Every year, when Fall arrives and the air gets crisp and the weather cools down, I look forward to hearty stews and nourishing soups. One of my favorite fall/winter recipes is Oden, a Japanese stew or “hot pot” made of dashi stock and an assortment of Japanese fish balls and fish cakes. Oden is my must-order item at my favorite izakaya—a seasonal dish available during the fall and winter months.
There are many variations of oden, but my favorite is the ones with hard-boiled eggs, konnyaku (a chewy plant-based gelatin), daikon, kombu (seaweed), and various types of Japanese fried fish balls and fish cakes. I especially love the hard-boiled eggs, which has the subtle taste of the oden broth.
Traditionally, oden is made with dashi, or Japanese cooking stock. While you can make home-made dashi stock, many home cooks, including those in Japan, are turning to premium quality soup base for convenience because there is dashi in the soup base. As a busy mom who is constantly pressed for time, I am all about using a good substitute without sacrificing the taste and authenticity. I made my oden with Mizkan (Bonito Flavored) Soup Base and the taste doesn’t pale in comparison to the oden I had in the Japanese izakaya. It was every bit delicious, comforting, and utterly satisfying.
This season, try making oden for your family. It’s a perfect dish to bring everyone around the table, sharing good food and making great conversations. Enjoy!