Kabocha no nimono (Simmered pumpkin)

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Broadcast date:September 27, 2013

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Ingredients (Serves 4 )

・400 g pumpkin
・1 tablespoon vegetable oil
・1 tablespoon sugar
・1 teaspoon soy sauce
・¼ teaspoon salt
・1 cup (200 ml) water


  1. Cut 400 g chunk of the pumpkin into quarters, and remove the seeds and membrane.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into pieces 3-4 cm in size. Try to keep the sizes uniform. Roughly peel the pieces, leaving some of the green skin.
  3. Heat a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and sauté the pumpkin over medium heat.
  4. Once the pumpkin has absorbed the oil, add 1 tablespoon of sugar. When the sugar has released its fragrance, add 1 cup of water, and then 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  5. Place an otoshi-buta (drop lid) and simmer at low heat. The water should be only slightly on the boil. Regulate the heat to ensure the pieces of pumpkin are not moving about too much in the water, making them liable to break apart.
  6. Simmer for about 5 minutes and then gently turn the pieces of pumpkin.
  7. Replace the lid and simmer for about another 10 minutes. Pierce the middle of a piece of pumpkin with a fine skewer or fork. If it is easily pierced, the pumpkin is done. Remove the drop lid.
  8. Check and adjust the seasoning of the simmering water. Remove from the heat and allow to cool somewhat before serving. Place the pieces on plates 1 piece at a time using a spoon, and pore some of the water over each.

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Otoshi-buta (Drop lids)

Otoshi-buta (or a drop lid) is a lid about 1 cm smaller in diameter to a pan.  It is placed inside the pan to sit on top of the ingredients, enabling them to be simmered in even a small amount of water.  The lid also acts as a weight to prevent ingredients from moving about in the boiling water, which makes them liable to break apart.  Otoshi-buta are normally fashioned from wood, but in recent times versions made from other materials have become available in Japan, such as colourful ones fashioned from silicon, and stainless steel models which you can adjust the size.

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