Oden With Homemade Shrimp Balls
Oden is a comforting Japanese one-pot dish in which assorted fish cakes, vegetables, fried tofu and hard-boiled eggs are simmered in a dashi broth. Hondashi, bonito soup stock made from dried bonito and flavors of kombu, is a convenient pantry item that creates instant dashi. Homemade shrimp balls with fragrant ginger, garlic and scallions replace store-bought fish cakes in this version. As they poach alongside earthy mushrooms and daikon, the soup becomes fortified with deep seafood flavor. Inari-no-moto, found canned in most Asian markets, is deep-fried tofu that has been cooked in dashi, soy sauce and mirin until it softens and absorbs the sauce. The tofu adds texture and another layer of seasoning, but the hot pot is just as tasty without. Add udon noodles for a heartier meal.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4large eggs
- 2tablespoons safflower or canola oil
- 4ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
- 1pound daikon, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices or pieces
- 12ounces napa cabbage (about 1/2 small head), chopped into 2-inch pieces
- 2tablespoons instant dashi powder
- 1pound cleaned, tail-off medium shrimp, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2tablespoons chopped scallions
- 2teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 1teaspoon minced garlic
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- 1tablespoon cornstarch
- 4ounces inari-no-moto (seasoned tofu skins), sliced 1-inch thick
- 1pound cooked udon noodles (8 ounces dry), optional
- Hot mustard, for serving
Step 1In a medium saucepan, arrange eggs in a single layer and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a full boil, then cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and run under cold water until eggs are cooled, then peel.
Step 2Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add 8 cups water, the daikon, cabbage and instant dashi powder, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until daikon is tender, about 15 minutes.
Step 3While daikon cooks, in a medium bowl, combine shrimp, scallions, ginger, garlic, salt and cornstarch, and mix well. Using about a scant 2 tablespoons per shrimp ball, form mixture into 16 balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Mixture will be sticky, so work with moistened hands.
Step 4Add shrimp balls, inari-no-moto and eggs to pot and simmer until shrimp balls turn pink and are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in udon, if using.
Step 5Divide the shrimp balls, vegetables, tofu and udon among bowls. Halve eggs and add to bowls. Fill bowls with broth and serve with hot mustard on the side for dipping.