Oden Recipe おでん

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Oden  Recipe | JustOneCookbook.com

This week has been really cold in the San Francisco Bay Area and I was thinking what would be the best recipe that represents winter food in Japan.  Although there are regional favorites in each area of Japan, I grew up in Tokyo area and what I came up with is Oden.

Oden II

If you are familiar with Japanese drama or cartoon, you have probably seen a scene of salarymen eating Oden and drinking sake at a food stand at night with their coworkers.  It has been known as a food stall dish during the night time for relaxing after a day of working.  Fortunately this dish can also be enjoyed at home and we can even take out from convenience stores (e.g. Lawsons, Family Mart, 7-Eleven…etc) during the winter time.  This has even spread to other Asian countries.  When I was in Taiwan last month, I saw the 7-Elevens sell Oden as 關東煮.

I am not sure what’s the right translation for this recipe but Oden is a one pot dish, which is a little bit different from stew or hot pot.  It’s more like simmered dish: assorted fish balls, fish cakes, atsuage (deep fried tofu), hard-boiled eggs, konnyaku and some vegetables are simmered in soy sauce based broth.  I usually make Oden a day before so that all the ingredients will absorb good Oden broth and it tastes much better the following day.  In my house, I usually serve with Onigiri (rice ball).  The color seems boring because of mainly brown color, but the flavor is amazing and exquisite.  Maybe that’s why it’s a lot of people’s winter comfort dish.

Oden III

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Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: Serves 6-8
Dashi Stock
Oden Ingredients
  1. In a claypot, make Dashi Stock and add Seasonings.
  2. Slice daikon into 1 inch pieces and remove the skin (you can peel first with a peeler too).
  3. Remove the corners (Mentori technique) so that there are no sharp edges. This will prevent daikon from breaking into pieces.
  4. If you prepare rice to serve with Oden, preserve the white water from cleaning rice. Put daikon and the white water in a small pot and start cooking until a skewer goes through (do not cover the lid). In Japan we say the rice water will get rid of bitterness and bad smell from daikon and the water also makes daikon beautiful white color. Make sure to cook daikon from cold water so the center of daikon gets cooked slowly before boiling and that will help cook daikon evenly.
  5. Boil eggs (cook egg from water, after boiling set timer for 12 minutes, run cold water and and peel off shell).
  6. Cut Nishime Kombu into short pieces and quickly rinse the coating in running water. Make a knot like below.
  7. Cut and skewer the octopus.
  8. Cut konnyaku into smaller pieces. Typically triangle shape like below.
  9. Add the konnyaku in water and bring it to a boil. After boiling, cook for 1 minute and drain. Set aside.
  10. Put water in a big pot and bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add nerimono (Japanese fish cakes and fish balls) in a boiling water to get rid of excess oil from them – just for 15-30 seconds. Drain and set aside. Cut big pieces into halves. Do the second batch if nerimono didn’t fit in a pot.
  11. Make mochi bag. Quickly run aburaage (fried bean curd) in boiling water to remove excess oil. Drain and cut in half. Cut mochi into half. Open one side of aburaage so you can put mochi in it. Use a tooth pick or kombu to tie the aburaage so the mochi won't fall out during the cooking process.
  12. Put everything except for nerimono and mochi bag in a claypot and cook covered over low heat for 2-3 hours minimum. Skim off the scum and fat along the way.
  13. Add nerimono and mochi bag and cook for 30 minutes.
  14. Cover and re-heat when you are ready to serve. I usually let them soak for overnight (after cool down, keep in the fridge) and eat the next day. Oden is often served with Karashi (hot mustard).
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
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  1. Sook

    Oh my, odeng (in Korean)!!! I love these! I have been craving them ever since it got chilly here…. I think I am going to pick some up the next time I go to Japanese or Korean stores. I love adding daikons too. They add such a nice flavor.

  2. Sook

    And Nami, I have the very same clay pot! Did you get it at Daiso’s in Japan Town in SF? I was there not too long ago and got the pot! Only one problem. I wish I had bought 10 of them! :)

    • Sook, I’m glad you found Daiso in Japan Town. :-) I got this pot at Nijiya Supermarket… if it’s exactly same I’m afraid I might paid extra… haha.

        • Sook, how big is yours? Mine is a very big one for like 6-8 people… how much did I spend? I think around $20? I am bad at remembering prices…. I assume $2 is a typo for $20, or you got a smaller version…but $2 seems too cheap?! lol.

  3. I can see why this is a comforting dish. I like that you make it the day before, this would be perfect to make right before the work week so you can warm it and have a nice meal. I always love your veggie cut outs too, the carrots on top are so cute!

  4. Oh yeah, Oden is one of my favorite winter 1 pot meal. :) Didn’t know I should make it a day ahead for the flavor to develop. Thank you so much for the tips. I’ll make it a day ahead next time.

  5. What a delicious and nutritious looking dish. I would love to try that. I’ve heard that after a very slow start to winter, the cold temps have finally arrived. I guess it had to happen some time! I hope you survive the cold – meals like this are a huge help!

  6. Dear Nami,

    I have never had oden before. It looks like the Japanese version of like a Asian steamboat or Korean hotpot. I always order shabu shabu or sukiyaki in Japanese restaurants if we are looking for something hearty and warming in winter. I love octopus Japanese style, whether raw or cooked and I would love to dip those in something really spicy like fresh red chillies or a chilli sauce.

  7. Hi Nami, the whole pot of this food is more like the Steamboat. Chinese New Year just a few days away, and some of us would be having Steamboat during our reunion dinner!

  8. Namiko-san, Your oden looks 100 times better than any 7/11 oden I have ever seen. So many lovely ingredients. Just to let you know I nominated you for an award on my website. Check it out when you get a minute. Take care, BAM

  9. The dish sounds delicious, but I’m particularly pleased to read about the preparation of daikon as I grow them (a great winter vegetable for me to grow!) and I’m always looking out for information on them and recipes. Thank you :)

  10. This a claypot dish that full of goodies ! Sound so yummy . I saw this when I was in Xiamen China but is Taiwsn version. I was too full and missed the chance to give it a try.

  11. I want to eat at your house!!! : )

    I also loved that chowder recipe, Nami. I’ve printed it off, because I have never done clams, and I’ve only had chowder once – it was the main dish I had at my 21st birthday party, kindly made by my now brother-in-law. It took me down memory lane.

  12. Nami, what an incredible dish!!! I love all the different flavors and textures…this is a must try for me…but it might be in a restaurant vs me making it!!! Thanks for sharing another beautiful, delicious recipe!

  13. I have never had this before it looks quite interesting and I love the broth and seasoning ingredients. I don’t know what negi or atsuage are. Looks really delicious and hearty for the cold nights you are having. Stay warm.

  14. When I was working in Shanghai a few years back, there was a Lawsons shop just outside the apartments where I live and I’m always dropping by to get some oden before going home! haha so yes, i love eating these! Beautifully presented as always, Nami!

  15. What a special soup! It looks absolutely stunning. And I don’t care what you say about the colors, I think it looks phenomenal!! Your photography is so breathtaking. I have never had Oden but will have to seek it out next time I am at a Japanese restaurant.

  16. Oh Nami, I can tell the extra care you put into each and every one of your dishes! I’ve not tasted Oden before, but we grew up drinking fish cake and fish ball soup the Chinese way, just throw everything in one big pot and boil with chicken broth, hahah! I am sure your dish is so much more flavorful than what I am used to though…

    Hope you are getting more rest and sticking with your resolution!

  17. Leola G

    I loooooovvvvee Oden. I’ve had it for years now and I’ve always found it comforting in the winter too. I’m definitely going to try your recipe. Thanks and keep warm!!!

  18. Janice

    I love oden! This hot, comforting dish is exactly what our chilly weather needs. Can’t wait to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Oh, Nami-leave it to you to come up with such an incredibly delicious, and comforting dish. As for me, I would love to try it, as I love all your dishes that you’ve prepared, but for sure this will not be on my list to buy…since I could not even find half the ingredients.
    It’s a work of art how you prepare everything so professionally. Thanks for sharing:DDD

  20. What an amazing meal. The combinations of flavours, shapes, and in spite of your comment about it all being brown, colours. I wish I knew someone who made this and would invite me, cause I’d bring the best bottle of sake that I could afford and an appetite and willingness to try it all. :)

  21. Wow, the goodies inside the pot are just amazing! I have heard about oden quite often but have never tried it myself but I can imagine that oden is something which I would love since it’s similar to Chinese hot pot in a way. I love the colours, just beautiful and so festive, Nami:)!!

  22. Isn’t Oden a Viking god too lol? Looks like a fabulous winter hearty soup. I bought fish balls in Chinatown here recently and did not like them but maybe I prepared them wrong. I would be happy to give them another shot is they were served like this.

    • Chinese fish balls are harder than Japanese ones (usually soft). Most of the items you see here are deep fried tofu items called “Atsuage”. The deep fried tofu has all kinds of veggies in it and it’s quite yummy. Hope you can find these in your Asian/Japanese store nearby.

  23. You are such an amazing cook I would love to have your skills and some of your energy. This dish is picture perfect and perfectly crafted. Kudos to you!!!

  24. Nami! This looks outstanding. Japanese food is such an art. I am learning so much with you. So many variety or ingredients, and names that I never heard before. When you put everything together, it looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Eri

    Oh my Gosh Nami I’m so excited!!! What is this artistic thing, Its unbelievable, I can recognise only the octopus!!! I love it, it looks so good!!!! I don’t think I can make it though! I wish I could find all these products, I guess I have to go to a Japanese Grocery..

  26. Hi Nami!

    I am a new reader to your site and I love it. I enjoy Japanese homestyle cooking and your pictures and recipes are a great inspiration. I’m sorry to say I’ve never made oden but I’m going to now! It’s been so cold here and it sounds delicious and warming.

  27. Oden looks very comforting.. Though I am quiet unfamiliar to many of the ingredients used here but this looks very interesting.. I’ll look for this in the Japanese restaurants here!

  28. Nami, your oden looks fantastic! I have seen oden in films, blogs, but have never even tried making it. Thanks to your photos I see it’s not as complicated and scary as it seems! I have no idea why you say colours are boring. Your oden has beautiful colours. Or maybe it’s just your professional presentation? The carrot petals are so cute :-)

  29. This is awesome – I love the step by step tutorial. I did not know about boiling the fish cakes to remove excess oiliness. I need to get to H Mart and get some fish balls ASAP!!!!

  30. japanize Cartoon?! O.o
    nami I cant believe! Its Anime! 😉 *bigfan* *grewupwiththatstuff*

    Oden sounds so relaxing, comforting and it looks very interessting and cute.
    I have noted down the mentori technique for cutting. very useful!
    thanks for sharing your gorgeous recipe nami.
    have a nice weekend

  31. Love this! And I’ve been inspired to feature your Oden in my Friday Food Fetish roundup and on Pinterest. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next and please let me know if you have any objections…

  32. Looks yummy! With the temperature of -20° C here, your Oden is certainly one of the best comfort foods that I would need. Your instructions are clear and easy to follow. Thanks, Nami!

  33. What an extravaganza of flavours! I just love all these fish balls and fish cakes and tofu. I wish I could buy those assortment here. This is dish is so right for here right now as it finally is wintry.

  34. OMG OMG OMG the oden looks fantastic!!! I remember having it when I was in Japanese last and hahaha i love it how the people in the tv series are always eating it!
    i never ever thought of making it myself hehe :)
    Thanks again for the great recipes Nami!

  35. Believe me, this looks terrific ! I am not familiar with Oden, but the looks tell me that it is an awesome dish :-) You have just shown me how to make a brown dish look so beautiful !
    Sorry for not dropping in for a while Nami. I was too lazy 😉

  36. I’ve had something that looks like this when I lived in Singapore, but I think it was probably Korean… This looks absolutely delicious! I just wish I could get my hands on some of these exotic Japanese ingredients here… I love how the flavors sound! And your dish doesn’t look boring at all – your dishes never do! Love the little carrot flowers :) Oh, how I’ve missed your blog!

  37. Wow, this looks delicious and full of flavor! And you can buy it from a convenient store? There are so many wonderful ingredients that I probably wouldn’t know which one to eat first. Hahaha! I think I would start with the daikon because that is one of my favorite veggies. Have a good weekend, Nami and stay warm!

    ~ ray ~

  38. Mika

    Hmmmm, now I feel like having some shochu!

    It seems like it will be a rainy cold weekend… Keep yourself warm and relax at your home!

  39. Yummy! Looking at my just posted hot pot post and anticipating my next hot pot (which is tomorrow, on the eve of CNY), I must tell you that this looks welcoming!:)
    I am starting to love the sound of oden already, and have already made up my mind to try it on my next trip to Japan; even if it’s not really like our version of hot pot, as this just looks simply too good:D

  40. I love coming to your blog Nami, there is always something new to learn and wonderful pictures to enjoy. I have to say that this dish is totally new to me, I have never heard of it before and same goes for most of the ingredients

  41. Dear nami-Chan!
    Greetings from Shizuoka City!
    It’s a pleasure seeing friends introduce oden to the world!
    Shizuoka is very famous for Oden and we shall have our annual oden festival next month!
    Once again great work!
    Best regards,

  42. Nami-san, I feel so bad that I couldn’t visit your blog and others as my computer has some kind of problem. Finally, the computer seems working but not quite well.

    Anyway, I missed visiting your blog! Oden is one of my favorite in winter!! Mochi bag is so special. I remembered when I was a kid, my grandmother’s oden always had mochi bags in the pot. She made one per each family member so we couldn’t have any okawari:-( In my area, we don’t put octpus regularly but I do love it in my oden!

  43. Gosh Nami, your oden must be the most beautiful oden I`ve ever seen!! Can I be your third child pleaseee?? :DDD My most favorite items from oden are daikon and boiled eggs. I`ve never thought of eating oden with rice because the oden itself is quite filling for me. Will have it with rice next time for sure. By the way Nami, I just found out about your cutting techniques page and I was speechless looking at how comprehensive you described it. Awesome! Are you sure you won`t publish a cookbook very soon?? :))

  44. This is so new to me – but I could use a heap of comfort food right now and this is stunning – in flavor, texture and warmth. Keep warm – it’s all relative though – remember – I live in Minnesota.

  45. I have never had Oden but would so love to try it. I wish I could come to your house..your food looks so wonderful!!
    I have only visited Japan in the warm summer months so maybe that is why it is not familiar. I so want to try this, minus the taki, but I will have to wait till I get to Denver and go to the Japanese Market there as our Asian food store was sold and there is hardly anything there now.

  46. Nami this looks so good and warming and comforting! Its so pretty too. I would love to eat this one night (minus the octopus-I told you once before I was scared as a child-thought it would get stuck on my throat!!) BUT everything else about this looks perfect.

  47. What a beautiful comforting dish. I have never had oden before, it looks amazing. Every step seem to be prepared with such care. Nami I am learning so much from you! :) I love the clay pot too ($20.00 seems like a good price for such a pretty and useful dish).

  48. Wow! What a stunning dish! My fiance and I were just reading each ingredient in awe at all the flavors in this dish. Wow! And congratulations on being Foodista’s blog of the day, well deserved Nami! I just made my fiance into a fan of your blog too lol Have a wonderful weekend and congratulations again! =]

  49. This is a really unique dish to me. I have not seen anything quite like it. I love that your meals come with such history and culture. Another gorgeous meal Nami. Love it.

  50. If I ever make it to the west coast I am coming over for a meal. We don’t have a lot of options when it comes to Asian cuisine and most of them a very low key ‘Chinese take out’ places. Your recipes always make me want to try new things, look so comforting, and to top it off, your explanations are fascinating! Please make me some oden some day!

  51. That looks great! I love Oden, it was one of my favorite dishes when I was in Japan. Especially the fishcake. Unfortunately it is very difficult to get japanese nerimono here in Germany – or very expensive. It would be great to get a recipe for homemade nerimono/satsumaage/chikuwa or something like that.

  52. Bribri

    I read many recipes online for oden, and this one is by far my favorite! My bf wanted to make this for the holidays, and while he insisted on sticking to his mother’s recipe, we did include some extras such as the mochi in aburaage from your recipe. Also, he slices the konnyaku into strips, puts a slit down the middle, and twists it inside out – I believe its just for presentation because it looks very pretty. We were curious if you know what the name of this technique is (if it has a name).

    Happy New Year!

  53. Janice

    Hi Nami,
    I have a pot of oden bubbling on the stove right now and can’t wait to dive in and eat! It smells amazing.
    It’s beyond the point now, but for future reference, I want to ask you about the 2-3 hours of simmering that happens to everything but the fish cakes. Is that covered, or uncovered? I decided to partially cover, since I wasn’t too sure =)
    Wish I could have made this last night and let it sit in the fridge overnight, but I imagine it just means that leftovers will be especially delicious.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Janice! I just updated my recipe with cook “covered”. Partially covered is fine too. That way, the cooking water will not overflow. :) Hope you enjoyed the oden, and yes, next day is even better!

      • Janice

        Thanks Nami! My husband and I enjoyed your recipe so much that I decided to make it for my parents when I visited them yesterday. They had never eaten oden before and as it was cooking, my dad kept popping into the kitchen to look into the pot and comment how good it smelled while asking lots of questions about the “interesting” things in there. They both were excited to try something new and each ate generous portions with lots of hot mustard. It really made my night to see how happy they were and how much they loved the oden =) Thank you again!

        • Hi Janice! So happy to hear your parents enjoyed this. :) It’s one of our favorite meal in winter (I serve with onigiri). :) One of enjoyment to cook for others is that feeling you received. Seeing how much people enjoy your food… it’s such a great feeling. (and I’m thankful for you to share such joy with me!)

    • Hi Joanne! You can use regular pot. Like cast iron pot, claypot will keep the food much longer than regular pot and food will nicely cook with remaining heat while the heat is off. So if you eat at the table with portable cook top, it’s nice to turn off the heat but the food stays warm for a long time. :)

  54. This is the perfect weather for oden. I haven’t had it in years, and looking at yours, I wish I could have some now. Oden is hard to do for just one or two people–it’s more worth the effort when you have a bigger group, and more fun too :)

  55. Mox

    Hi Nami I’d like to try making the oden. But can I check how much water do I need to start off with in the claypot? Thanks in advance!

  56. Rebecca

    I love Oden, I got hooked on it in Japanese convini while visiting friends in Okinawa. Its the perfect thing to eat after free-diving all day.