Kabocha no Nimono is Japanese pumpkin boiled with soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. It’s very simple, easy to make, and very delicious! By cooking the pumpkin this way, you can bring a sweet flavourful taste to bland pumpkin, which makes it more tasty and a great way to get children to eat more vegetables!
How to cut hard Kabocha pumpkin?
Kabocha pumpkin is very hard. It is probably harder than many pumpkins so be careful when cutting it. After removing the seeds, it can be microwaved for 2 minutes making it softer and easier to cut.
Tips to keep its shape while it’s simmered
Kabocha no nimono is fairly simple and easy to cook. But the problem that often happens is that Kabocha pumpkin loses its shape while being simmered. I will give you some tips to avoid this happening.
- Lay the skin side face down to the pot without leaving any gaps and without overlapping (prepare a suitable size pot)
- Round off every corner of cut kabocha pumpkins
- Cook with minimum liquid and use “Otoshibuta” (a drop lid)
Where to purchase Kabocha Pumpkins? (if not in Japan)
I can only speak about Australia and more specifically Brisbane. I sometimes find them at a local organic market so try searching at your local market. I also used to be able to buy Kabocha pumpkin from Coles, which they used to stock from New Zealand. However, they don’t do this anymore at any Coles near me.
How to pick the best Kabocha Pumpkin?
If you can find fresh Kabocha pumpkin, I would feel lucky and buy it anyway. However, if you have an abundance of kabocha pumpkin to choose from them choosing the best will make the dish better.
First, choose a heavy pumpkin with a hard skin. If you buy a cut of kabocha pumpkin, pick the one that has a deep orange flesh colour and a clear border of flesh and skin.
Japanese cooking secret : Otoshibuta
What is Otoshibuta?
Otoshibuta is an indispensable lid in Japanese cooking which is a little smaller than the pot in its diameter of the pot. Traditionally, otoshibuta is made out of wood, but nowadays you can get steel and silicone otoshibuta as well.
Why Otoshibuta ?
- Otoshibuta hold the ingredients and prevent the ingredients falling apart.
- It cooks ingredients evenly because the liquid underneath the Otoshibuta will be circulated.
- It forces the seasoning to penetrate well through the ingredients.
I don’t have an Otoshibuta
No problem. You can substitute with parchment paper or aluminium foil. See the above photo to make your own.
Here is my instructions for Kabocha no nimono and if you liked it, please rate it and leave a comment or any questions below. And don’t forget to check out other Kabocha squash recipes such as Kabocha pumpkin bread , Kabocha salad and Kabocha pumpkin soup
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- 400 g Kabocha squash pumpkin
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1 tbs sake
- 1 1/2 tbs soy sauce
- 1/2 tbs mirin
- Peel and seed the pumpkin then cut it into even sized chunks.
- Round off each corner of pumpkin cuts.
- Lay the cut pumpkin skin side down without leaving any gap and without overlapping.
- Add water and bring them boil then turn the heat down to medium heat. Cook about 20 minutes or until the kabocha become soft.
- Add sugar, sake, soy sauce and mirin and bring them to boil over medium heat.
- Once it has boiled, turn the heat down to low, put a drop-lid (Otoshibuta) on to the Kabocha pieces directly and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked.
- Garnish with chopped ginger. (optional)