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The green roll in the middle is the Konbu Maki (wrapped with Kanpyo). Also visible are the lotus root (holes in it, 12 o’clock), Shiitake Mushroom (1 o’clock), Konnyaku (that spotted brick @ 11 o’clock), Gobo just below it, Pork-stuffed Aburage (10 o’clock), bamboo shoot, carrot, taro and various fishcakes.

Oden is a one-pot Japanese stew that commonly includes fishcake, Shiitake Mushrooms, root vegetables and various other items, steeped in an earthy, delicious broth. It’s a satisfying all-in-one meal and the perfect comfort food on a cold, rainy night. My late calabash aunty introduced this dish to me a few years ago and I was hooked ever since. It’s not quite as mainstream in Hawaii as Sushi or Ramen, but it can be found at a few hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurants around town. Not to mention on aunty’s dinner table.

The variations in Japan are many, but the following recipe is how I was taught, which is probably more “localized”. This is actually a shortcut method since it uses Oden No Moto (powdered Dashi soup stock) and frozen packaged root vegetables instead of fresh. It’s a very simple and flexible dish to prepare. Throw everything in the dashi and let it steep for several hours. Add or omit items to your taste. Items such as Daikon and Shoyu-marinated Menma (Bamboo Shoots) are also good. Experiment with different fishcakes; there’s so many varieties to choose from nowadays. You can find these items at Marukai, Daiei or your favorite asian grocery store.

Clockwise from top left: Oden No Moto (powdered dashi soup base), Chikuwa fish cake, Aburage, Kanpyo (the string thing), Dried Konbu (seaweed), Konnyaku (packaging), Boiled Mixed Vegetable (packaging), Gobo Tenpura fishcake, Gobo Maki fishcake.


Serves up to 10 people.

• Oden No Moto, 2 packets (makes approx. 10 cups of broth)
• Frozen Boiled Mixed Vegetables: Taro, Lotus Root, Carrot, Bamboo Shoot, Shiitake Mushroom, Burdock), 1 one lb. package
• Fish Cake, in this version: Chikuwa, Gobo Maki & Gobo Tenpura, 1 package each, cut into bite size pieces.
• Konnyaku, 1 nine oz. package, drained and rinsed, cut into bite size pieces
• Aburage (fried soybean curd) – 1 three oz. package
• Ground Pork, approx. 3/4 lb.
• Nishime Konbu (dried seaweed), 1 four oz. package, rinsed and soak in water until soft
• Kanpyo (dried gourd strips), 1 one-and-a-half oz. package
• Shoyu
• Mirin
• Water

1. Make dashi broth: Boil 10 cups of water in a large, heavy stock pot. Reduce to simmer, then stir in 2 packets Oden No Moto until fully dissolved. Let simmer on low heat.
2. Make Konbu Maki: Cut Konbu into pieces approx. 2½”x 3″. Place a small amount of ground pork on one end and roll up, then wrap and tie with strips of the Kanpyo. Add to Oden dashi pot.
3. Make Stuffed Aburage: Cut Aburage into sections. Fill each Aburage with raw ground pork. Add to Oden dashi pot.
4. Add the package of frozen mixed vegetables, various fishcake and Konnyaku to Oden pot.
5. Now all the various items are in the Oden pot. Let the Oden simmer on low heat for at least 2 hours. The longer you let it simmer, the better. At the end, adjust the flavor with a little dash of Shoyu and/or Mirin. If you like it sweeter, add more Mirin.
6. Portion each different item from the Oden pot in serving bowls and fill with broth about half-way up. Serve hot and enjoy.



8 thoughts on “Oden

  • August 25, 2006 at 7:32 am

    wow …this looks soo ‘oishii’ !! I like oden too, altho I don’t make it much because the kids probably wouldn’t have appreciated it LOL. Thanks for the recipe !

  • August 25, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Lindy (and everyone for that matter), big mahalo for reading through the various entries and nice comments. Truly appreciated.

    Lindy, the Oden is really easy. You can get the Oden No Moto powdered soup base in the Dashi section at Marukai. It can be pricey though, depending on how many things you want to put in. Last time I went to Marukai to buy all the ingredients listed in this recipe, the bill came out to $45.00. At least that made a fairly large pot.

  • October 2, 2006 at 5:31 am

    What sort of things can you add if you don’t have an asian food market handy? I can easily get Eggs, FIrm Tofu, Carrots, Bamboo Shoots, Shiitake Mushroom, Burdocks, potatoes, pork, Shoyu, Mirin, and Dashi soup stock.
    Is it true that Oden stands in Japan use the same stock over and over again only refreshing the liquid ingredients as needed?

  • October 5, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    Hi Elly,
    I’m admittedly a complete novice when it comes to Oden. The Oden No Moto is a powdered soup base that is probably only available at a specialty Asian Market. That’s the “easy” shortcut method I was taught. You might be able to modify the basic Dashi soup stock. I think the oden-no-moto has sugar in it. Not sure what else differentiates it from Dashi, but it certainly has its own unique flavor.

    Here’s an Oden recipe from scratch I found on the web:

    All the items you mentioned such as Shiitake, potatoes, carrots, Tofu, etc. are perfect. Go for it! Like any other soup, you want things that will hold up for a long time without turning to mush or falling apart after being in a liquid on simmer for long periods of time.

    I’ve only been to Ramen Shops in Japan, but never Oden stands, so I can’t answer your question about replenishing the stock. Anyone else visiting here wanna’ chime in?

  • March 26, 2007 at 4:33 am

    eeesh… sorry to say but oden has got to be the worst food I’ve ever had in Japan. I can eat the Oden no Daikon but the fish cakes? What are those things? Just gooey processed fishy. Scary stuff. I tried some Oden street food in Korea and have to say it’s a much better broth than in Japan. Maybe the hawaiian version is a little better because Oden is far from Oishii.

    • June 24, 2012 at 1:07 am

      Yummm…And if you don’t like it, then, why are you on this site? Zzz

  • February 20, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Pomai, I will make oden for weekend. It look so good .

    • February 20, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      My mother-in-law just made oden this past month. It was a rainy weekend so it hit the spot!


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