Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sons of Oden

With thanks to Manowar for the post title!

Tonight the weather here in Central Texas is a blustery, dry pre-winter cold that causes me to miss the northern climes (and real seasons for that matter) every year. Things are decidedly looking up, however, because I made oden tonight!

Oden is a staple of Japanese cuisine, especially in the cooler climates at the cooler months. The basics of it are that a family puts a bunch of related ingredients in a donabe and simmers them until they've mellowed and combined their flavors. Some of the most stereotypical things to include are easily available in small frozen trays in Japanese convenience stores and grocers. Heck, according to the internet, there are even canned single servings available from vending machines in major cities!

The wife and I purchased our smallish package of basic ingredients for about $3 US. Very straightforward, it has the time-consuming elements already contained within - fried goodies and a concentrated packet of "oden dashi (the soup base it simmers in). Following the instructions, I soaked my sand pot in some water for a bit first, then brought 800 ml of water to a simmer before adding all the ingredients. The package (made by Shirakiku) contained two of each of the major types of surimi based things and some good sized ganmodoki. I added some slivers of young bamboo shoots, several rounds cut from a daikon, two eggs, and a third of a block of sliced konnyaku to the pot.

To round it out, my serving included about a half a teaspoon of karashi, or hot "Chinese" mustard, and both the wife and I enjoyed Asahi "Super Dry" beer with our dinner.

It was immensely enjoyable! My favorite part had to be the gobomaki (burdock root rolled and cooked in fish paste), although the ganmodoki had to be a close second. I think that the next time I make this I'll be adding a lot more ingredients, and soon we'll find a combination that is exclusively our household's!

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