Oden hodgepodge



Oden, O-Den hodgepodge おでん 御田

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: All Winter
***** Category: Humanity


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A Japanese hodgepodge dish or kind of stew, containing all kinds of ingredients cooked in a special broth of soy sauce, sugar, sake, etc.
The ingredients are simmered in an earthen pot, the sound of the broth is referred to as gutsugutsu and felt rather pleasant.
Eating oden is a relaxing family event or a sad lone dinner at one of the many food stalls around each station of Japan.
Spending a long winter night with friends, sipping ricewine, complaining about life and munching bits and pieces of oden is a fond winter pastime.

simmering oden
nikomi oden 煮込みおでん(にこみおでん)
simmering it "Kanto style", kantoodaki 関東煮(かんとうだき)
preferred in the area around Tokyo and the Kanto plain

oden ingredients, oden dane おでん種(おでんだね)
simmering oden, oden niru おでん煮る

oden stall, oden store, odenya おでん屋(おでんや)

Matsuo Basho himself was fond of konyaku oden (gelatinous food made from devil's-tongue starch).


Quote from the Japan Times

Oden : Japanese for 'soul food'

For some this is soul food, warming and comforting; for others it is the rank smell of culture shock. Whichever side of the great divide you stand, though, one thing is certain: Your local convenience store will never deliver the authentic taste of any food. For that, you need to go to the source, to a long-established specialist.

Tradition runs strong in Senzoku, on the northern fringe of Asakusa, and nowhere is this more evident than at Otafuku. This family operation, currently run by the fourth and fifth generations of the Funadaiku family, has been serving its specialty here since 1916.

There is a small dining room at the back with tatami mats and low tables. But the seats of choice for the predominantly local clientele (you are way off the tourist trail here) are the low-slung chairs at the counter, from where they observe the proceedings, chat with the two Funadaiku brothers, and order their meals, one piece at a time, much as you would at a sushi shop.

Not surprisingly, Otafuku prepares its oden in the robust Kanto style, seasoned with dark shoyu (soy sauce). The ingredients — predominantly of seafood, tofu or vegetable origin — are gently simmered for a couple of hours until they are infused with the rich, savory essence of that broth. What is less usual is the wide variety of different items to choose from.

All the usual suspects are present and correct: whole, hard-boiled eggs; slabs of firm tofu; thick rounds of daikon radish; satsuma-age (deep-fried fish paste); and dark, rubbery konnyaku (devil's tongue root jelly), all texture and minimal flavor. There are more exotic offerings too: uzura no tamago (skewered quail eggs); iidako (miniature octopuses); and even whale tongue and blubber.

Our perennial favorites are the tsumire, flavorful balls of ground sardine, and the kyabetsu maki, cabbage leaf stuffed with finely ground beef. Both of these have plenty of inherent flavor that does not get lost in the long simmering process. Everything does start to taste a bit repetitive after a while; that is why each serving comes with a powerful dab of fiery yellow mustard to cauterize any staleness from your palate and sinuses.

Oden is by definition snacking food, in classic izakaya style. It's there to accompany the sake — and here you won't go wrong with the resinous taruzake, sake poured straight from the wooden cask on the counter. Chilled, it is served in wooden masu box cups, with a little salt on the side; to appreciate its full perfume, it is better warmed (ask for okan).

Here are some of our favorites from Kyoto : kyo-ganmo — small golden balls of deep-fried tofu mashed with flecks of carrot and seaweed, with a delicate quail's egg at their center; daikon — always the benchmark of any oden shop, here the vegetable retains its natural flavor, texture and color, and is among the best you will find; iwashi tsumire — small, dark, intensely flavored balls of minced sardine; tori supaisu tsukune — balls of ground chicken meat, slightly crunchy in texture like the tsukune served at yakitori shops, but here spiked with piquant black pepper; satsukuri-san — sweet-potato puree formed into a soft disk shape, with a piece of chestnut in the center; and kabomaru-san — an excellent autumn special, prepared from pureed kabocha pumpkin studded with raisins to give an extra dimension of natural sweetness.

Although each serving is accompanied by the standard dash of karashi mustard, we find we leave it untouched, as we don't want to override the natural flavors of the oden.

Read the full article here
from the Japan Times, Nov. 2, 2007


Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. Shizuoka Oden Yokocho 静岡 おでん横丁 .



In Japan, the choice of what to serve for a meal, and how to present it, is intimately linked to nature and embellished by cultural nuance. Each month in the Japanese kitchen, and at table, has a distinct seasonal identity, complete with its own legends and festivals, and the motifs and color schemes associated with them.

Modern-day oden traces its roots back to the Muromachi Period (1336-1573) and a dish called DENGAKU in which skewered tofu, slathered with a sweet and spicy miso paste, was broiled.

Read more and a few recipies HERE
© www.tasteofculture.com


nomisugi no oden yaroo ni ki no karashi

for the drunk
with too much oden -
yellow mustard

 © 草若葉
Tr. Gabi Greve


uki shizumi aru yo omoide oden niru

thinking about
the ups and downs of life -
I simmer oden

 © haiku tabi nitijou
Tr. Gabi Greve


kotogotoku iken no awanu oden nabe

our opinions are so different -
oden pot

Saika Junko 雑賀純子

I imagine an old couple, sitting in comfort with the oden pot, nibbling and complaining anyway, just like in the next haiku.

gutsugutsu to oden gutsugutsu gutto guchi

oden simmering gutsugutsu ...
and we complain heartily

Ebiko Raiji 蛯子雷児

hokui40 collection
Tr. Gabi Greve

Related words

***** Japanese Food to keep you warm in Winter

***** Food from Japan (washoku)


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Tonight is cold.
Autumn is getting toward winter.
Let's serve oden.


Does gaijin like oden too?