Simmered Kabocha Squash

Shojin Cuisine is a style of vegan cooking that was started by Japanese Buddhist monks. While european cuisine use beef stock as a base, shojin cuisine utilizes a quick fumet-like stock called Rikyu dashi, which is made of dried kelp and shiitake mushrooms.

This simple dish is a shojin classic; kabocha squash, a tough, pumpkin-like vegetable is simmered in soy and dashi until soft and sweet. If you can’t find kabocha in your area, any sweet squash like butternut or Delicata will work as a substitute.

Prep Time: 8 hours

Total Cook Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4-6


  • 1/2 kabocha, washed and cleaned
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 4-inch piece dried kombu
  • 2-3 dried shiitake mushroom
  • 2 tbsp white or low sodium soy sauce (substitute with tamari soy if gluten-free)
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp organic ground ginger


  1. Combine water, kombu, and shiitake mushrooms in a lidded container. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Transfer dashi into a large pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Take off of heat and let infuse for 20 minutes. Remove kombu and shiitake and reserve for another use.
  3. Cut kabocha into 2 inch chunks. In a large pot, place pieces skin side down. Cover with dashi up until 2/3 of the way. Sprinkle in soy sauce, sake, and salt. Wedge pieces of ginger inbetween kabocha slices.
  4. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the kabocha with parchment paper and let braise for 20-30 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to half.

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