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.
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.
WHAT I ADDED:
Carrot (not pictured), potatoes (not pictured), boiled eggs (not pictured), firm deep-fried tofu (not pictured), chikuwa, kamaboko, satsuma-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!
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.