Bowl of Vegetarian Oden
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Oden - Vegetarian
Japan / California
  -   Oden
Makes
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
12 cups  
***
5 hrs  
Most
If you want a showy vegetarian party dish, this should do fine. In Japan, this very popular street vendor offering is always made with seafood, and often even chicken - so we call this vegetarian version "Japan / California". The ingredients are cut large, because they are served "by the piece".



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10
6
8
1/2
4
1
1/2
5
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5
6
12
8
8
6
1
4
4
1
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in

c
oz
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T
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T
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med
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oz
oz
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#
T
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-- Broth
Kelp, 5" wide
Shiitake, dried
Water
Nori (1)
Sake
Mirin
Sugar
Soy Sauce
-- Basics
Eggs
Carrots
Potatoes (2)
Konnyaku (3)
Daikon (4)
Tofu, fried (5)
Options
Mirin
Soy Sauce
Salt
-- Condiments
Mustard (6)
-- Options
Turnip
Fresh Shiitakes
Kabocha (7)
Wakame (8)
Tofu, firm
Bamboo Shoots
Burdock Root (9)
Lotus Root (10)
Gluten Roll (11)
Snap Peas (12)
Scallions

Broth   -   (3-1/2 hrs - 10 min work)
  1. Break KELP into very large pieces. Place in a pot along with dried Shiitakes and 8 cups of cold water. Let soak for 3 or 4 hours.
  2. Bring Kelp mix to a boil, and just as it comes to a full boil, remove the kelp, leaving the Shiitakes.
  3. Stir in Nori. Simmer slowly for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in remaining Broth items. Bring back to a simmer for about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour through a fine strainer. Press the solids to expel all liquid and discard solids. You should have about 6-1/2 cups of Broth.
Prep   -   (45 min)
Note: all hard items such as daikon, potatoes, carrots, etc, traditionally have the sharp edges shaved off (a vegetable peeler works fine). Options are in parentheses.
  1. Hard boil EGGS (the smallest you can find), remove shells and set aside (Method).
  2. Prep Group-1:   Peel CARROTS and POTATOES. Cut into largish chunks. (Options:   Turnip 6 oz, Lotus Root 4oz, Fresh Shiitakes 3 oz, Burdock Root (Gobo) 6oz, Bamboo Shoots 6 oz, Wakame 1/4 oz). Mix.
  3. Prep SGroup-2:   Cut KONNYAKU into medium narrow triangles. Cut DAIKON into thick disks or half moons (depending on size) Bevel edges. (Options:   Gluten Roll). Mix.
  4. Prep Group-3:   If needed, cut Deep Fried Tofu. Mix with Eggs. (Options:   Kabocha Squash 6 oz, Firm Tofu 5 ounces, Snap Peas 4 oz, Scallions 3 oz). Mix.
Run   -   (50 min)
  1. Bring Broth back up to a boil and stir in 4 T Mirin, 4 T Soy Sauce and 1 t Salt.
  2. Stir in all Group-1 items. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in all Group-2 items. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in all Group-3 items. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve warm. See Note-13 for details.
NOTES:
  1. Nori:   This is the thin sheets of paper-like seaweed used to wrap things in sushi bars.
  2. Potatoes:   White Rose or white boiling potatoes work well here. DO NOT use "Yukon Gold" type potatoes, they will disintegrate into mush and wreck you Oden. For details see our Potatoes page.
  3. Konnyaku:   [Yam Cake] This item appears in every Oden recipe I've seen. It's available in Japanese and Korean markets. The triangles should be about 3/4 inch by 1/2 inch at the big end and about 2-1/2 inches long. Pieces should be long enough to force the guests to bite them, so they learn it's much more firm than other jells and needs to be chewed. For details see our Konjac / Konnyaku page.
  4. Daikon:   Select small Daikons that can be cut into whole wheels. Larger Daikons tend to be fibrous - you don't notice it raw, but it's unpleasant cooked.
  5. Deep Fried Tofu:   [Agé] This is available in various sizes in just about every Asian market (except Korean) here in Los Angeles. Cubes about 1 inch on a side are good. If need be, you can fry your own per our recipe Thick Agé.
  6. Mustard:   The standard condiment is paste made from powdered mustard (Asian or Coleman's powder, 1 T to 1/2 T water). This is way too sharp for my unsuspecting guests, so I put out Gulden's.
  7. Kabocha:   This is a hard winter squash now widely available in North America, because many tons are grown in California (originally for export to Japan). Other hard winter squash can be used. Peel, cube large, and cook in Group-3.
  8. Wakame:   This is a tangled dried seaweed found in just about every Asian market. For details see our Algae page.
  9. Burdock Root:   [Gobo] This long root can be found in most Asian markets. It's the things that look like wine corks in our photo - they turn gray due to high iron content. For details see our Burdock Root page.
  10. Lotus Root:   This is found in most Asian markets. Most conveniently it is often available in plastic bags, peeled and sliced. If you peel and slice your own, don't cut them too thick because they remain very crunchy even after long cooking. They're the white disks with holes in them in the photo. For details see our Lotus page.
  11. Gluten Rolls:   This is a vegetarian meat substitute found in many Asian markets in a number of forms. It's made of wheat gluten, so must be avoided by Celiacs.
  12. Snap Peas:   These are the fresh "peas in the pod" that have the edible pod.
  13. Serving:   The best way to serve this dish is as a buffet item. Transfer it into a large slow cooker set to "Keep Warm". Provide a slotted spoon so guests can pick out what pieces they want. Provide a dish of mustard with a small cocktail spoon in it. Tell guests how to select pieces, and how to use the mustard, not that they're going to pay the least bit of attention to what you say.
  14. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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