Here is my recipe for Oden Nabe, an ususual Japanese stew. The ingredients in this tasty dish should be cut into large interesting shapes. The dish can be conveniently cooked in a slow cooker and tastes even better when reheated the next day. Serve the stew with nerigarashi, a hot, pleasantly- bitter mustard paste. You can substitute your favorite brand of spicy mustard.
For a complete Japanese-style meal, begin with a cups of miso soup. Serve cooked medium-grain rice on the side and small dishes of (oshinko) Japanese pickles. Fresh fruit or sorbet make a refreshing dessert. SakÃ© or beer is always appropriate.
- 6 to 8 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
- 6 to 7 cups Dashi (see post, Dashi-Japan’s Soup Stock) or chicken broth
- 1/2 to 3/4 daikon radish, peeled, cut into 1-1/2 inch slices, then cut in half
- 2 medium carrots, sliced diagonally in 1-inch pieces
- 8 small new potatoes, peeled, cut in half
- 2 pounds chicken thighs, skinned, boned, rinsed, quartered or beef shank, in 1-1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup Japanese soy sauce (shoyu), or to taste
- 1/4 cup sakÃ©, if desired
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 (9 to 10-ounce) piece konnyaku, blanched 1 minute, cut in 3/4-inch-thick slices
- 6 to 8 pieces atsuagÃ© or 1 recipe Fried Tofu Wedges (see post, Fried Tofu Wedges)
- 1 (6-ounce) package fried gobo tenpura, (fishcake with gobo), cut into triangles, if available
- 1 large roll of chikuwa or 1 block of kamaboko, sliced 3/4-inch thick, other fish cake, as desired
- Mustard paste, made by mixing equal parts of dry, hot Japanese mustard and sakÃ© or lukewarm water, or a prepared, grainy German mustard, as desired
- Peanut-Orange Miso Sauce (available in another post)
- Seven-Spice Powder (available at the Japanese market)
Hard cook the eggs; peel and set aside. Prepare Dashi; pour 5 cups into a large (6 quart) slow cooker. Set the heat on high and cover with the lid.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, parboil daikon and carrots 2 minutes until hot yet slightly firm; drain well. Add the hot daikon and carrots along with the potatoes to the crockpot. The stock should just cover the vegetables; add more if necessary.
Cover and cook 1-1/2 hours. In a large bowl, combine chicken, soy sauce, sakÃ© and sugar. Add to crockpot along with the konnyaku, tofu, fish cake and eggs. Simmer three hours.
The stew can be eaten when the vegetables are tender. If desired, add more soy sauce, to taste. If your crockpot has a ceramic insert, it can be placed directly on the table for family-style service. The communal pot is the centerpiece; families sit around the table and serve themselves.
Sometimes I remove the ingredients and arrange them (with some broth) in a deep, earthenware casserole (donabÃ©) or a medium, enameled, cast iron casserole.
For the buffet table, the casserole of food can be placed on a portable, tabletop burner set on low heat to keep the foods warm. Each diner can select pieces of food and place them into an individual bowl. Replenish the casserole with broth and ingredients from the kitchen as they disappear.
Serve Oden with a spicy blend of Seven Spice Powder and spicy mustard for dipping. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
- Create your own version of Oden. I often vary ingredients depending on personal taste and availability. Don’t be afraid to make substitutions or vary the ingredient amounts, as desired. Try substituting: large shrimp, small chicken legs, fresh shiitaki mushrooms, mochi, cocktail sausages, konbumaki, tied bundles of shirataki noodles, cubes of pumpkin or winter squash, deep-fried or blanched chicken or pork meatballs, blanched cabbage rolls or skewered quail eggs, squid or octopus bites. Find the post, Glossary of Ingredients for Oden, in the Category for Japanese Cooking and Culture.
- Oden ingredients should be cut into large pieces so they do not disintegrate during long cooking.
- Additional (but nontraditional) seasonings could include sliced ginger, scallions, black pepper or a few drops of rice vinegar or lemon juice.
- Add a 3-inch square of konbu seaweed if you decide to use chicken stock.
- Use any type Japanese fishcake from the Asian market such as whole chikuwa (hollow tubes), sliced kamaboko (loaf-shaped), hanpen (spongy white squares), wedges of satsuma-age (fried fishcake) or boru-dango (fish cake balls). Japanese fish cakes can be served in a variety of ways. Mild-tasting and delicious, they can be served as an appetizer with spicy mustard or wasabi and soy sauce. They can be sliced and added to noodles or other simmered dishes.
- Crock-Pot is the registered brand name of a line of slow cookers sold under the Rival brand name. There are a number of other companies that sell slow cookers, none of which can be called a Crock-Pot.
- Oden can be simmered in a large saucepan on the stove 3 to 4 hours on low heat. It can also be made in an electric skillet. Watch the broth level carefully; add more, as needed.
The unusual ingredients for this dish are available at:
Hyundai Oriental Grocery & Gift, (803) 738-0702/1870 Decker Blvd. Suite 1/Cola. SC. 29206
It is worth a trip just to see the amazing inventory of Asian ingredients in this Korean supermarket. They carry a large number of Japanese and Chinese ingredients. You can purchase fish cakes (Chikuwa and Kamaboko), konnyaku, ingredients to make dashi (including instant dashi soup powder) medium-grain rice, Seven Spice Powder, oriental hot mustard powder, a large variety of Japanese pickles and chopsticks. And there is lots more! ]]>