Make Ahead

Dashi Braised Kabocha Squash

June  5, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4, as a side dish
Author Notes

Dashi is a magical ingredient- adding a hint of smoke and umami to any dish. We love it in chawan mushi, soups and as one of the best sources of depth we can add to a dish. This is a variation on a theme we use with sweet potatoes, pork and potato stew. We often make dashi from scratch bringing a sheet of kombu just shy of a simmer in 4 cups water, then steeping for 10 minutes. We then add a healthy handful of bonito flakes and steep until they sink. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and use within a couple days. On lazy days or when we just need that extra boost, we use the granulated version. This squash is great warm or at room temperature and can be made ahead. —savorthis

What You'll Need
  • 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
  1. Cut kabocha in half, seed and cut into about 8 moon shapes. Mix remaining ingredients except oils, cilantro and green onion.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add both oils to pan and add squash. Cook a few minutes until slightly brown. Flip and cook a few more minutes. Add liquid mixture and simmer about 20 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with a sharp knife, flipping over about halfway through. Toward the end the liquid will turn syrupy. Shake the pan to coat all pieces and remove to a plate.
  3. Garnish with cilantro and green onion.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Catherine Sopinka Williams
    Catherine Sopinka Williams
  • Clair Gu
    Clair Gu
  • BoulderGalinTokyo
  • WARM
  • MSL-2302
Co-Owner/Designer @ Where Wood Meets Steel-Custom Furniture

26 Reviews

Catherine S. January 11, 2021
I think there is an error in Step 1 where it says to mix REMAINING ingredients - that would imply everything between the SQUASH and CILANTRO/GREEN ONIONS. But Step 2 then says to heat both oils over med-high high, except that you have already erroneously mixed them in with the dashi, mirin etc. I’m surprised that this recipe shows as TEST KITCHEN approved and that no one else has noted this.

savorthis January 11, 2021
Thank you for pointing that out. I have edited it!
Clair G. October 7, 2016
Made this tonight for dinner, my only change was that I shoved the whole thing in a 450 degree oven for ~25 minutes instead of doing it stove top because I had too much squash! Absolutely divine, I have never seen plates so clean, so fast in my house before. Topped the squash off with a little cilantro-lemon panko crumb I had laying around.. amazing. Will be adding this dish to the regular rotation! Thank you!
BoulderGalinTokyo January 22, 2015
ann blankenship: Dashi is stock made from BONITO shavings (English for Katsuo) which is not the fish tuna. But Dashi is also made from konbu, as savorthis explains in her intro, and mushroom broth is also nice. Miso is a different flavor profile, not to mention more sodium.
WARM January 20, 2015
Hmmm.... This recipe is incorrectly listed as vegan. Dashi is stock made from dried tuna shavings. I'd substitute a light miso instead.
savorthis January 20, 2015
Ann you are right. I would remove that checkbox but the edit button seems to be missing at the moment. I have typically substituted dashi with a mixture of steeped mushroom liquid and lapsang souchong tea (for the smokiness) but I think miso would also be great.
QueenSashy January 20, 2015
There are variations of dashi -- kombu dashi is made by soaking kelp only... Maybe you can just edit the author's notes or add comment to the ingredients :)
savorthis January 20, 2015
Sure. Whenever the edit button comes back I will make a note. I personally really like the smokiness mixed with the sweet so I think something beyond just the kombu is required- maybe kombu and smoky tea.
QueenSashy January 20, 2015
Oh my, I think you are onto something here. I made the original recipe with sweet potatoes and loved it. I am now going to try the same with Lapsang Souchong.
savorthis January 20, 2015
Yes- sweet potatoes are a great option. This is a terrible photo but this sauce I usually use on pork was delicious on sweet potatoes:
MSL-2302 October 5, 2014
this looks divine. A question about Kobacha squash: I noticed that you didnt peel it-- do you eat the outside "peel" or rind? Or do you spoon out the orange flesh and toss the shell? (I'm comparing it in my mind to the butternut or acorn or hubbard squashes I'm more familiar with.) Thanks!
savorthis October 5, 2014
I do eat the skin but my husband doesn't. It gets very tender and is a preference really.
BoulderGalinTokyo January 22, 2015
The Japanese almost always serve Kobocha (means pumpkin) with the peel. It is extremely hard to cut so microwave about 20 seconds, then cut. But cooking, especially braising, will break down the peel so it is very edible.
Mica B. November 29, 2013
Was super excited to find this recipe to add to Thanksgiving feast then my boyfriend suggested to make it with David Chang's Bacon Dashi recipe (just use bacon instead of katsuo-bushi to make the dashi)...It was awesome! We also added bacon lardons as garnish, can't go wrong with that. Extra Thanksgiving indulgence!
QueenSashy November 19, 2013
not sure how I missed this one... splendid, as always.
student E. November 11, 2013
do you think this would work with pumpkin?
savorthis November 11, 2013
Sure! I've used this method for varieties of squash, sweet potatoes, bok choy, brussels sprouts, whatever is on hand. You just have to adjust the liquid so things don't get too soggy.
student E. November 11, 2013
oh my gosh, it's delicious! what a fabulous recipe! i'm going to make this all the time!
savorthis November 12, 2013
That was fast! Glad you liked it~
Devangi R. August 14, 2012
This looks so delicious..I have to buy some stuff for this recipe..I have never used mirin or dashi...i do know a little a flavor profile..
savorthis August 14, 2012
Thanks. I have actually been trying to eat less mirin just because of the sugar- though I suppose we use so little of it in the grand scheme of things. It lasts forever in the fridge so it is great to keep on hand. And dashi- I often will make my own as kombu and bonito also last forever in the pantry and when you do it that way, there is nothing else added (like msg etc). Though you have to make several cups that way so the granules are perfect for adding just a bit of flavor here and there. It is a must in my pantry.
gingerroot August 14, 2012
I love kabocha prepared this way. YUM!
BoulderGalinTokyo June 8, 2012
Love this kind of pumpkin! Your picture is great too.
aargersi June 6, 2012
This sounds terrific - deep flavor but simple - love it!
boulangere June 6, 2012
This sounds heavenly! I love the combination of konbu and kabocha.
savorthis June 6, 2012
Thanks boulangere. It is definitely a comfort food flavor combination for me and so easily paired with other flavors too.