Oden, a Japanese Dish

This is a typical and traditional dish from the Japanese cuisine. It is like a stew with all kind of fish cake, daikon, kombu (dry seeweed) in a a kombu and dry fish broth.

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
  • Tied konnyaku
  • 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.

If you enjoy this Japanese inspired recipe, you want to take a look at the Asian Inspired Recipes from Color Your Recipes.

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.

Thank you for stopping by Color Your Recipes…have a colorful week!

Oxtail Soup

This oxtail soup is very simple to make, it is very hearty and comforting, especially in this cold weather. You find a complete meal in a bowl of this soup. I call it soup, but somewhat comes in between soup and stew due to its thickness. Because oxtail has high fat and high gelatin content, I usually like to cook this soup only during cold weather months.
To speed up the cooking time I used the pressure cooker because oxtail is very muscular. I like to cook this soup in two steps because oxtail needs a longer time to cook and I like to visualize the pieces of potatoes, carrots and celery in my soup and not have them “pulverized”.


1 ½ -2 lbs oxtail
1 medium onion cut
3-4 garlic cloves
1 can stew tomatoes
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cooking wine
Salt and pepper to taste
4 medium potatoes cut in pieces
3 medium carrots cut in pieces
4 stalks of celery


In the pressure cooker, sauté the onion and garlic with the olive oil until slightly brown, add the oxtail and braise. Add the can of stewed tomatoes, the cooking wine and cover the oxtail with water. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook in high heat until the pressure has been built up. Once the pressure is on, turn the heat to low and let it cook for approximately 40 minutes or until the oxtail are tender.
Add the potato, carrot and celery to the soup and let it cook until the potato and carrot are soft, add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot.

I hope you enjoy this simple and hearty recipe for oxtail soup.

Thank you for stopping by Simple Recipes and have a great week!

Lentil Sprouts Soup

I hope you all had a great Easter weekend…we had a wonderful family time at my mom’s home, where we did a lot of egg coloring and shared precious time together. Not to mention that there was a lot of food…

This week, I am so excited to share something that I learned from Norma at Garden to Wok…sprouting beans. So far I had sprouted chickpeas and lentils…and both of them turned out great. I made a stew with the chickpea sprouts using tomato and eggplant and with the lentil sprouts,  I made a soup.

I enjoyed watching the chickpeas and lentils sprout…it is so much fun seeing them first turning big and plump, then the little sprouts were coming out and getting longer and longer by the day, and finally,  from the pot to the table.

Briefly, wash the chickpeas or lentils and soak in water overnight. Remove them from the water and drain. Place them in a colander and cover with a wet paper towel. Place the colander in an airy area of the kitchen counter and rinse 3 times a day. Make sure to keep the paper towel moist. You will start to see the sprouts after 18 to 24 hours, depending on the room temperature. Since the weather hasn’t been too warm and I did not want other things to grow with the sprouts, I decided to cook them after 3 days.

For more detail in how to sprout lentils and chickpeas, please visit Norma’s site at Garden to Wok.  You will be amazed at what Norma shares.

This is a very simple recipe for a delicious and nutritious lentil sprouts soup. Now that I know how to sprout, I will definitely try and share more recipes in the future.

This is what I did with my first lentil sprouts…You can substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth if you want to have a vegetarian dish.


1/3 cup of dry lentils, sprouted
1 carrot cut in small pieces
1 small onion chopped
2-3 cups of chicken broth (water for vegetarian version)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste


Sauteé onion in the olive oil until slightly brown, then add the lentil sprouts, stir gently and add the carrots. Cook for a minute or two and add the chicken broth and the spices as well as salt and pepper. Lower the heat and cook until the lentil sprouts are soft. Serve hot.

I hope you enjoy this lentil sprouts soup. If you like soup, you might like the navy bean soup as well.

Did you know that unsprouted lentils lack 2 essential amino acids? Once the lentils are sprouted it contain all the 22 essential amino acids like the ones found in meat.
Now, what are essential amino acids? They are the ones that our body does not synthesize, therefore must be supplied in the diet.

Thank you for stopping by Simple Recipes and have a great week!

Beef and Barley Soup

Another soup recipe…since it has been cold…yes even here in Southern California. I’ve been making soup very often. This one is very easy, simple and so tasty. It is hearty and sure makes a great one dish meal, especially for a cold evening dinner. I used the pressure cooker, therefore the soup is ready in no time.


¾ cup pearl barley rinsed and soaked in water for 6~8 hours (or overnight)
1 small onion chopped
2~3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1~1 ½ lb beef for stew
1 can stew tomatoes
3 carrots, cut in cubes
3 stalks celery, cut
2 medium potatoes, cut in cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
1~2 dry bay leaves


In a bowl place the beef in cubes with the flour, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In the pressure cooker add the olive oil and sautee the onion and garlic, add the beef and let stir for a while, add the barley (drained) and the stew tomatoes.

Add 3 to 4 cups of water and the bay leaves.

Cook under pressure for 10 minutes. After the cooking time, remove from heat and let the pressure come down, once be able to open, add the potatoes, carrots and celery and cook for another minute under pressure.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

Did you know that in Japan, tea is made from roasted barley and is served cold as a summer beverage?

Thank you for visiting Simple Recipes!

Navy Bean with Sausage

This is a very simple and easy recipe for soup. It is comforting and hearty, and it makes a great one meal dish. I use the pressure cooker to cook the beans, therefore the cooking time was very short. This soup is so simple therefore makes a great weekday dinner.


1 ½ cup navy bean
1 bay leave
½ tablespoon olive oil

½ tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion chopped
3 stalks celery
3 medium carrots
2 large Kielbasa smoked sausage

Sal and pepper to taste

Mozzarella cheese


Wash and soak the navy bean in water overnight. Place the navy bean into the pressure cooker with 3 cups of water, bay leave and ½ tablespoon olive oil. Cook in high heat until the pressure start, then turn to low and let it cook for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, sautee the onion with ½ tablespoon olive oil, add the sausage, the carrot and then the celery.

Add the sausage to the cooked navy bean, add salt and pepper to taste, cook for another 1~2 minutes.

When serving garnish with grated mozzarella cheese.

I hope you enjoyed this simple recipe


Did you know that beans are rich source of fiber and contain iron, potassiun, selenium, acid folic and vitamin B6? Moreover, Brazil is the top producer of dry bean.

Thank you for stopping by Simple Recipes and have a great week!

Thanksgiving Leftover Soup

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving, we had to go to two Thanksgiving feast…first to my husband’s family and then to my family’s dinner. No need to mention that was too much food.

At my mother in law we took all the food there and it was a kind of traditional Thanksgiving meal: turkey, mashed potato, potato salad, gravy, yams, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cupcakes and so on. At my side of family is was a little more elaborate, we had the traditional food and prime rib, fried noodles, stuffed mushrooms, egg rolls, California rolls, baked salmon, devil’s egg, vegetarian dishes, and lots and lots of different desserts. Anyway, I brought back from my mother in law some left over of the mashed potato and the broth from the turkey. So the next day, after two big meals we decided to go light, I made a soup using the turkey broth and the mashed potato.


2 cups of turkey broth, remove the fat that sit on the upper layer
¼ cup barley
2 chicken breasts
3 carrots cut is small pieces
3 stalk of celery cut in small pieces
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup mashed potato
1 bay leave
Salt and pepper to taste


Cover the chicken breast with water and add the bay leave, cook until the chicken is tender, remove from the water and let it cool down. Use the water to cook the barley until soft.

In the meantime shred the chicken and set aside. Add the turkey broth to the barley and the carrots. Let it cook for a few minutes and add the celery, corn and the shredded chicken. Let is cook for 2-3 minutes and add the mashed potato, make sure that you mix well so the mashed potato dissolve in the soup.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

You can use leftover turkey instead of chicken…

It is so yummie with the mashed potato, it gives the soup a cloudy color and light texture.

Thank you for stopping by Simple Recipes and have a great week!

Corn Soup with Chicken

This corn soup is very satisfying in spite of being low in fat. It is great as a meal by itself.


3 ears of corn on the cob cooked in water
1 can of chicken broth
2 eggs slight beaten
1 cup of leftover chicken
1 tablespoon corn starch dissolved in 3 tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¼ cup fresh green onion finely chopped


Cut the corn from the cobs and place the corn in the blender with water just enough to cover the corn and blend (chop mode).

I like to have the corn in pieces where I still can bite them. If you like them in less solid form, just chop for a longer time.

Pour the corn, chicken broth and an extra measurement of water in a pan under a high heat. Once the soup starts to boil, add the chicken. Again bring to boil and gently add the corn starch dissolved in water, stir constantly. Once the soup start to bubble, add the slightly beaten egg and finish by adding sesame oil and green onion.

Serve hot.

Did you know that corn contain high levels of antioxidants? Antioxidants are known to decrease the incidence of cancer and heart disease.
Interestingly when you cook corn you lose vitamin C but you gain ferulic acid which is an antioxidant.

Thank you for stopping by Simple Recipes and have a great week!

Navy Bean Soup

This is a great soup for the cold weather. It is creamy without dairy products and it is very nutritious, since bean is high source of dietary fibers and many vitamins.


1 cup dry navy bean
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks of celery cut in small pieces
2 medium size carrots cut in small pieces
1 ½ cup beef or chicken broth
½ medium size onion chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


Soak the navy bean overnight or at least for 4 hours.

In a pressure cooker, add the beans, 3 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Start with high heat and once the pressure start (safety valve starts to spin) lower the heat. Cook for 20 minutes. Let is cool down and carefully open the lid. If still pressure, do not force the lid, wait a little longer.

In another pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onion, cook until brown.
Add to the onion the cooked bean, the beef or chicken broth and let it boil. With a wooden spoon smash the beans against the wall of the pan, this will break the bean and make the soup creamy, proceed to the desired consistency, stir constantly. Add the carrots and celery, let is cook for 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, sprinkle the soup with some dry or fresh parsley and a streak of olive oil.


Did you know that bean have high content of starch, protein and dietary fibers? They are also rich in iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6 and folic acid.
One more information: did you know that the white navy bean is also known as pea bean and haricot?

Thank you for stopping by Simple Recipes and have a great week!