This Oden is a simple Japanese stew is delicious and easy to make. It’s light and digestible, making it perfect to eat during treatment. Kombu seaweed is full of minerals, and in Chinese medicine it is thought to be cooling to the body, a good thing during chemo or radiation. This recipe makes a big pot of stew that can be eaten all at once or over a few days. Oden, like most stews, deepens in flavor the longer it sits. Kombu, daikon, fried tofu and fish products can all be purchased in most Asian grocery stores, or in the health macrobiotic section of many health food stores. Note that while Oden takes its time to cook, your actual working time in the kitchen is short and easy.
1. Put the kombu in a large stewing pot. Cover with enough cold water to cover it completely. Let soak for at least 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, heat the pot over a high flame until it’s nearly boiling. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer.
2. Add the daikon and carrots to the pot, adding more water if needed to cover. Let the stew simmer gently until the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. By this time the kombu will have become quite soft.
3. Mix the mustard powder with a little water to reconstitute it into a paste. Set aside.
4. Add the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes. Add the hardboiled eggs, tofu and fish products if using. Cook for 20 minutes. Cut up the kombu – you should be able to do this in the pot with a spatula. Add soy sauce to taste.
5. Serve stew with a small spoonful of the mustard (it’s hot) to mix into the broth if desired. Eat with hot rice, or sake.
- 1 large piece of dried kombu seaweed
- 1 medium sized daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
- 1 block firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 12 cups water, or as needed
- 1 cup sake or mirin
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup sugar
- Salt to taste
- 1 hard-boiled egg per person
- Any deep friend fish cakes or tofu products found in Asian markets
- Dried mustard powder, like Colman’s, or the equivalent from an Asian grocery