Japan – Oden (Japanese Fish Cake Stew)

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by Zayna Khan

This is a one-pot Japanese dish. In this dish, the main elements are used which are different from the individual. This is a type of ”Nabenomo”. Nabenomo is a dish known as things in a pot. So it is basically a stew or soup which has different elements to add to it, like a boiled egg, cooked fish, Daikon, chicken or some sort of broth, and Konjac. These elements added to the broth and make it more flavorful.

In the famous Japanese restaurants, the main Dashi stock which is known as the ”MASTER STOCK” was prepared. Then the further elements they cooked fresh and added into prepared master dashi stock.

We can add any favourite elements to this stew but preferbly boiled egg, fish cake and dashi is added.

Old names of Oden

Oden is a name given to this dish which is previously named as ”MISODENGAKU”, or simply known as ”Denjaku”. This was the dish in which boiled tofu, konjac, and miso soup eaten together and named DENJAKU but now when miso soup is substitute with the DASHI so named it as ODEN.

So Other names of the dish is :

  • Fish cake stew
  • Japanese stew
  • Oden
  • Misodengaku
  • Denjaku
  • Dashi oden etc

WHAT IS NABEMONO?

Nabemono is a Japnese Hot-Pot dish which means One pot dish. Oden is also a Nabenomo’s dish which means one pot dish.

Nabenomo means, Things in a POT. Like NAB means A POT, and NOMO means THING.

Nabenomo is also a soup and stew kind of a thing. In which different elements from different aspects are added to make it like a whole meal. Like noodles, some vegetables and chicken, seafood are added. But in Oden, we have simply a FISHCAKE which is going to add to this dashi broth.

Varieties of Nabemono are :

  • Chankonabe
  • Oden
  • Yudofu
  • Motsunabe
  • Shabu-shabu etc

ELEMENTS OF ODEN

Fishcake

The only meat element going to add to this dish is fish which in fried form. This fried fish cake is added to dashi broth to make a beautiful dish, Oden. Sometimes with variation, tuna is added, sashimi is added, octopus cake, crab cake, etc are added. But authentic and traditional oden is made up of the Fish cake.

This fishcake is cooked and fried than added to dashi broth with some seasonings.

Boiled eggs

Boiled tofu

Dashi broth

Dashi is a family of stock that made up and used in many dishes like oden, miso soup, noodles, broth, clear soups, etc. There are many different types of dashi used in Japanese cuisine like following :

  • Kombo dashi
  • Shiitake dashi
  • Niboshi dashi etc

REGIONAL VARIATIONS OF ODEN

There are different variations of oden cooked in served across the globe like the following regions :

  • CHINESE VERSION OF ODEN is ”Haodun”, means good pot.
  • SOUTH KOREAN VERSION OF ODEN is ”Odeng” which means fish cake. So they used boiled fish cake in this dish.
  • TAIWAN used the word ”Olen” which is similar as Oden.

INGREDIENTS OF MAKING ODEN

ODEN DASHI BROTH :

  • Dashi = 10 cups
  • Soya sauce = 3 tablespoons
  • Kosher salt = 1 teaspoon
  • Mirin = 4 tablespoons
  • Sake = 4 tablespoons
  • Rice vinegar = 4 tablespoons
  • Usukuchi = 2 tablespoons

METHOD OF COOKING

  • Take a cooking pot and ad dashi broth of 10 cups and bring it to boil, Now add seasonings into the dashi broth.
  • It takes time to little change in the consistency than add mirin, sake, soya sauce, vinegar and Usukuchi.
  • Now stir it quickly and simmer it for 5 minutes.
  • Now our dashi oden broth is ready.

FISH CAKE

These are the fish cakes. They just need to unpack and then soak into lukewarm water for some time. Then dap into a paper towel and they are ready to get into the soup.

OTHER INGREDIENTS

  • Daikon radish = 1 cup
  • Hard boiled eggs = 2
  • Konjac = 200 grams
  • Scallions = 2 chopped
  • Kirimochi = 1 pack
  • Hot mustard = 2 tablespoons

METHOD OF ASSEMBLING

  • We have dashi oden broth cooked before. Add soaked fishcakes into the broth.
  • Now we have scallions which must be added to dashi broth and than cook them for 5 minutes.
  • Add hot mustard, daikon and konjac with kirimochi into dashi and cooked for 5 minutes.
  • Now serve by adding boiled eggs over the stew.
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