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Japanese Food “Oden” – Fall and Winter Favorites

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This week’s weather was quite warm for November, but when it is a little bit colder, everyone starts thinking about eating something hot, like “oden”, or going to Japanese onsen, or simply putting on something warm and getting under a kotatsu table. :))

So, as we all live in Japan for quite long, our tastes have been changed and we started craving the same food at exact same time, as many Japanese. Lol! 🙂

Sounds really very funny, but the reality is that Japanese food is not only healthy, it’s really very tasty! So today we wanted to talk about food, and we are going to start with “oden”!

Do You Know What Oden Is

Do you know what oden is?

Oden – is a sort of “nimono ryori”, or boiled or steamed dishes. It looks like a soup with all sorts of litte pieces of veggies, tofu, eggs, sausages and other tasty things, put on sticks and put into the cooking pan.

If you go to a nearest supermarket, you will easily find already-made sets of ingredients for an oden soup. It’s very convenient for working moms when you don’t have time for cooking, but still you want to eat something healthy and good. It only takes about 10~15 minutes to cook an oden from this set, so it’s very easy even for a man to cook it.

Simply put all ingredients into a water, where you previously add the sauce that comes with a set, and put a pan on a gaz. Put a lid on a pan, and wait. That’s it!

Now, if you are in a hurry and are not into cooking, you may prefer to simply check up your nearest convenience store for oden. Just in front of a cashier desk you will find an open square size big pan, where you will see separate sections and different pieces of oden in each of them. Each piece has its price, and the most cheap is actually udon ( Japanese rice noodles)! It’s not quite oden, but you can buy it here with oden soup, oden vegetables or sausages or meat.

As a matter of fact, I personally prefer having a cup of oden soup with udon, an egg and a piece of daikon (Japanese radish)! I also love to have a “mochi-iri kinchaku” in my oden, a sort of a drawstring looking bag made of aburaage, with a piece of rice mochi in it. If you make such an order at your nearest Lawson, it will cost you about ¥420, and you will be full. For those who love to save, look for discount dates, when all pieces of your oden will be for ¥80!

 

For foodies we have all sorts of oden’ya restaurants and small eating places all over Japan, so feel free to check them at your convenience!

Ok, so what to do if you would actually like to cook oden nabe at home for a party?

 

Oden Traditional Recipe

Here’s a simple recipe for a traditional Japanese oden dish.

Oden is made of many ingredients, with vegetables, fish, tofu, meat among them, and a  simple dinner with oden bowl, rice and some vegetable salad would cover almost 100 % of an average 30-year old man daily diet in proteins, calcium and iron, basic vitamins and minerals. The calories are pretty low, so there is no worry of overeating and or putting on any extra weight.

Set up 45 minutes of your time to cook the dish and about 15~20 minutes to prepare the ingredients.

To cook oden you will need:

< Dashi> basic soup

Dashi jiru 3000ml

You can find an easy soup base at a supermarket, either in a liquid or powder form. They call it “oden-no-moto” (おでんの素), you simply dilute it in water as written in the description.

<Ingredients>

daikon 300g (1/3)

boiled eggs 4pcs

konnyaku 1pcs

fried chikuwa 1 pack

chikuwa-bu 1 pack

hanpen 1 pack

age-boru(fried fish balls) 1 pack

satsuma-age 1 pack

tsumire 1 pack

kibun-tsumire 1 pack

tied kelp 4 pcs

mustard  a little

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Daikon and eggs should be boiled in advance, so that they can soak more of oden soup when cooking.

Once you put a pan on fire and add dashi, wait until it starts boiling and add ingredients in this sequence: chikuwa, daikon, eggs and konnyaku, and boil for 30 minutes.

Once they become soft, add other ingredients such as fried chikuwa, age-boru, tsimire, satsuma-age, kelp and boil for another 5 minutes.

Add the rest of ingredients ( except hanpen ) and boil for 10 minutes. At last put hanpen in and boil for 1-2 minutes until it gets big, and then stop the fire.

Put a pan on a middle of the table and enjoy the meal with your friends and family!

Well done!

If you couldn’t understand some of the expressions, you might want to check out some of our short-term Japanese language programs for foreigners and international students, who visit Japan on a tourist visa, or work or stay here, for more Japanese language practice and for learning more about Japanese culture and life-style while enjoying various in and out of class activities.

We also would like to hear your feedback and appreciate comments, likes and shares.

In our next article we are going to continue with food-topics and you can come back to explore more. Stay tuned!