Oden is pronounced with an accent on the e, and the o sound is short. It’s a favorite winter time food in Japan. As it is so popular, that many convenience stores sell hot oden at counters as a quick snack.
Ingredients vary depending on the regions or personal preference. They can be boiled eggs, potatoes, 1″ thick slices of daikon, ginko nuts, octopus legs, konnyaku, kombu, satsuma age, and all sorts of processed fish paste products. It’s more fun to have a small amount of many different ingredients, rather than eating 2 or 3 of the same things.
One of the difficulties of making oden in the United States is to get various types of processed fish products. If you have a Japanese grocery store near by, you can probably find them there. You can also find similar products from Chinese grocery stores, as they eat similar hotpot dishes.
Oden may looks like a quick hot pot dish in which many ingredients are simply bathed in soy sauce based soup. But it takes some preparations in order to make it tasty.
You don’t need to use a donabe clay pot for oden. Any kind of pot large enough to hold ingredients would work well. You also don’t need to use bamboo skewers for oden, but I thought the food looks more enticing and easy to pick up for my 10 year-old in this way.