Here’s the second recipe from our Japanese curry bento: salty-sweet-sticky glazed pumpkin with toasted sesame seeds. This is a super comforting side dish and a total snap to make, requiring only 3 ingredients in addition to the pumpkin itself. It’s quick braised in the glaze on the stove top which I think is a total genius move since I’m used to thinking that anytime I cook fresh pumpkin, I’m going to need to turn on the oven….. and wait.
My kids are still working on enjoying pumpkin when it’s not encased in piecrust or folded into our favorite fluffy pumpkin muffins, but it’s a nice opportunity to expose them to the idea that one ingredient can be used in many, many ways. And it’s fun to work with a fresh pumpkin since they are more used to seeing this ingredient in its canned, puree form (or as a jack-o-lantern on Halloween). Luca’s review of this dish was “thumbs not straight up or straight down, but sort of in the middle, but probably more down than up”. Trust me, I’ve had worse reviews…. and I suppose I take heart that he said he’d try it again next time I make it and will “keep deciding” whether he likes it or not.
I, on the other hand, liked this dish a lot. But that’s not much of a surprise because I almost always prefer the sides to the main event, and I especially foods than stray into the sweet-salty zone. I could eat this with a bowl of rice and some nice, snappy green beans and be perfectly content. I also do think this would be a fun one to make for little person who is starting to expand their repertoire of solid food because it’s meltingly soft, can even be finger food (if you don’t mind sticky fingers), and packs a nice amount of flavor while not being too overwhelming for young taste buds.
Soy-Glazed Pumpkin With Sesame Seeds
Adapted from “Everyday Harumi“, by Harumi Kurihara, an absolutley beautiful book about simple home-style Japanese cooking.
- Peel fresh pumpkin and remove the seeds and dice into 1″ cubes. For every pound of diced pumpkin mix: 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 Tablespoon of light soy sauce.
- Bring the sugar-soy-water mixture to a boil on the stove in a skillet, stirring to mix and full dissolve the sugar. Once it’s bubbling, turn the heat down to medium and add the diced pumpkin.
- Stir until the pumpkin is soft and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. [next time I might crank the heat back up at this point, add a touch of oil to the pan and caramelize the pumpkin a bit to finish the dish.]
- Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.