I always like to have an Asian side dish at Thanksgiving to honor my heritage. I'm half Chinese and spent my early years in Japan so I usually add a vegetable that is Chinese or Japanese. The one that I will make this year is Japanese Braised Kabocha Squash. It's very easy to make and only takes about 20 minutes to cook and the prep can be done in advance. The Kabocha Squash is cooked in broth (usually Dash, but I used Chicken Broth and sometimes use Vegetable Broth for my Vegan friends) seasoned with Tamari, Mirin and Green Onions. I like the savory flavor for Squash more than sweet and this braise gives it a wonderful exotic taste just perfect with Rice, which of course I do serve along with the Dressing!
Japanese Braised Kabocha Squash
1 Kabocha Squash
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 Green Onions, trimmed and cut into 2 inch lengths
1 1/2 Tablespoons Tamari
1 1/2 Tablespoons Mirin or Rice Wine
1/2 cup Chicken Broth, Vegetable Broth or Dashi
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Sugar
Cut the Kabocha Squash in half and remove seeds. Then cut into wedges (about 2 inches wide). Peel each wedge with a vegetable peeler and then cut in half to make them about 3 inches long.
Mix the Tamari, Mirin, Broth and Sugar together in a small bowl. Taste and add more Sugar if desired.
Heat Oil in a frying pan with a lid. Add the Green Onions and cook until you can smell the fragrance. Add in the Kabocha Squash and then add in the Broth mixture. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until fork tender.
Five Element Analysis
Squashes are very sweet and orange so they belong to the Earth Element. The Chicken Broth contributes the Wood Element. The Tamari belongs to the Water Element. The Mirin or Rice Wine is from the Fire Element and the Green Onions bring in the Metal Element. All the Elements are present in this one dish!