Nabemono is a family of warming Japanese one-pot stews and soups — within this category of dishes is oden.
Oden is a simple stew of a soy- and dashi-based broth filled to the brim with boiled eggs, fish cakes, tofu, daikon, and other vegetables and ingredients. Just like so many dishes, the contents of a pot of oden can vary depending on a chef’s taste and the region in which it’s prepared.
Because of how warming and filling it is, oden is typically associated with winter and being a cold weather comfort food; its dashi base and the mixture of contents gives it a hardy umami flavor perfect for when the air is frigid and you’re hungry after a long day.
Oden is commonly found at food stalls while also being quite simple to prepare at home.
The most complicated part is really just preparing any contents, which mostly is just easy steps like cutting tofu and similarly basic tasks. From there, the dashi broth is brought to a simmer, the other ingredients dropped in and cooked for around a half an hour — other than fish cakes or, if you choose to include it, mochi, as these two things would overcook otherwise — and then take off heat and let sit for an hour or more. Like most simmered dishes, the longer it sits, the more the ingredients will soak up that umami taste from the broth.
Then whenever you’re ready to serve, heat up again and you’re good to go!
While you can make your own broth from scratch, you can also use oden seasoning mix that you can find in our grocery aisles. Another easy way to enjoy oden is to purchase oden sets that include a variety of fish cakes and broth from our seafood department.