Winter Solstice Kabocha Recipe


Japanese eat kabocha squash on Winter Solstice, and take a bath with floating yuzu (citrus fruit in Eastern Asia) fruit. Even though such practices are being forgotten gradually, many people still follow the custom every year.

Kabocha is often cooked with adzuki on winter solstice. Sweet mild flavor of stewed kabocha and adzuki is particularly comforting in mid winter.



Wash adzuki beans lightly and boil with plenty of water over high heat. When the water boils, discard cooking water using a colander.

Return the drained adzuki in the pot, add water and cook adzuki until the beans get soft. It takes about one hour or more. Add more water in the middle, if the water level gets low.
While adzuki is being cooked, wash kabocha well. Place a cutting board on firm surface, and cut kabocha in half using a very sharp knife. Remove seeds and pulp, and cut kabocha into wedges. Then cut the wedges across to make about 1" pieces.

Extra: When the edges of kabocha pieces are beveled, they hold the shapes better while cooking.
When adzuki beans are done, discard the cooking water again, using a colander, and keep the beans aside.
Cook kabocha pieces with just enough water to cover over medium heat. When the water boils, place otoshibuta right on top of the kabocha pieces, and simmer 3 more minutes or so.

Remove otoshibuta, add adzuki, sugar, and soy sauce. Mix gently and cook until kabocha is done. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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