I know it’s the wrong time of year – hotspot style dishes are for the winter months when it’s cold and miserable. Unfortunately British ‘summer time’ is just slightly less cold than it normally is and you can get down to one long sleeved layer rather than 5-6. I also couldn’t pass up this kit when I spotted it in Newcastle, I think the shop assistant had never seen anyone get so excited about frozen Oden.
The kit itself is obviously created for the export market due to the number of languages on the packet. It contains a variety of fish cakes including Hanpen and Chikuwa, obviously these all really taste strongly of fish so if you don’t like that then don’t buy this. It also includes a small stock packet which you dilute in your pot.
Along with the fish cakes I also added carrot, potato, broad beans and served it with some rice making it a really quite filling meal. If you can get it you should add Daikon and Konnyaku, I’d imagine Shirataki noodles would be really good in this too.You could easily feed 4 people with this kit even though it doesn’t look like much!
The cakes themselves expanded while cooking and had a soft springy texture after absorbing all that broth. You couldn’t really taste that they’d been cooked from frozen which was a bonus, they had a pleasant texture and fish flavour. The other nice thing was that a few of these had vegetables mixed into their shapes which added a crunchy texture and more variety to the flavour.
The most difficult one to cook was actually the Hanpen. The instructions recommended a cooking time of 15 minutes but the Hanpen went a bit too soft so I’d recommend about 6-7 minutes for this as it’ll continue to soften in the broth after its taken off the heat. I did thaw out my pack a bit before using it rather than cooking directly from frozen so that might have had something to do with it.
The broth packet is convenient but it’s quite a simple combination of soy sauce, sugars and fish flavourings. It has that packet broth flavour like instant noodles do and while there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s easy, it saves time. But if you have the time I’d recommend making your own broth with kombu to elevate the flavour of this a little more.
Having said that I’d buy this again if I saw it, it’d be perfect for winter as a quick dinner to feed a crowd or just two very hungry people! 8/10