sweet simmered kabocha squash
here is a favorite snack of my moms, simmered japanese pumpkin. it can be served at room temperature as a side dish to a japanese meal, or my way, which involves a midnight visit to the fridge, bum scratching, eye rubbing and deeply profound mutterings all in a walking sleep state.
that remindes me of a time when one of my neighbors in an apartment building across the way got up in the middle of the night, flipped on her flourescent overhead lights, and gorged on a pint of ice cream. buck naked. which in turn remindes me of another time in college when one of my neighbors, a big, hairy guy with an uncannily kabocha like gut decided to watch some late night tv. nude. very considerately he drew the shades most of the way down. only the base of his belly and bobbly bits were exposed. the worst part was that he was channel surfing without a remote control. back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, like ducks in a shooting gallery. it was awful.
now that i've ruined your appetite, lets get back to the food. just in case you don't know what a kaboch squash looks like, here it is in it's natural state.
simmered sweet kabocha
2 lbs. kabocha squash, peeled and diced into 1"x1" cubes (approx. 6 cups)
1/2 cup water or dashi
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
pinch of salt
depending on the state of the skin, you can either peel completely or partially peel the green outer skin into strips. remove seeds and cut into 1 inch cubes. place water, sugar, soy and salt in a sauce pan, followed by diced squash. bring to a boil and place lid on pan, turning down heat to a low simmer. depending on the size of the pumpkin cubes you may need to add more water to prevent scorching. cook until done (when a chopstick easily passes through the flesh but still retains it's shape), about 15 minutes. the squash should have a chestnut like texture, not soggy or watery. if there is too much liquid left in the pan, remove the squash and reduce the liquid until slightly thickened and pour over kabocha.