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!
Serves 2 – 3 people | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes
12 oz assorted Japanese fish cakes and fish balls
4 cups water
1/4 cup Mizkan (Bonito Flavored) Soup Base
3 pieces kombu (Japanese seaweed), cut into 1-in x 1.5-in pieces
3 hard-boiled eggs
6 oz daikon, cut into wedges
4 oz konnyaku, cut into pieces or wedges
Rinse the fish cakes and fish balls (which are mostly fried) with running water, remove the excess oil from the fish cakes and fish balls. Drained and set aside.
In a pot, bring the water to boil and add the Mizkan (Bonito Flavored) Soup Base and the kombu, about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs, daikon, and konnyaku into the pot and boil for another 10 minutes. Add the fish balls and fish cakes into the soup and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes and serve immediately with Japanese mustard (karashi) or shichimi togarashi.
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