I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones…I made it back from Chicago and survived the freezing temperature just a few days in Chicago made me realize how good I have it here in California…
This week I am sharing with you something very different…a traditional Japanese hot pot dish…Yes, you might be asking, how and why I made this very traditional Japanese dish…first of all it is delicious, especially when it is cold out there, and second, believe it or not, my parents, mainly my dad grew up when Taiwan was occupied by Japan, therefore both my parents read and speak Japanese…no need to mention that Japanese food was very common when I was growing up, even after we moved to Brazil.
My mom is a great cook, and many of the dishes that I treasured I learned from her…she can make anything taste good…in spite of her age, she is always looking and sharing new recipes with us. Anyway, to make the very long story short…which I did not…I learned this dish from my mom.
Oden is a traditional Japanese dish and it is based on the broth made with fish (mainly bonito) and kombu (seaweed). All the other ingredients are cooked in this light broth and you can add almost whatever you want. I just picked a few ingredients from the local Japanese store and made this very tasty dish. The trick is to cook ingredients by adding them according to their cooking time, so at the end you have all the ingredients with the right texture, not over cooked or underdone.
Dashi soup for the oden
2 liters water
Dried bonito fish
Kombu (about 15 inches)
50 ml of sake
⅓ cup soy sauce
1½ tablespoons sugar
Oden ingredients of your choice
2 daikon radish, peeled and cut into approximately 1 ½ inch
Plate of various fish paste stick and patties
Clean the kombu, by rinsing quickly and cut into small strip and tie a knot
Boil water in a large pot, add the dried bonito and kombu to extract the flavor. Strain the dashi soup with a clean cloth.
Add the daikon radish in the dashi soup base and cook until slightly soft. In the meantime, prepare the konnyaku by slicing and making a slit in the middle. Insert on end through the slit. Set aside.
In another big pot, boil water and quickly blanch all the ingredients before adding to the main pot. Once all the ingredients are place into the main pot, cover and let it simmer for one hour.
Serve hot and if desired, dip them in hot mustard.
Did you know that similar dishes like Oden are made in Taiwan and South Korea? This dishes are very commonly sold in small carts as a street food. In Taiwan, oden version is offered in convenience store as well.