Simmered Kabocha is an ideal comfy food for fall and winter seasons.
During the week, you run out of time to cook. This Japanese recipe is for you.
Because it is fast to make, flexitarian or even vegetarian by adapting it a little bit.
What is Kabocha?
Kabocha is a pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima) cultivated in Japan. You recognize it by its green skin, streaked with white. Its flesh is yellow-orange. You may find it on the stalls under the name of green pumpkin.
It is my favorite pumpkin in terms of taste and texture. It has notes of chestnut and is slightly sweeter than the butternut squash.
To conquer you for good, you don't need to peel it.
How do you cook it?
In several ways, in soup, sautéed with sesame. But for this recipe we will concentrate on cooking in a dashi (broth).
Simmered Kabocha is one of the most popular dishes in Japan.You can found it everywhere from breakfast in ryokan, to bento boxes that can be bought in train stations or combinis. Not to mention that it is one of the classic side dishes on tables in Japan.
What about the dashi...
The traditionnal broth to cook Kabocha use those ingredients:
- katsuobushi (dried bonito)
- soy sauce
But if you can't find any dried bonito, you can replace it with dried shiitake (or other dried mushrooms, it must be nice with porcini mushrooms), dried seaweed or as a last resort a chicken or vegetable broth.
Little tricks for a perfect simmered Kabocha
1 - Cut your Kabocha into equal pieces.
This allows the pumpkin to cook evenly and quickly. This is true for everything you cook.
2 - Place the pieces on a single layer
This is how you prevent the Kabocha from breaking during cooking, because it is fragile.
3 - Do not drown the Kabocha and use a baking paper.
Do not add to much broth. The liquid must not exceed the pumpkin pieces.
To complete the cooking process, use baking paper that has been pierced beforehand to allow the liquid to circulate. This way the Kabocha will absorb the taste better and cook evenly and faster.
What to serve it with?
At home, we often serve it with Japanese rice. Without anything else. But you can definitely consider serving it with grilled fish, karaage or other simmered vegies.
It also has its place on a festive table with a roasted poultry, some chestnuts and winter tubers; tuberous chervil, rutabaga, parsnip.
Many thank to Namiko for some of the tips above.Print