Oden is a Japanese comforting winter dish of an assortment of fish cakes simmered in a dashi and soy flavoured broth.
What is oden?
Oden is a Japanese one-pot hot pot dish consisting of fish cakes, egg, and daikon in a dashi and soy broth.
It's a winter dish with many variations and flavourings, including the use of miso paste or beef stock.
Oden is a popular street food, and fish cakes are usually served on skewers with a cup of hot broth.
What are fish cakes?
Fish cakes and fish balls are commonly found in Asian cuisine.
They are made of a fish paste (usually mackerel or surimi), bound together with a starch and deep fried.
Fish cakes can come in various shapes and sizes.
Why you'll love this recipe
Oden is a very homey and simple dish consisting of fish cakes simmered in a dashi broth.
If you're using store-bought fish cakes, this dish comes together in less than 1 hour.
Unlike Curry Fish Balls, this is a mild recipe, so anyone can enjoy this. (My kids love it!)
The longer the fish cakes sit in the broth, the more flavour they will absorb.
I love serving individual pots of the dashi broth with the fish cakes, so that each person can enjoy their own.
Ingredients you'll need
- dashi broth: is a Japanese soup broth made with kombu (kelp seaweed) and bonito (smoked tuna) flakes
- soy sauce: adds a little salty flavour to the broth
- mirin: is a sweet rice wine used in Japanese cooking; you can substitute with sake or rice vinegar
- daikon: is a white radish that is found in Asian cuisine, for example in Do Chua, lo bak guo, and adds a subtle sweetness in soups and stews (Easy Curry Fish Balls)
- shiitake mushroom: usually found dried, needs to be reconstituted in water before using; adds additional umami flavour to the broth
- fish cakes: you can use any type of fish cake you like; fresh or frozen
You can find all these ingredients at Asian/Japanese supermarkets.
Have some fun and customize your Oden. Try adding:
- boiled eggs
- beef balls
- cuttlefish balls
- crab balls
How to prepare
Make the dashi broth in a large pot. I used the same broth from my Beef Udon With Egg (Niku Tama Udon) recipe but doubled it.
Add in the soy sauce and mirin, daikon and shiitake mushrooms.
Bring the broth up to a simmer over low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Add in the fish cakes and let simmer over low heat, until fish cakes are plump and juicy and daikon and mushrooms are cooked.
How to serve & store
If you like, skewer the cooked fish cakes onto a stick and serve with hot dashi broth.
You can serve the fish cakes with the broth and enjoy immediately.
Oden is great as an appetizer or snack, or add a side of udon noodles to make it a more substantial meal.
Store any leftover Oden in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat, bring the broth and fish cakes up to a simmer.
The longer the fish cakes simmer in the dashi broth, the more flavour they'll absorb.
Also note that the fish cakes will expand when they sit in the broth.
Alternatively, you can use a powdered dashi broth to simplify the cooking process even further. You can find powdered dashi broth online or in specialty Japanese markets.
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Oden (Japanese-Style Fish Cakes in Broth)
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 8 C filtered water
- 2 large pieces dried kombu kelp
- 1 ½ C bonito flakes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon mirin or rice vinegar
- 1 small daikon cut into chunks
- 6 shiitake mushrooms soaked in hot water
- 2 lbs assorted fish cakes
- green onions chopped
- cilantro chopped
Make the dashi broth:
- In a large pot, add a piece of kombu (seaweed).
- Cover with 8 C water.
- Bring the water up to a simmer. (Don't boil the kombu or it will become slimy). Skim off any foam.
- Remove the kombu.
- Add in the bonito flakes. Bring it up to a simmer again, for about 30 seconds before turning off the heat.
- Let the broth sit for 10 minutes before straining the liquid through a sieve. (You can discard the bonito flakes or make furikake with it).
Flavour the broth:
- Add in the soy sauce and mirin, daikon and shiitake mushrooms.
- Bring the broth up to a simmer over low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
- Add in the fish cakes and let simmer over low heat, until fish cakes are plump and juicy and daikon and mushrooms are cooked.
- Garnish with green onions and cilantro (optional).
- Serve the fish cakes with the hot dashi broth.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.