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simmered kabocha squash (japanese pumpkin)


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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total: 75 minutes

Servings: 4


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Step 1

Gather all the ingredients.

Step 2

In a small pot, boil 1 ¾ cups water. Once boiling, add katsuobushi.

Step 3

Mix together and turn off the heat. Set aside for 15 minutes. Then strain the katsuobushi with a fine mesh sieve. Set the katsuo dashi aside for now. You can discard the katsuobushi or make furikake (rice seasonings) with the leftover katsuobushi.

Step 4

Remove the seeds and pith from the kabocha. Microwave for 2 minutes so soften the outer kabocha skin (you can skip microwaving if you have a sharp knife and strength to cut through the skin).

Step 5

Cut the kabocha into wedges, then equal 2” (5 cm) pieces.  Remember, kabocha skin is edible and nutritious.

Step 6

Place the kabocha pieces, skin side down, in a pot that fit in a single layer. Change the pot if kabocha doesn’t fit.

Step 7

Add dashi, sake and sugar. Tip: Swirl the pot to mix the seasonings so you won't break the kabocha.

Step 8

Cook on medium high heat and bring it to a boil.

Step 9

Add soy sauce and salt, and swirl the pot again to mix the seasonings. If the liquid does not cover 3/4 of kabocha, you can add a little bit of water. Bring to a boil again.

Step 10

Once boiling turn down to medium low heat to maintain simmering. Cover with an otoshibuta (drop lid - here's how to make it with aluminum) and cook for 20-30 minutes (depends on size, and skin takes time to cook), or until the kabocha has a tiny thin crack near the skin (it’s a sign for doneness!). If you feel that liquid is evaporating too fast, you can cover the regular lid (and you still need to use otoshibuta).

Step 11

Remove from the heat and let kabocha sit covered until cool, about 30 minutes. This helps kabocha absorbs more flavor as it cools. You can serve at room temperature or reheat before serving.

Step 12

[Optional garnish] Cut the ginger into rectangular piece (so each strips will be the same length). Cut into thin slabs and then thin julienne strips.

Step 13

Soak in cold water for 1 minute and drain well. Set aside. Serve with simmered kabocha.

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