Braised Kabocha Squash in Shiitake Broth
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 (1½ pound) kabocha squash
- 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar, demerara or turbinado
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup
- ½ teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish
- ½ teaspoon toasted black sesame seeds, for garnish
- Soak shiitake mushrooms in cold water until they’re soft, about 30 minutes at room temperature or overnight in refrigerator.
- Cut kabocha squash in half; scoop out and remove seeds with a spoon. Cut kabocha into 1-inch dice.
- Toss kabocha in sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cover and rest until liquid from kabocha is extracted, about 30 minutes. This step will help the kabocha hold its shape better as it’s cooked.
- Slice rehydrated shiitake mushrooms into thin slices and put them back in soaking water.
- Pour enough of the liquid from the kabocha squash into a large skillet to cover the bottom completely. Place skillet over medium heat; add kabocha squares skin-side down and cook until hot, about 3 minutes. Add Shiitake mushrooms with soaking water and soy sauce to the skillet, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until kabocha is completely soft, about 20 minutes.
- Add the syrup and mix to combine. Most of the liquid should be reduced by now, and any remaining liquid should be slightly thickened. Turn off the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Place kabocha with shiitake mushrooms on a plate; drizzle remaining liquid over them.
- Garnish with white and black sesame seeds.
When shopping for your kabocha squash, look for one that's heavy for it's size. That's how you'll know that it's holding a lot of moisture and, therefore, super fresh. The skin will be bumpy and look dull. Apply gentle pressure all over and make sure it doesn't have any soft spots.
What others are saying
Greg Jones says:
Using kabocha is a nice switch from zucchini. I really like this method of braising them in mushroom broth. It's a great side dish to Korean beef.
Katie Hason says:
I really enjoyed this dish! It paired perfectly with rice and an onion soup that I prepared on the side. I rarely think to cook kabocha, but I'm so glad I did.