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Sake and Soy-Braised Kabocha Squash
Kabocha, which translates from the Japanese as “pumpkin,” is a variety of winter squash originating in Japan. Short, squat and green with light mottling and stripes that run from top to bottom, kabocha is orange on the interior, with sweet flesh that is slightly starchy and quite dense. In the Japanese kitchen, it often is cut into chunks and simply braised with soy sauce and a little sweetener (here we use mirin). We add a small measure of toban djan (a spicy Asian chili-bean sauce) as a flavor accent. Look for toban djan sold in jars in the international aisle of the grocery store or in Asian markets. If it’s not available, chili-garlic sauce is a fine substitute.