Kindergarten bento – Simmered pumpkin & chicken (4/Nov/16)

Menu: Simmered pumpkin & chicken, Fried rice with Japanese hakusai cabbage and shirasu baby sardines, Boiled egg, Boiled broccoli, Cherry tomato

Mandarin mikan for dessert

3rd of November was a national holiday in Japan (Cultural Day), and we had our daughter’s kindergarten friends over at our place for a playdate followed by an early dinner. I cooked this dish, Simmered Pumpkin & Chicken, hoping to fulfill the appetite of the kids who are all growing so fast day by day.

I love the combination of pumpkin and chicken in general – somehow the sweetness and soft texture of the pumpkin go so well with the juicy tasty chicken with meaty texture.  I used chicken thigh this time so that the kids can eat them more easily, but chicken drumsticks are also very compatible. I’d definitely recommend this, too.

Here is the recipe:

Simmered Pumpkin & Chicken

Ingredients (for 4 – 6 people):

– 1 pumpkin; seeded, cut into chunky blocks, ideally peel off all the sharp edges to make them smooth (apparently this will avoid pumpkin to be mushy)

– 400g chicken thigh (or drumsticks); cut into bite size blocks, a bit smaller than the pumpkins I would say

– about 300ml of dashi broth (or just enough to cover the top of the ingredients)

– 2 to 3 table spoons of sake (white wine if no sake)

– 1 to 2 table spoons of cooking oil

For seasoning (adjust depending on how much dashi broth you use):

– 3 to 4 table spoons of soy sauce

– 2 to 3 table spoons of sugar (I use beetroot sugar)

– 1 to 2 table spoons of mirin (depending on your liking)

Directions:

1. Heat a large cooking pot (such as Le Cruset), pour in oil, and throw in the chicken. Fry until golden in medium heat.

2. Pour in sake and fry until sake evaporates

3. Add pumpkin and pour in the broth, just enough to cover the ingredients. The top of the ingredients doesn’t need to be covered in the broth, can be peeking out. Do not soak them – if they are entirely covered in broth, it gets too watery.

4. Cover the ingredients with aluminum foil (make a circle shape to fit the surface of the pan). This will circulate the heat evenly and quickly.

5. Bring it to boil in medium heat and cook for 5 minutes or so

6. Turn down the heat (to low), cook further until the pumpkin is soft, for another 12 minutes or so (use a toothpick and see if it penetrates)

6. Add the soy sauce, then sugar. Cook for a few minutes.

7. Add mirin at the end to taste

2 Comments

  1. Mihaela

    Keiko,

    Thank you so much for the delicious dinner !
    Both my mom and I loved this dish.
    I can’t wait to cook it for our kids 😀

    1. You are very welcome! Let me know once you’ve tried, would love to hear how it goes.

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