Oden: A warming hot pot dish for winter season

a bowl of homemade oden with fish balls and white radish and more on rice

My First Oden Encounter

Oden warmed my little hungry belly during the winter I stayed in Japan when I was 8 year old. In the traditional capital of Kyoto, a tiny little oden shop that sits about 12 people served bowls after bowls of slow boiled dashi soup with a variety of ingredients in it. When I grew up, I often like to make a big pot of oden during the winter times. It serves not only as a comfort dish, it is also a childhood memory of the kindness and gentle encounters during my stay in the unique city of Kyoto, Japan.

About my Oden Recipe

The recipe I have for the oden dish is one suitable for being on the road. The traditional way of making the soup base would require some kombu (dried kelp sheets) and bonito flakes (thinly sliced flakes from bonito fish). Nowadays there are pre-packaged soup base powder or even ready to use concentrated dashi soup base. If you would like to make the dashi soup base the traditional way, or for no-meat product options, here is a link to Emma Christensen‘s easy to follow dashi soup recipe.



  • Serving size: 4
  • Prepare time: 90 minutes including soup simmer time



  • 1 pot of dashi soup. For this recipe I used a packaged powder.
  • 2 tablespoons of Mirin.
    (for the more traditional recipe, 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt would be added. For me this is too salty so I skipped it for mine. The most important soup base ingredient is the dashi and the Mirin. Others would be up to your taste.)
  • 1 daikon
  • 1 pack of Konyaku (briefly translate to yam root jelly cake)
  • 1 pack of fish balls
  • 1 pack of fish cake
  • 6 to 8 eggs (to be soft-boiled before putting it into the pot)

(there are more items you can add to the pot, such as Japanese taro roots, firm tofu, other kinds of fish cakes, some even put in seared pork belly, seared slow roasted beef, etc.)



1. Bring a pot of 1200ml to 1500ml water to boil.
2. While waiting, remove the daikon skin and cut into blocks of equal width rounds of about 1 to 1.5 inches thick.


3. When the water boils, pour in the dashi powder from the package and add in 2 tablespoons of the mirin.

4. Put the daikon into the pot. Turn to low heat and let it gently simmer. In about 1 hour the daikon will soften.

5. During this time, prepare 6 to 8 soft boiled eggs. To prepare the eggs, put the eggs into a pot of cold water, leaving about 1 inch of water over top the eggs. Bring the pot to a boil. After the big boil, turn the heat off but let the pot sit on the stove top. Using the residual heat, let the egg sit for 5 to 6 minutes just like that to reach a soft-boiled status. Take the eggs out of the pot into a bowl of cold water to stop the heat from continuing to cook the eggs. When the shell is cool, gently peel the shells off the eggs.

6. When the daikon in the soup is soften, put the eggs into the pot and gently move them into the bottom of the pot to allow the eggs to absorb the flavour of the soup.


7. Open the package of yam cake, cut into pieces and put them into the pot.

8. Open the packages of the fish balls and fish cakes. I often like to give them a quick cold water rinse in the colander just to wash away some of the residual oils from when they were prepared for packaging. Drain away excess water and put them into the pot.

9. From here you have two choices. The traditional way is to put the whole pot into the fridge to let them absorb the soup flavour for a day. When ready to eat, just heat the whole pot on the stove. Or, I tends to just bring it to a medium heat and let it come to a slow boil because I usually would want to eat it as soon as I am done making it.

It is great on its own as a soup with the ingredients. I often pair it with white rice. Although I have not try it with brown rice I am pretty sure it will be as delicious.


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Kaila So

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