef sinew, but it is a popular ingredient in Asian cooking. It is called “Gyu-suji” in Japanese. Beef sinew is delicious but it needs a little bit of preparation. Before you add beef sinew to Oden, you need to simmer it for at least 2 hours. This makes it very tender, so it melts in your mouth. Furthermore, it is mainly collagen, a beauty secret of Japanese women.
You can not make and call it oden without daikon radish in my opinion. It is my favourite oden ingredient. Dai(large)-kon(root) is a large and long white radish. It needs a little bit of preparation too. One important prep is to plane off the edge of the radish. This stops it from falling apart during cooking.
A classic Oden condiment is Japanese hot mustard. My mother in Japan used to buy it in powder form, but nowadays you can get it in a tube. You can get Japanese Hot Mustard online or from Japanese grocery stores. Another delicious condiment for Oden is sweet miso paste. You can make this from a miso paste.
Convenient short cut
There are always short cuts available for busy Japanese people. Of course if you have time to make it from scratch, it’s great! Japan has a great solution for busy people just like Japanese curry roux and instant pot beef stew roux. You can purchase Soup Mix for Oden online or from any Japanese grocery stores.
Other common ingredients
Various Fish cakes
Chikuwa – a type of fish cake. Ground fish meat cooked around bamboo branch. You can make it from scratch, but it is convenient to buy ready made from super markets (in Japan).
Gobouten – a deep fried fish cake, with burdock (Gobou) in the middle.
Ganmodoki – a deep fried tofu mixed with finely chopped vegetables and hijiki. It is usually round shape.
Mochi-Kinchaku – a mochi wrapped in deep fried tofu
Here is my recipe for Oden, Japanese one pot dish. If you are in the Northern hemisphere, enjoy eating Oden in the cold weather now. Finally, don’t forget my other Japanese winter comfort foods such as Japanese red bean soup, Japanese rice porridge and Japanese beef curry rice.
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Using Oden instant soup mix *1
- 2 tbsp Oden instant soup mix
- 4 cups Water
- 300 g Beef sinew
- 1/2 Daikon radish
- 1 piece Konnyaku
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 2 Chikuwa *2
- 2 Ganmodoki *2
- 2 large chicken meatballs *2
- 2 Mochi-kinchaku *2
- 1 tbsp hot mustard powder
- 2 tbsp water
Prepare beef sinew
- Cut beef sinew and place in a pot with 2 cups of water(this is extra water, not listed in the ingredients).
- Bring it to boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to low for simmering it for 2 hours.
- Skim off the scum and fat sometime.
- After 2 hours simmering, drain the water and set aside the meat.
Prepare Daikon radish
- Wash and peel the daikon.
- Cut daikon about 2cm(0.8inch) thick and round off the edge.
- Place them in a pot with enough water to just cover the daikon radish.
- Cook it over medium heat for 30 minutes.
- Cut konnyaku piece in half diagonally to create triangle shape.
- Boil water in a pot and add cut konnyaku piece.
- Cook konnyaku in boiling water for 5 minutes. You can turn down the heat to medium while the konnyaku being cooked.
- Drain the cooking water and set konnyaku aside.
- Place oden soup mix in the pot(clay pot or ordinary pot) and add 2 cups of water.
- Place the pot over medium heat. Dissolve the soup mix and bring it to simmer.
- Add all oden ingredients that you prepared (beef sinew, daikon, konnyaku, fish cakes, etc).
- Simmer them for at least 1 hour for macerating the taste.
- Before serve, mix mustard powder with water in a small serving plate.
- Serve oden hot with mustard.