An easy side dish, the sweet flavor of the kabocha is highlighted through the salty umami of the simmering sauce.
“Nimono” is a class of Japanese dishes known as “simmering dishes”. In nimono, ingredients are simmered in a mix of broth and flavorings until the liquid is absorbed and the flavors are embedded into the ingredients.
The most common flavoring combination used in nimono is a mix of soy, sugar, sake and/or mirin. A seafood-based dashi stock is also central to cooking nimono. I also like adding ginger to give it that extra little depth.
Nimono that is made of a singular vegetable like this Simmered Kabocha recipe are often served as side dishes to compliment the full meal setting. This particular recipe is especially easy to prepare in bulk ahead of time and serve it throughout the week in various meals.
Simmered Kabocha Nimono
- 1 large pot or frying skillet
- 1 drop lid use aluminum foil if you don't own this
- 1/2 kabocha squash
- 2 cups dashi stock see notes on how to make dashi
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 tbsp sake
- If you don't own a drop lid, create one using aluminum foil! Take a piece of foil larger that you pot and fold in the edges until it just fits within the pot. Punch holes through the center of the foil with a chopstick so that you have a large steam vent. This will be your drop lid.
- Cut the kabocha squash into ~1" cubes. If the kabocha squash is too hard, pop it in the microwave for 2 min to soften and try cutting again.1/2 kabocha squash
- Line the bottom of a pot with the kabocha squash in a single layer.1/2 kabocha squash
- Mix the simmering sauce ingredients together with the dashi stock. Pour into the pot.1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp minced ginger, 2 tbsp sake, 2 cups dashi stock
- Bring pot to boil on high.
- Once boiling, turn down to medium low heat to simmer. Cover ingredients with the drop lid and cook for 20-30 min, or until liquid has mostly evaporated and the kabocha squash is tender.
- Turn off heat and let kabocha sit in the pot with the pot lid covering to cool, about 30 minutes.
- Serve at room temp or chilled.