That dinner is...weird

oden aka "weird dinner"

oden aka "weird dinner"

When I was an exchange student in Japan, I lived with a family for a semester. While with them, I ate loads of amazing home-style food -- one of my favorites was Oden. Oden, as my mama-san made it, was a broth filled with a lot of strangely shaped fish-cakes, hard-boiled eggs, daikon and some yam cake triangles (which has the consistency of dried rubber cement).

Despite my off-putting description, it was quite delicious.

I found the odd fish-cakes at Lee Lee's one shopping excursion, but they sat in my freezer a year before I tried it.

"It looks weird," said my husband.

"It kind of smells weird too," he continued.

After taking one bite of a freezer-burned fish-cake he pushed it aside and made a face.

"I hate weird dinner."

So for a year afterword, we'd often reference "weird dinner," but I didn't try to make it again -- until I harvested the first daikon radishes from my garden.

"I want to try weird dinner again," I told him.

He sighed, but agreed.

After making an easy broth (listed below) and simmering cakes, eggs, radishes, carrots and a few bok choy for good measure, we sat down to round 2 of weird dinner.

"This is delicious," enthused my husband. "I think I like weird dinner!"

Weird Dinner (Oden)

Add the following ingredients except the bok choy into a large saucepan or soup pot:

  • 6-7 cups of water
  • 1.5 tablespoons of dashi powder
  • 4 dry mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon-ish of sugar
  • A glug of sake
  • A splash of soy sauce
  • 2 daikon radishes
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • A fish cake set (available in the freezer section of an Asian grocery store)
  • 2 small bok choy

Simmer together for 40 - 60 minutes.

Add the bok choy about 10-15 minutes before removing from heat.

Eat with karashi (spicy mustard) and rice.