Japanese pumpkin, braised in sake, sugar and soy sauce. An easy side dish, packed with lots of color and flavor.
I was looking for some side dishes to serve with my Niku-jaga the other day when came across this dish. I remember having eaten it once, a while back with some friends but I had forgotten all about it until I saw this recipe online. I immediately wanted to make it because I love kabocha and pumpkins in general! Lucky thing, kabocha squash (or at least something very similar in shape and colour) are found in abundance at the local Kuching markets.
This dish is so easy to make, plus it really packs a lot of flavor! If you cannot handle too much sugar, try substituting some of the sugar with agave or a sugar substitute like Splenda. This dish would make a nice option for a holiday side dish if you’re looking for something different. And, it doesn’t take any room in your oven! What more could you ask for?
Kabocha No Nimono (Braised Kabocha Pumpkin)
adapted from Savory Japan
1 lb kabocha (I used half a large kabocha)
2 1/2 cups water
5 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp sake
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1. Prepare the kabocha. Cut in half if using a whole kabocha. Scoop out the seeds (which can be roasted like pumpkin seeds) and slice into wedges about 1 inch wide at their widest. If the pumpkin is large, cut the wedges in half. The skin can be eaten if it is smooth; if not, peel, but leave some of the green skin for contrast.
2. Combine the simmering ingredients and boil the pumpkin pieces, covered, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin can be easily pierced with a fork, but is still firm. Take care not to simmer too long, or the pieces will become too soft and will fall apart.
3. Transfer carefully to a plate. If there is a lot of simmering liquid left, continue to boil the liquid till it is reduced to about half a cup. Pour the pot juices over the hot pumpkin. This will allow the pumpkin to soak up the flavor as it cools.
4. Serve in a large bowl or if you want, in individual small plates. Refrigerate leftovers in the remaining pot liquid. It will keep for several days.