One of the traditional foods served on the eve of the hibernal, or winter solstice 冬至 is the Japanese squash called kabocha. This squash is harvested in the fall and allowed to “rest” outside in the cool air where its flesh sweetens with age. My wife served a really tasty kabocha dish on the 20th of December. It goes with just about any meal from steaks to mac ‘n cheese! They are found in most supermarkets. Here is how to prepare it—-Enjoy!
1.Wash the skin, cut in half and scrape out the seeds.
2. Make slices about a quarter inch thick, leaving the skin on.
3. Heat a frying pan under slow heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Fry on both sides until the orange meat is tender. Add salt and pepper.
Another recipe that is strictly Japanese style is as follows:
- Slice the squash into one and a half inch cubes. Again, leave the skin on. It’s good!
- Add to a deep pan: 1 cup of water (or dashi, if you have it), 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of mirin (sweetened sake), 2 tablespoons of sake and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. You probably have soy sauce. But, if you don’t have the other ingredients, just replace with water. (Some people have suggested chicken broth, but we’ve never tried it.)
- Bring to a boil and add squash. Gently cover with pre-cut tin foil, the size of the inside of the pan with a nickle sized hole in the middle
- Turn to low heat and cook until the meat is soft. Use a tooth pick to test whether its done.