Sweet, fluffy and delicious Japanese Simmered Pumpkin is the ultimate comforting side dish. Made with "kabocha" that is simmered in a delightful assortment of Japanese condiments, it's perfect to serve with any home dish or even in a bento box!
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What is Simmered Japanese Pumpkin?
The Japanese name for this dish is "Kabocha no Nimono" (かぼちゃの煮物) which directly translates into pumpkin cooked by boiling or stewing.
The pumpkin is not simply boiled in water, it's simmered in a mixture of Japanese condiments such as soy sauce, mirin and sake. (I like using Kikkoman brand soy sauce and mirin.) These flavours really bring out the taste of the pumpkin and the method of cooking makes the texture soft and fluffy.
We also tend to leave the skin on, it keeps the pieces together after it's boiled and it's good for you! Not to mention it looks very colourful!
History of simmered pumpkin
As a traditional dish
Simmered pumpkin actually has a long history as a home cooking dish. In old Japan, it was a tradition to eat pumpkin in winter. There's even an idea of "eat a lot of pumpkins to get through winter". Probably because pumpkin is sweet, comforting and nutricious.
Back then, the easiest and the most ideal way of cooking pumpkin was simmering.
It was also useful that pumpkins can be stored for a long time.
In Japanese supermarkets, you can buy precut pumpkins especially for this dish. One reason might be that it's hard to cut, you definitely need a sharp knife to make this dish! But also because of how many people cook this dish, you can kind of guess how popular it is right?
It's also a popular choice to put in a lunch box (bento) as well.
What kind of Pumpkins are used in "Japanese Simmered Pumpkin"?
Okay, so actually this dish doesn't use regular pumpkin. The most popular kind of pumpkin in Japan is called 'Kabocha'. Kabocha is a kind of winter squash, it's a little similar to butternut squash but the shape is different and kabocha has a thick green skin. As I mentioned before, you can eat the skin once it's cooked!
The taste of kabocha is also a lot sweeter than butternut squash, and the texture is kind of like a mix between pumpkin and sweet potato. It's fluffy and delicious, and it's pretty versatile too! It can be used in a number of dishes, savory or sweet!
Other dishes that use Kabocha
Here are some other dishes where you can use Japanese pumpkin, Kabocha!
- Tempura かぼちゃ天ぷら
- Pumpkin Korokke かぼちゃコロッケ
- Kabocha Soup かぼちゃスープ
- Kabocha Salad かぼちゃサラダ
- Kabocha Pudding (purin) かぼちゃプリン
Let's get started!Print