Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Japanese/ Recipes

Japanese Oden – Simmered Hot Pot Recipe

20/10/2022

Warm up with a steaming bowl of Japanese oden! This easy nabemono (one pot) stew is so filling and tasty, featuring a simple oden broth and lots of delicious ingredient ideas from daikon to fish cakes to enjoy.

Assorted ingredients simmering in an oden hot pot.

Why We Love This

This delicious oden recipe weaves together the best of Japanese flavours in a delicious nabemono hot pot! The soup stock is light on the tummy yet super satisfying, adding huge umami flavour to the rest of your oden ingredients. 

If you’re just getting started, you can use the more simple and everyday ingredients like boiled egg and simmered daikon

If you’re already familiar with oden soup, feel free to up the ante with classic oden ingredients like chikuwa or hanpen (fish balls and fish cakes – Laura’s favourite!), mochi kinchaku (fried tofu pouches stuffed with plain mochi) or ganmodoki tofu patties.

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Related: Shabu Shabu Hot Pot / Yudofu Hot Tofu / Zosui Rice Soup

A fish cake on a skewer is taken out of the oden broth.

What is Oden? 

Oden (おでん), a type of nabemono or Japanese one pot dish, is one of the oldest street food dishes in Japan. To this day, it’s a popular and much loved winter dish you’ll find at oden restaurants (oden-ya), izakayas, street food stalls and even convenience stores across Japan.

Typical oden ingredients include daikon, fried fish cakes, deep fried tofu puffs, blocks of konnyaku or shirataki noodles, and tofu skin money bags simmered in dashi broth with soy sauce, mirin and sake, similar to kenchinjiru (Japanese vegetable soup). But the options can vary depending on the region, the restaurant’s speciality or the preferences of the home cook! 

You can choose which pieces you want to eat, and the chef will serve them to you, usually with hot Japanese mustard on the side.

At home, oden is usually cooked on the stovetop in a donabe (Japanese clay pot) or in a regular saucepan. In restaurants, the oden ingredients are usually simmered in large wide pans and you can order single ingredients from the pot of oden. 

Quick oden is available just about everywhere in Japan over winter, even at convenience stores (konbini) like 7-ELEVEN or Family Mart, where the oden simmers away by the counter.

The aroma of oden broth is unique and somewhat pungent at first, especially if you’re not expecting it when walking into a konbini! But once you fall in love with the dish, the promise of all that delicious umami flavour becomes SO appetising.

Where to Eat Oden in Japan:

We’ve eaten a LOT of oden throughout Japan. We have two favourite restaurants if you’re heading there soon:

  • If you’re in Osaka, head to Hanakujira honten (花くじら 本店) in Fukushima ward of Osaka. Our Osaka mum Rieko took us there a few times, and we also took our friends from Australia there on our last trip to Japan. Expect a line up here, but good things come to those who wait! We love the mochi kinchaku, daikon and eggs (tamago).
  • If you’re in Nagoya, seek out the little hole in the wall place called Tonpachi (とん八), in Daikancho, Higashi Ward, Nagoya City. You’ll get old school feels, and they do a Nagoya specialty of miso oden – it’s a very dark broth from hatcho miso, but not too harsh when it comes to the taste. Try both the dashi style lighter oden broth too, and kushikatsu (various deep fried sticks) while you’re there.

What You’ll Need

  • Dashi Stock Powder – This is our favourite shortcut to save time on making dashi stock from scratch. You can find it in two different styles – kombu dashi (vegan) or hondashi (made with smoked dried bonito). If you feel like taking things further you can always make your own dashi stock from scratch with fresh kombu and katsuobushi (bonito flakes).
  • Soy Sauce – For the best flavour and quality use a Japanese soy sauce such as Kikkoman which has the perfect balance of flavour and salt. Tamari also works great as a gluten-free option.
  • Mirin – This is a sweet rice wine for cooking. You can sometimes find it in regular supermarkets, otherwise head to your nearest Asian grocer or online. If you don’t have it, just leave it out and add in a 1 tsp of sugar instead.  
  • Cooking Sake – Sub with Chinese cooking wine, sherry or a blend of 50:50 vodka and water in a pinch, or just omit.
  • Main Oden Ingredients: Today we’re making our oden with boiled eggs (you can use chicken or quail eggs), thick slices of daikon, fried tofu puffs, chikuwa surimi and a store-bought oden set (check your local Asian supermarket for these), which includes satsuma-age fish cakes and fish sticks. You really can mix and match according to your preference, so check out the rest of the post for more ideas!
Ingredients laid out to make Japanese oden hot pot.

How to Make Oden at Home

  1. Peel the daikon and cut into thick 2 cm / 1 in chunks.
  2. Then peel the top and bottom edges of each piece to “round them off” (this will prevent them breaking while cooking).
  3. Make two cross slits in each daikon piece around a third / half way through.
  4. Next, place each piece (cross side down) into a medium saucepan with the rice and cover with waterNote: You can sub the water and rice for washed rice water if you’re making rice at the same time. Cooking the daikon with rice water takes away the bitterness of the vegetable and pre-cooks it for the oden.
  5. Drain the daikon, discarding the water and rice.
  1. While the daikon is cooking, prepare your oden ingredients. For example, if you’ve bought an oden set that includes fish cakes, fish balls and chikuwa, we recommend pouring boiling water over them to remove some of the oil. Drain and optional slice them in half on a diagonal and pop them on wooden skewers.
  2. If using edamame beans, place around 5 on each small wooden skewer so you don’t lose them in the broth.
  3. Note: If you’re preparing other optional ingredients, now is a good time to peel them, chop them etc and get them ready to go in the base.
  4. Now pour your dashi stocksoy saucemirin and cooking sake into a large pot and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  5. Add your the daikon and boiled eggs to the broth and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. This will allow the flavours to soak into the “tougher” ingredients.
  6. Now add your remaining oden ingredients such as edamame bean skewerschikuwa and fish cakes etc and continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes. Note: If you’re impatient, you can serve up the hot pot now, but if you want to infuse more flavour, continue on!
  7. Turn off the heat, and pop a lid on your pot. Allow your oden to stand for an hour so the broth can infuse with the ingredients.
  8. At this point, once cooled pop it in the fridge and eat it the next day for maximum flavour OR re-heat at a simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to bring back up to temperature and serve with a good dab of Japanese kurashi mustard and shichimi togarashi.

    Full recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Daikon – If you’re including daikon in your oden, make sure to round off the edges of each slice. This helps stop them from falling apart as they simmer in the broth. 
  • Don’t Boil – Allow plenty of time for the oden to simmer (at least 1 hour) for all those ingredients to soak up the flavours of the broth!

FAQs

How to serve and eat oden?

Once cooked, portion out several pieces into a small bowl or individual donabe (clay pot) per person. Serve with a dab of karashi mustard or yuzu kosho (citrus chilli paste) on the side of the bowl, and optional shichimi togarashi  sprinkled over the top. 

You can also serve it with small dipping bowls of ponzu (citrus soy sauce) to dip the ingredients in!

Oden is usually eaten with chopsticks, but if you are struggling to do so just use a fork or spoon. 

Can I make oden in an instant pot or pressure cooker?

Yes, you can. Place the broth ingredients and daikon and any meats (if using – see variations section below) in the pressure cooker and cook for 3 minutes on high, then run a natural release for around 15 minutes. You can then place the machine in sauté mode, add your oden ingredients, and simmer for around 20 minutes to warm them through. 

We prefer to cook oden slowly on the stove to allow plenty of time for the flavours to infuse. However if you really want to save time, cooking oden in an instant pot or pressure cooker may work better for you.

Can I make oden in advance?

Yes, you can. In fact it’s better if you do! Cook oden as per the recipe below, then allow it to cool completely, cover with the lid (or transfer to an airtight container) and store in the fridge overnight. The next day when you’re ready to eat, pop it back on the stove and heat through.

Variations

  • Add Protein – Add thick slices of pork belly, diced chicken thighs (similar to miso nikomi udon)
  • Add Noodles – Bundled shirataki noodles are most common, but you could add udon noodles to your homemade oden if you like. Only add them in the last 10-15 mins of cooking though so they don’t turn to mush in your broth.
  • Add Mushrooms – Shiitake, shimeji or enoki (or all three!) are awesome additions to homemade oden!
Eggs, daikon, fish cakes and edamame float in a oden broth.

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★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

A fish cake on a skewer is taken out of the oden pot.

Japanese Oden – Simmered Hot Pot Recipe

Warm up with a steaming bowl of Japanese oden! This easy nabemono (one pot) stew is so filling and tasty, featuring a simple oden broth and lots of delicious ingredient ideas from daikon to fish cakes to enjoy.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 4 Serves
Calories: 1207kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $15

Ingredients

For the daikon

  • 1 daikon radish around 500 g / 1 lb
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp rice sushi rice works best

For the hot pot base

For the ingredients

  • 2 eggs boiled and shelled
  • ¼ cup edamame beans
  • 4 fried tofu puffs 50 g / 1.76 oz
  • 3 chikuwa sliced diagonally
  • 250 g oden set store bought, includes fish balls, flat fish cake and fish sticks

More Ingredient Ideas

Instructions

For the daikon

  • Peel the daikon and cut into thick 2 cm / 1 in chunks. Then peel the top and bottom edges of each piece (this will prevent them breaking while cooking).
    1 daikon radish
  • Make two cross slits in each daikon piece around a third / half way through. Then place each piece (cross side down) into a medium saucepan with the rice and cover with water. Note: You can sub the water and rice for washed rice water if you're making rice at the same time. Cooking the daikon with rice water takes away the bitterness of the vegetable and pre-cooks it for the oden.
    3 cups water, 1 tbsp rice
  • Drain the daikon, discarding the water and rice.

Prepare your oden ingredients

  • While the daikon is cooking, prepare your oden ingredients. For example, if you've bought an oden set that includes fish cakes, fish balls and chikuwa, we recommend pouring boiling water over them to remove some of the oil. Drain and optional slice them in half on a diagonal and pop them on wooden skewers. If using edamame beans, place around 5 on each small wooden skewer so you don't lose them in the broth.
    250 g oden set, ¼ cup edamame beans
  • Note: If you're preparing other optional ingredients, now is a good time to peel them, chop them etc and get them ready to go in the base.

For the hot pot base

  • Now pour your dashi stock, soy sauce, mirin and cooking sake into a large pot and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
    4 cups dashi stock, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp mirin, 1 tbsp cooking sake
  • Add your the daikon and boiled eggs to the broth and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. This will allow the flavours to soak into the "tougher" ingredients.
    2 eggs, 4 fried tofu puffs, 1 daikon radish
  • Now add your remaining oden ingredients such as edamame bean skewers, chikuwa and fish cakes etc and continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes. Note: If you're impatient, you can serve up the hot pot now, but if you want to infuse more flavour, continue on!
    ¼ cup edamame beans, 3 chikuwa, 250 g oden set
  • Turn off the heat, and pop a lid on your pot. Allow your oden to stand for an hour so the broth can infuse with the ingredients.
  • At this point, once cooled pop it in the fridge and eat it the next day for maximum flavour OR re-heat at a simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to bring back up to temperature and serve with a good dab of Japanese kurashi mustard and shichimi togarashi.

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Daikon – If you’re including daikon in your oden, make sure to round off the edges of each slice. This helps stop them from falling apart as they simmer in the broth. 
  • Don’t Boil – Allow plenty of time for the oden to simmer (at least 1 hour) for all those ingredients to soak up the flavours of the broth!
  • Add Protein – Add thick slices of pork belly, diced chicken thighs (similar to miso nikomi udon)
  • Add Noodles – Bundled shirataki noodles are most common, but you could add udon noodles to your homemade oden if you like. Only add them in the last 10-15 mins of cooking though so they don’t turn to mush in your broth.
  • Add Mushrooms – Shiitake, shimeji or enoki (or all three!) are awesome additions to homemade oden!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Japanese Oden – Simmered Hot Pot Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
1207
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
26
g
40
%
Saturated Fat
 
4
g
25
%
Trans Fat
 
0.1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
14
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
7
g
Cholesterol
 
591
mg
197
%
Sodium
 
4666
mg
203
%
Potassium
 
3042
mg
87
%
Carbohydrates
 
20
g
7
%
Fiber
 
5
g
21
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
211
g
422
%
Vitamin A
 
194
IU
4
%
Vitamin C
 
19
mg
23
%
Calcium
 
704
mg
70
%
Iron
 
8
mg
44
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Japanese Oden - Simmered Hot Pot Recipe

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