Oden is a Japanese hotpot or stew. I'd never eaten or made one before, but with some simple instructions from another ppker who used to live in Japan, I decided to try it out.
I first boiled some water in a pot, then added a handful of of sliced shittake mushrooms and a piece of kombu. I simmered them for maybe 10 minutes, then added half a tsp of veggie stock powder and some soy sauce. Then I added some chopped buttercup squash and potatoes (both unpeeled because I like to keep the nutrients) and cooked for about 15 minutes more. Then in went some chopped cabbage and fried tofu (you can buy fried tofu at the markets here, it isn't flavoured or anything but I like the texture of it, and I'm sure chopped firm tofu would be fine too). I cooked for 10 minutes more, then added some chopped bok choy, scallions, a splash of sake, and a bit of sesame oil, and cooked just until the bok choy had wilted. Tested the broth to see if it was salty enough, and it was ready!
Verdict: seriously delicious. I think I could eat this for every meal of the day. And it's so easy to just be able to throw things in one pot and not measure and have it turn out so well. I see many versions in the future: I'll definitely try kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin) next time, and also try adding udon instead of potato and also some napa cabbage.