「グツグツ、へは……。」 (Gutsugutsu, Heha…..)
I don’t know where you are, but where I am, it’s still well below freezing temperatures and an oden sounds perfect right now. Oden isn’t something that I’ve made before, but I hear it’s good cold weather comfort food. It reminds me of the Chinese hot pots or shabu shabu… except with less cooking and more eating and soup! After watching this episode, I thought that it shouldn’t be too difficult to make one myself and I looked up a few recipes. Apparently the only thing you really need is mirin, dashi (homemade or bought), soy sauce and potentially some salt and sugar to taste. Then the only other flavoring you need is the Japanese-styled mustard which is the only thing I don’t have, but it’s easy to find if I went to my local Asian supermarket. I’ll definitely be making this soon! It’s not a common item on menus either (or usually free as an appetizer) so I’m thrilled to learn that I can make this at home… as soon as I buy all the food ingredients. What do you like in your oden? My favorite has to be the konnyaku (which I also love in noodle form), but I also enjoy the fishcakes (all of them! All types!) and kinchaku (the dumpling pouch-looking things, usually filled with mochi) and eggs of course. And if you haven’t tried oden before, I highly recommend it. Everything may look bland and yellow/orange/brown in color, but there are no pungent flavors (everything is very mild and savory), great if you like soups and broths and it’s all about the different textures of the food. I had a lot of oden when I was in Seoul one summer because it’s a popular street vendor food there… it’s so delicious! Spicy, chewy and spongy… and they give you a huge variety of fish.
I know the episode may not have been that exciting for people that never had oden or enjoy that stuff, but I love how Koufuku Graffiti introduces a ton of different foods that aren’t “typical Japanese cuisine” as seen in pop culture. Oden is quite common because it’s cheap to make, easy to make and it’s incredibly heart-warming to eat with your family and friends. Although, it’s not exactly top of mind when you think Japanese food. I enjoy Chinese hot pot quite often and I figure that it might be the same type of cozy feelings you get eating hot soup-y foods with loved ones. It’s quite popular during the winter when it’s snowing outside… and almost -40 degrees some days. Side note: Did you know… that at -40 degrees, both Fahrenheit and Celsius are exactly the same temperature? I didn’t know until it was -40 outside the other day and the news reported it. Ha! Anyway… this episode was extremely touching for me since I know the feeling of both having a small family to celebrate with, and bonding over warm soup on a winter day.
This episode couldn’t have come at a better time since Chinese New Year just ended and Koufuku Graffiti is also celebrating the beginning of a new year. Time flies in this show! One minute we’re boiling in the summer heat and the next, we’re trying to warm up over hot soup. Although I don’t see the “new year” as a huge celebration or something to be anxious about, I never like spending it alone (kind of like Valentine’s Day). It’s always better to know that someone is thinking of you or wants to spend time with you during these moments and I felt bad for Ryou when her aunt couldn’t make it and Kirin was late. Ryou already has a small family so it’s a relief to see Kirin join her for countdown (even though they didn’t literally countdown) and eat the oden Ryou prepared. The episode empathized just how important Kirin’s role was in Ryou’s life with the flashbacks and that hit the right emotional points for me. Surely the past few episodes lately has really made me warm up to Kirin.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: I won’t lie. I would love some oden right now. I’ve got mirin, dashi, soy sauce.. but I don’t have any of the actual food! >_< Oden is so easy to make. It's still winter here, so it's the perfect chance to make some next weekend =3