Oden is probably a rather unknown Japanese food item, but it is one of my favorite. Oden is a very popular winter dish in Japan. It is essentially a fishcake stew that is made in a donabe, or a clay pot. Although it is possible to make oden from scratch, it is more popular, and easier, to buy a frozen pre-packaged set or if you’re in Japan, buy it in a konbini. Like many Japanese dishes, oden varies from region to region. For example, in Nagoya, it’s sometimes called Kanto-ni, and is made in a miso-based broth. In the Shizuoka, they use a beef stock and soy sauce as a base.
Personally, I find it much easier to by a prepackaged set at Sage Market in their freezer section. The sets are fun to make with a variety of strange fishcakes (chikuwa, ika balls, hanpen), and frozen vegetables (daikon and burdock). Most of the time it’s hard to identify exactly what you’re eating! But of course, that’s half the fun.
Recipes for Oden can be found here (some of my favorite sites) if you’re feeling particularly ambitious: