Braised kabocha pumpkin
The beauty of the Japanese kabocha pumpkin is that it has quite a dry, dense texture that doesn't break down with cooking. Thinking they were an exotic rarity, I ordered one especially from my greengrocer the other day, only to see a whole basket of them displayed in the window of my local supermarket as I walked home from collecting it.
450g/14½oz kabocha pumpkin
500ml/17fl oz dashi stock
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp mirin
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
200g/7oz shiitake mushrooms
Half-peel the kabocha and cut it into large chunks. Put it skin-side down in a large frying pan and add the stock, sake, mirin, sugar and soy.
The pumpkin pieces should now be submerged in liquid. If not, pour in a little water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the squash is almost tender.
Turn the pumpkin over, add the shiitake and cook for another 5 minutes. Allow to cool in the liquid before serving warm or at room temperature.
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