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.
Combine water, kombu, and shiitake mushrooms in a lidded container. Refrigerate overnight.
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.
Cut kabocha into 2 inch chunks. In a large pot, place pieces skin side down. Cover with dashi up until ⅔ of the way. Sprinkle in soy sauce, sake, and salt. Wedge pieces of ginger inbetween kabocha slices.
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.