For those of us suffering from pumpkin spice overload, there's a way to get through the pumpkin season without giving up our favorite fall flavor. Kabocha, or Japanese Pumpkin, is a type of winter squash that resembles a flat western pumpkin with a sweet taste and fluffy, chestnut-like texture. You can find this delicacy at your local Asian market, often for less than $3 a pound. Kabocha has a deep green skin and with a vibrant orange color, and, when broiled, boiled or grilled, makes a great comfort food for cold nights. This simple recipe mainly involves cutting, boiling, and simmering, so it's easy to prepare as a seasonal side dish. The best part: leftovers can be reworked into salads, stews and pastas.
1 medium kabocha
3 tbsp. vegetable stock
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. sake
3 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 kombu leaf
1. First, remove seeds and pulp from kabocha, then cut them into wedges (approximately 3cm).
2. Cut again into smaller, 3-4cm, pieces
3. Peel away the hard layer of skin with the knife, leaving a little bit to taste
4. Place pumpkin into pot, and add stock, kombu leaf, sugar, mirin, and sake. Bring to a boil
5. Once boiled, turn the heat to low. When the kabocha is almost done ( you'll know it's ready when you can pierce a chopstick through the skin), add light soy sauce.
6. Boil once more, then turn the heat to low and let simmer for a few minutes. This will allow the kabocha to better absorb the soy sauce flavor.
7. Remove kabocha pieces from pot and place on a serving plate or tray, leaving the sauce in the pot.
8. Pour sauce over kabocha, and let cool to room temperature.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM JAPANESE COOKING RECIPES, BY FUMIYO KAWAKAMI