This is a fancier version of oden - Japanese fish cake stew - with a richer, heartier broth made from a combination of oxtail and dashi. Once you make this very flavorful Oxtail Oden recipe, it's hard to go back to the simple version anymore!
Fish cakes: Boil 4 cups (1000 ml) water. Meanwhile, open the oden mix packages and place the fish cakes in the sieve. Pour boiling water all over the fish cakes to remove the excess oil. Alternatively, you can place them in boiling water for 15 seconds. If you prefer, cut the big pieces into smaller pieces.
Konnyaku: Cut a slab of Konnyaku into 4 equal rectangles. Then cut each rectangle diagonally so now you have 8 triangle pieces.
Then scorch the flat surfaces of konnyaku with crisscross incision. This helps konnyaku to absorb more flavors during cooking.
In a small pot, place all the konnyaku in cold water and bring to a boil. Then cook for 1 minute and drain or using a tong to remove the pieces. Set aside.
Daikon radish: Peel the daikon and cut into ½ to ⅔ inch (1 cm) pieces. To prepare daikon for oden properly, please follow this recipe post where we remove corners of daikon to prevent from breaking and then pre-cook it. In this recipe, I cut daikon thinner than my stovetop method so it will cook faster.
Octopus: If you’re using frozen octopus, defrost and put each piece of octopus into skewers. If you’re using long octopus legs, you can skewer each piece (see this oden post).
To Make Oxtail Dashi Broth
In your slow cooker (or Instant Pot), add 2 ½ cup oxtail broth, 2 ½ cup dashi, 2 tbsp mirin, and 2 tbsp soy sauce.
Add ½ tsp kosher salt and 1 tsp sugar.
To Cook Oden
Add daikon, oxtail meat from the oxtail broth, boiled eggs, and konnyaku.
Then add octopus skewers, fish cakes, and mochi pouch (click here to make your own mochi pouch).
Cover and lock the lid. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing” and not “venting”. Press the “Slow Cook” button to switch to the slow cooking mode. Press “+ (plus)” button to change the cooking time to 5-6 hours.
When it is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to the “Keep Warm” mode. Open the lid and scoop some liquid over the fish cakes (you can also do this extra step while slow cooking).
In a small bowl, combine 2 tsp Japanese hot karashi mustard with 1 tbsp hot water. Mix well and cover with plastic wrap. Turn it over and let it steam under the bowl for 5 minutes to release the fragrance. Unwrap the bowl and the mustard is ready to use.
Serve the assortment of oden ingredients on a plate with some soup. Put a small dollop of karashi hot mustard on the edge of the plate. When you eat, dab the fish cakes or other foods with a tiny bit of mustard. You can drink the soup if you like, and I like to break the egg in half and let it absorbs the soup before eating.
You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for a month. If you're freezing oden, remove konnyaku as it changes texture.