FOOD: HOME MADE ODEN TIME! おでん! おでん! おでん!

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It’s been pretty bloody cold lately in good ol’ Australia-land, so it seems logical for me to go seeking delicious comfort food to fill our bellies. Today, I finished work early and decided to hit up the grocery stores for some oden ingredients! What is oden, you may ask? Well, it’s something like a big Japanese stew – Oden (おでん) is a Japanese winter dish that consists of a conglomerate of delicious ingredients (boiled eggs, daikon radish, konnyaku, and processed fish cakes) stewed in a light, soy-flavoured dashi broth.

In Japan, and quite frankly, many other Asian countries, oden is often sold from food carts and 7-11’s in winter. Many of the Japanese and Taiwanese convenience stores that I’ve visited have had simmering gelatinous oden pots available for customers to pick-and-choose their goodies – with each bit costing a few cents (say, a large piece of daikon radish may cost you $0.50).

MAKE THE SOUP:

  • 4 cups dashi
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

You can make your own dashi by combining dashi konbu (kelp for stock) and katsuobushi (dried bonito) but since I was a bit short on time (and let’s face it, too lazy), I decided to go for the packaged stuff. I ended up using S&B’s Oden No Moto soup stock – one sachet can make enough for 4 cups of broth. More than enough for two people to snack on. Okay, so it’s made for four. Shush.

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Once you’ve made your stock and brought it to a simmer, you can pretty much pile in anything that you wish – most people will start with daikon (lobok/white radish/white carrot) as it takes amazing if stewed for at least an hour in the pot. Note the adorable looking daikon radish I managed to pick up. Yes, I went to every grocery store I could find at the local shops (we have more than you would think a fairly small local shopping centre would hold) until I can across one sufficiently small and cute looking.

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WHAT I ADDED:

Carrot (not pictured), potatoes (not pictured), boiled eggs (not pictured), firm deep-fried tofu (not pictured), chikuwakamabokosatsuma-age, fish balls, fish tofu, daikon radish, shitaake mushrooms and shiratake noodles.

Some people like to let this stew simmer up then put it away (in the fridge) for at least a day for the flavours to seep it. Not a necessary thing, as it still tastes amazing after an hour of broiling, but if the mood takes you and you can stand the wait, go for it!

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Traditionally served up (and cooked) in as large clay pot known as a donabe, I used one of my cast iron pots and it served just as well!

Plate this up with rice, furikake (振り掛け) and an icy-cold beer or sake to make the perfect comfort-food meal! OMNOMNOM.

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FOOD: HOME MADE ODEN TIME! おでん! おでん! おでん!

4 thoughts on “FOOD: HOME MADE ODEN TIME! おでん! おでん! おでん!

  1. Looks nice!

    I was wondering if you had managed to find Konbu in Brisbane ? I’ve searched the obvious places in Sunnybank and the Valley with no luck – I’d heard it has been banned but I’m hoping (for my Dashi’s sake!) that it’s not true?

    1. It should be readily available at local Chinese grocers in Sunnybank – I know since my mother-in-law just picked up a stack the other week from HiFresh (at Market Square) and Bao Dao AKA Formosa Market at Sunnybank Plaza – try and look in the “dried-food” section or the “Japanese” section of these stores! I didn’t know it was possibly banned! 😮 Oh dear!

      In any case, good luck!

  2. Thanks, I eventually found it in the valley – turns out customs maybe aren’t so good at translating between Asian languages and more than one country eats Kombu…. luckily!

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