When I think of comfort food, Oden is definitely on the top of the list. It simple to make, taste great and with the two of us, one pot of oden can last for 4 – 6 meals. This mean I don’t have to cook for a few days, perfect for times when I get the winter blues or when we’re both busy video gaming. You can find all the ingredients for oden at local Asian markets. May of them will sell oden packages, which includes a variety of fried fishcakes, in the frozen food section. I prefer to buy my fishcakes at Japanese supermarkets such as Fujiya or Izumiya.
When it comes to making the broth for the stew, I cheat and actually use packaged stock mix for oden. You can find those at the Japanese or Asian supermarket as well at the soup mix section. If the package doesn’t have English, look for these words on the box: おでん. If you’re adventurous, and want to start making the stock from scratch, here’s a great recipe from No Recipes on how to make Oden, along with a recipe for dashi stock.
Another great thing about making oden is that you can use a lot of different ingredients. The usual suspects are daikon radish, tofu, fried fishcakes. Some like to add eggs, konnyaku or even chicken skewers. So instead of following my recipe, get items that you like to eat and add them to the pot. I’m sure they’ll turn out just as delicious.
Oden (おでん) (Serves 4-6)
- 1 pouch Oden soup mix (mine makes 6 servings per pouch)
- 2-3 pieces of Fried Fishcakes per person (can also use fish balls)
- 1-2 packages of Firm Tofu, cut into thick slices (depends on how much you like tofu)
- 1 Daikon Radish, cut into thick rounds (about 1″ thick)
- 1 package of Konnyaku, cut into strips
- 4-6 Eggs, already hard boiled
- 2-3 pieces of Chikuwa, cut in half if they are longer than individual size
- Japanese prepared mustard for oden (optional, found in the same section as the prepared wasabi)
- 1 large stock pot
- Make stock according to package instructions. The soup mix I use needs 1,400ml of water per pouch.
- Once the stock comes to a boil, add daikon radish. If you are using other ingredients that takes time to cook till soft and tender, such as kabocha, you may want to add them at this time.
- Reduce heat till the stock is on a low simmer. Cook daikon radish till soft and tender, approximately 30-45 minutes depending on how thick you cut the daikon. I usually test softness by inserting a chopstick into the daikon.
- Add the other ingredients into the pot once the daikon radish is at desire softness. Once the fried fishcakes and tofu is heated up the oden is ready to eat. I usually let it come back to a boil to make sure everything is nice and hot.
- To reduce cooking time and to also make it easier to eat the daikon, I cut it into 1-inch half moons instead of rounds.
- I also follow No Recipe’s method of preparing the konnyaku (ie: twisting it). I like the texture more this way and it seems to absorb the oden soup base better.
- If you can, try to make this a day ahead. Letting the ingredients sit in the soup over night will let it absorb all the flavours and taste twice as good than if you were to eat it right away!
Here are some photos of the ingredients: