September 20, 2010

Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin)


If you love kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), then you'll die for this recipe of Kabocha Nimono.

Kabocha is in fact a type of squash and not a pumpkin, so if you're having trouble finding it, buttercup squash can be substituted since the two are from the same family. Kabocha is generally sweeter and sometimes softer than buttercup squash; however, I wouldn't let that stop you! The dish is so tender and delicious you may end up eating a whole one by yourself!

We ate this as part of our Japanese night (as you can see in the photo). It goes with just about anything, I say.

There are a couple ingredients some folks might not be familiar with, so please ask. Take dashi, for instance. Dashi is a base stock used in some Japanese cooking. It is comprised of water, dried kelp, and bonito flakes. However, water with some salt or seasoning can be used if you don't want to make dashi. See? I'm full of useful information. Enjoy!

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds kabocha squash (about 1 kabocha)
2 cups dashi (can use seasoned/slightly salted water instead)
4-5 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce or shoyu
1 tablespoon sugar
salt, to taste


1. Wash the kabocha well, then cut in half and scoop out the seeds. (Optional: Using a vegetable peeler, peel off some of the outer skin to make attractive stripes of orange and green.) Cut the squash into roughly 2-inch chunks.

2. In a bowl, mix together the dashi, mirin, soy sauce or shoyu, sugar and salt. Adjust seasoning to taste.

3. Place the squash, skin side down, in a large saucepan or pot. Pour in enough of the dashi liquid to cover the squash by two-thirds. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover tightly, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until the squash is easily pierced by a sharp knife. Do not overcook or it will become mushy.

Adapted from whats4eats

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