What is Oden?
Oden, a type of nabemono or one-pot meal, is traditionally prepared in a clay pot. It features Japanese fish cakes, Konnyaku, tofu, and vegetables in a savory soup. Oden is popular Japanese street food, especially in winter. It’s also a common side dish at many udon restaurants. You’ll find individual ingredients for oden in convenience stores and street carts across Japan. This allows diners to choose their preferred combinations. This is a popular hotpot dish that can be prepared together at home.
Oden is great for when you feel no-fussy or if you are just feeling hungry. All the food is cooked in one big pot and is ready for you to fish it out and enjoy as you wish. You can have as many or as few as you wish. It’s often a lot in my case. In case you aren’t familiar with oden, I will give you a brief explanation.
Oden is a Japanese one-pot wonder. It is full of delicious bits of meat, fish, and other goodies that are simmered in a savory, dashi-soy broth until they become infused with flavor. You’ve likely seen an oden stand in a convenience shop in Japan during winter. Oden is so popular that there are also dedicated restaurants that only serve oden.
It’s warm, comforting, filling, and a great choice for cold weather. It takes only a quick trip into the grocery store to get the ingredients. Oden has many great features. Everything in it can be bought at the grocery store: fish cakes, fish balls, and tofu. If you don’t feel like doing a lot of work, you can add mushrooms, chicken, eggs from quail, and potatoes. The sky is the limit!
Oden: A Brief History
Oden could have come from misodengaku, a Japanese dish that involves tofu cooked on a skewer and then served with miso sauce. Misodengaku was traditionally served with rice and konnyaku, along with vegetables, in the eighteenth century. This dish is most likely the source of oden soup. It contains similar ingredients and is simmered in dashi broth.
Oden Recipes or Ingredients
A Japanese grocery store that is well-stocked should have all the ingredients you need to make oden. Sometimes, these items are packaged in an oden package.
- Dashi broth – Dashi is a Japanese soup made from umami-rich ingredients such as kombu (kelp) and bonito flakes in warm or cold waters.
- Konnyaku – This jelly-like Japanese food is made from konjac plants and is often cut into large triangular pieces. Shirataki (noodles made of konnyaku) may also be available in a bundle.
- Chikuwa: Chikuwa is tubular fish cakes resembling bamboo stalks.
- Hanpen – Hanpen is a soft white fish cake made with fish paste, dashi, and Japanese mountain yam.
- Satsuma age: This deep-fried fishcake has a golden color.
- Kinchaku – Kinchaku is deep-fried tofu bags filled with mochi. It looks like a drawstring bag.
- Ganmodoki – A round tofu dumpling stuffed with vegetables such as carrots or burdock root.
- Atsuage and aburaage are two types of deep-fried tofu. Atsuage is thicker and served in a triangle-shaped wedge. Aburaage has a porous interior and is usually served in a square or stuffed.
- Karashi – Karashi is a Japanese condiment made from hot mustard seeds. It’s usually served with oden.