The Ultimate Japanese Winter Comfort Food: Oden

Good lord – Japan has gotten cold. Between the time I left for Taiwan and returned, the temperature has dropped around ten degrees. I also spent all afternoon walking around outside with two Brits and a Canadian. Whilst people from colder climates (ahem… the UK) would describe 7 degrees with a wind chill as a cool summer’s day, I come from a country that sits on the equator. 

I get hot summers all day. Every day. All year. Oh yes. Jealous? Well – don’t be. 

It’s been a decade since I left Singapore and winter kills me every season. In an attempt to survive, I make lots of warm stews and super spicy food. Hey, if your tongue is on fire the rest of your body will quickly follow suit.

But tonight I’m making something typically Japanese. ODEN. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe you haven’t. My students recommended it to me. I made it for the first time in two years ago… Since then, I haven’t been able to stop. 

Oden is made of: boiled eggs, daikon radish, konjac and fishcakes all stewed in a soy-based dashi broth. The ingredients vary depending on where in the country you are – and of course, your own personal preferences. 

If you want to make it at home, you can easily purchase an oden pack at any supermarket. It comes with a little bit of everything you need to make this winter classic. A typical oden pack usually costs around 400 to 800 yen (US$3.50 to $7) depending on the quantity and variety. You can also buy additional items separately or pick and match according to what you like. Once you’ve bought the ingredients – making oden is a very very straight-forward process. You can read a recipe here.  

If you can’t be bothered with cooking, you can buy it readymade at any convenience store or izakaya. The homemade ones are the best, though. For a winter dish, it’s also relatively light and won’t leave you feeling all heavy, icky and gross after. 

Another hour till it’s done. Can’t wait. I’m cold. Brrr…

Itadakimas, guys. Till next time. 


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