Salted Pork Oden Stew Good for Wintertime

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ryohei Hayashi

Now is the time of year when you feel like enjoying a steaming dish. And, according to Ryohei Hayashi, owner of the Japanese restaurant Tenoshima in Minato Ward, Tokyo, salted pork oden stew is an ideal winter choice. With chunky ingredients and a flavorful dashi broth that go well with sake, it has the kind of taste that many food connoisseurs love.

The stew’s recipe calls for very simple ingredients: pork belly, daikon radish, dried shiitake mushroom and carrot.

“We make the best use of the stock from each ingredient,” Hayashi said. “Seasonings should be kept to a minimum. By doing so, you can not only enjoy the oden’s ingredients but also drink the rich broth.”

The pork belly is rubbed with salt to dehydrate the skin, which will thicken the flavor. “By adding salt, the fat will have a pudding-like texture,” Hayashi said.

He suggests not to parboil the daikon when making the oden. “The Japanese radish at this time of year has almost no strong smell. It would be a waste to lose the flavor by boiling it.” Also, there’s no need to soak the dried shiitake mushroom beforehand when making the soup since it becomes soft while simmering.

Given that the meat is salted, only a small amount of soy sauce, sugar and others are added at the end.

It is also important to let the pot cool completely after boiling, as the flavor becomes thicker during the cooling process.

I had salted oden stew a day after it was cooked. The broth was almost transparent, and it reminded me of an elegant soup.

The daikon’s gentle saltiness wrapped around my taste buds and the meat crumbled in my mouth. Hayashi said the dish goes well with flavorful hot sake.

The oden is good to eat in the evening when you want to warm up your insides.

■ Salted pork oden stew

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Salted pork oden stew is served in a bowl.

Ingredients: 4 servings

200 grams pork belly block

1 dried shiitake mushroom

16-cm daikon radish

60 grams carrot

½ bunch of shungiku garland chrysanthemums

Yuzu citron peel

2 tsp of light-colored soy sauce


1. Cut pork belly into 1.5-centimeter pieces, and place them in a plastic bag. Add 20 grams of salt (10% of the weight of the meat), rub it into the meat and let sit at room temperature for at least 5 hours.

2. Cut daikon radish into 4-centimeter thick slices and peel thickly. Chop carrot into large chunks. Cut shungiku garland chrysanthemums into bite-sized pieces.

3. Wash pork belly with running water to remove the salt. Put daikon, dried shiitake mushroom, 2 liters of water and 100 milliliters of sake into a pot, and cook it over high heat. When it comes to a boil, remove the scum, cover with a drop lid and simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes.

4. Add carrot and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon of sugar and light-colored soy sauce. After boiling for 5 minutes, turn off the heat.

5. Let the pot cool completely. Remove white fat floating in the broth and heat again. Add shungiku and heat quickly. Serve on a plate and top with julienned yuzu peel.

■ Cook furofuki daikon using miso

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Furofuki daikon

It is also delicious to eat salted pork oden with miso paste. Put 100 grams of your favorite miso, 50 grams of sugar, 25 milliliters of sake and 25 milliliters of water into a bowl and mix. Then heat the mixture in a microwave (1 minute at 600 watts). Repeat this process twice to heat for 3 minutes in total to evaporate the alcohol. The slightly sweet miso goes well with the lightly-flavored salted daikon. “Furofuki daikon brings a new taste to the table,” Hayashi said.