What's Cooking (in Yvonne's Kitchen)?

I've changed the name of this blog to What's Cooking (in Yvonne's Kitchen) because I will be getting a kitchen of my own very soon, it maybe small but will be able to produce more goodies to share with everyone!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Simple Oden

serves 4

Oden (ใŠใงใ‚“) is a Japanese stew, typically prepared in a hot pot. To me, it's a celebration of late-autumn harvest as it is a winter dish slowly cooked/stewed using root vegetables such as potato, lotus roots, daikon (aka white raddish), konnyaku (aka konjac or devil's tongue), hard-boiled egg and yong tau fu (fishballs, fishcake, tofu etc). In fact, my friend calls it the Japanese version of yong tau fu hot pot.

If you look up for traditional way of preparing oden, it would require quite of bit of work including preparing dashi stock made with bonito, kelp, mushroom, mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine) and soy sauce from scratch. My unorthodox approach to this repertoire is a no-fuss, all-in-a-pot type of cooking.

All the ingredients you need are the freshest selection of root vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, konnyaku (my favorite as it gives a crunchy texture to the stew which is an excellent source of fiber) and a good concentrated dashi stock which is available in Japanese grocery store.

So, here is it my simple oden recipe. Enjoy!

4 cups water
1 cup or more concentrated dashi, depends on the concentration level of the stock
1 konbu/kelp (optional), cut into strips and make them into knots
1 carrot, chopped into chunks
1 potato, chopped into chunks
1 daikon (radish), chopped into chunks
1 lotus root, sliced thinly
4 shiitake mushrooms (if use dried mushrooms, soak in cold water for at least 30 miutes)
1 konnyaku, cut into triangles
4 soft-boiled eggs
10 pcs different variety of fishballs, fishcake, or yong tau fu

1. In a heavy bottom pot or hot pot, mix the water and concentrated dashi until the broth tastes slightly saltier than your preference. Add the knotted konbu if you have any.
2. Add all the chopped root vegetables, mushrooms and konnyaku into the broth, bring it to a boil and let it simmer slowly for approximately 1 hour.
3. Once the vegetables and mushrooms are tender, add in eggs slowly (without breaking the egg white) and fishballs, fishcakes or yong tau fu and let them simmer with the rest of the ingredients for another 30 - 45 minutes.
4. Serve the oden while it's warm.

Note: Do not use silk or soft tofu in the oden because they tend to break into small pieces during the simmering.

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