Many people in Japan believe that Kabocha originates from Japan.
Actually it was introduced to Asia a long time ago after it was discovered on the American Continent.
Even the etymology is not Japanese as it refers (apparently, but nothing sure about that!) tothe varieties first grown and developped in Cambodia, according to the sam Japanese who can’t enough of them and mostly import them from Tonga, of all places!
“Kabocha No Amakarani”, or 南瓜の甘辛煮in Japanese means simmered/stewed sweet and spicy kabocha.
It is very easy to make, even if it entails some handiwork. and can be enjoyed by all, vegans or not!
The following recipe bein the basic one, I will keep to the method and leave the exact quantities to your preferences!
First take the stem end out. It sounds evident, but you will make things hard for you if you skip that simple step!
Turn the kabocha over (now you understand why you have taken the stem out?). Cut in half through the middle. Take care not to slip and cut your fingers!
Having cut the kabocha in half, cut it again in half (fourth). The raw kabocha might be hard to cut. There is no need to use brute force. Cut it slowly!
This will make it easy to scoop out (and discard the seeds).
Cut each quarter again across as shown in above picture.
Then cut again as shown in above picture for individual pieces.
The next step is bit of a pain, but absolutely necessary.
Cut away the skin edges as shown in above picture.
-1) for a more even cooking.
-2) the edges will turn hard and will be diificult to bite through. You might even cut your lips. Believe me!
-3) the kabocha wedges will not break down upon stewing.
The kabocha wedges as they should be before stewing!
put all the kabocha wedges into a large bowl. Add sugar and mix. Leave it to marinate for at least 3 hours. It will soften the kabocha. It will also enhance the “umami”/taste. Water that will have seeped out will be used when simmering/stewing the kabocha. Don’t throw it away!
Place the kabocha wedges in a larg pan skin down (at least at first!).
Pour their water on top.
Pour dashi so as to cover them.
See dashi recipe HERE.
Cover with lid and cook for a while over a medium fire.
Once it starts to boil, take off lid and season with a little soy sauce and spices if wanted.
Cover again and stew over a low fire until liquid/juices have disappeared.
Can be eaten hot or cold!
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