Bistro-style Oden

Traditional oden uses dashi for the broth, but this recipe uses tomatoes for an Italian twist. Add sardine fish balls and chikuwa for an umami boost, and enjoy with homemade basil garlic toast!

Bistro-style Oden
Photographed by Masaya Suzuki

Recipe by
Katsuo Oomiya







Calorie count is per serving.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 16-20 sardine fish balls (small; store-bought)
  • 2 chikuwa
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 broccoli
  • 1 tsp garlic (minced)
  • A pinch of dried red chili (chopped into rounds)
  • 1 can canned tomatoes (400 g)
  • 300 ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Olive oil
  • A pinch of salt
  • Basil leaves, as needed
  • [Basil garlic toast]

    • Baguette, as needed
    • Olive oil, as needed
    • 1 clove garlic
    • Basil paste (store-bought), as needed



Cut the chikuwa diagonally into bite-size pieces. Cut the onion into cubes. Divide the broccoli into florets and parboil.


Put 1 tbsp of olive oil, the garlic and dried red chili in a pot and place over low heat. When it starts to become aromatic, add the fish balls and chikuwa, and stir-fry over high heat until golden brown.


Stir-frying will help remove the fishy smell.


Add the onions and continue to stir-fry. When the ingredients are fully coated in oil, add the canned tomatoes, including the water. Crush the tomatoes, add 300 ml of water, the bay leaf and a pinch of salt.


When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Maintain a gentle boil and let it simmer for about 30 minutes until the liquid has been reduced to half. Let the surface scum sit for a while before removing.


Be careful not to skim the surface scum too soon, as you will be throwing away umami along with it.


Add the broccoli and lightly simmer before turning off the heat. Sprinkle with shredded basil. Place some basil leaves in the center as a finishing touch.


Make the [Basil garlic toast]. Cut the baguette into thin slices. Brush with olive oil. Lightly toast in a toaster oven.


Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the cut side of the clove over the baguette slices. Spread with basil paste and pop them back in the toaster oven until toasted to your liking.