Holiday Entertaining

Dashi-Braised Kabocha Squash

November 11, 2013

Every Monday and Wednesday, we'll announce a new Wildcard winner: a recipe that may not have been entered in (or won) a contest, but a recipe that we've tested and loved.

Today: Autumn squash just got a lot more exciting.

Dashi braised kabocha from Food52

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WHO: Savorthis is a design/production manager for a nonprofit and owns Where Wood Meets Steel, a high-end furniture business, with her husband. She lives in Denver.

WHAT: A holiday-worthy side -- and a new way to cook with dashi.

HOW: Make dashi -- it's quick, we promise! -- then use it as a braising liquid for kabocha squash (soy sauce, mirin, and sesame oil join the party, too). Garnish with scallions and cilantro.

WHY WE LOVE IT: We never thought of using dashi to braise vegetables before; it's the perfect match for creamy kabocha squash. We love how caramelized the squash gets without needing to give it a long roast. This would be a handsome addition to a Thanksgiving table -- but it's quick enough to make on a weeknight, too.

Dashi-Braised Kabocha Squash by savorthis

Serves 4, as a side dish

1 medium kabocha squash
2 tablespoons oil (canola or light olive)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup dashi
1 tablespoon soy
2 tablespoons mirin
1/2 teaspoon chili garlic paste (more to taste)
Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Green onion, thinly sliced, for garnish

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by James Ransom

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  • gingerroot
  • aargersi
  • fiveandspice
  • AntoniaJames
  • savorthis
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gingerroot November 12, 2013
Congrats on a great wildcard, savorthis! My aunt has always prepared kabocha in a similar way, except she uses dried shrimp for flavoring. Now that I think about it, this would be a lovely side at Thanksgiving...saving it to my menu!
savorthis November 12, 2013
I bet dried shrimp works well! I had a partially successful attempt at steaming a chawan mushi type custard inside a whole kabocha with some ground pork and dried shrimp. The flavor was great but the texture was not quite right. Back to the drawing board~
aargersi November 11, 2013
Whoop! Congratulations - this sounds fantastic!
savorthis November 12, 2013
fiveandspice November 11, 2013
Oh yum! So excited to try this. I've been loving winter squash with Asian flavors lately.
savorthis November 12, 2013
Thanks~ let me know if you do!
AntoniaJames November 11, 2013
Perfect timing! I have a considerable stash of dashi in my freezer that I need to use. Can hardly wait to make this. I've had my eye on this recipe since it was posted last year. ;o)
savorthis November 11, 2013
Thanks AntoniaJames! I have always wondered about freezing dashi. I think I had read once that it was not advised but never knew why. I really wanted to make, reduce and freeze it in cubes as my mom always did with chicken broth so I didn't have to rely on the granules which often have so much extra stuff in them. Let me know your thoughts!
AntoniaJames November 11, 2013
I've never heard that about dashi. In fact, Hiroko Shimbo, whose opinion I greatly respect, recommends making large batches and freezing for later use (which I've done!) ;o) P.S. I don't reduce it, the way I do chicken stock. It's only supposed to be simmered, ever so gently and ever so briefly.
savorthis November 11, 2013
I found the reference I was thinking of in my Elizabeth Andoh book. She says that the "delicate flavor does not hold up to freezing." But if it works for you I will try it! And yes- I suppose you'd have to simmer it for a very long time to reduce it without boiling. Not like it is that hard to make - I just often want smaller portions.