Kabocha Ankake Style
Since my partner and I became vegans a few years ago, we had been making mostly Western recipes, perhaps because there’s so many nice cookbooks and recipes available on the web. Lately, however we’ve been experimenting with veganizing our favorite Japanese and Chinese dishes. Hope you like this one…
Living in Japan, I am using the ingredients easiest to find here (hopefully not too difficult for you), and will recommend alternatives wherever possible. This recipe replaces typical Bonito fish flavored stock with Konbu kelp (whole or powdered)–or alternatively dried Shiitake mushrooms–and uses “Usukuchi” (lightly colored, but saltier than regular) soy sauce.
For the pumpkin:
1 Small Japanese Pumpkin
2 cups broth (Konbu kelp or Shiitake mushroom flavor)
6 tablespoons of sugar (flavorless sweeteners i.e. Agave, Lakonta, preferred over brown sugar)
3 tablespoons mild (usukuchi) soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Sake
For the Ankake sauce:
100g soy mince (if dried, first rehydrate according to instructions)
1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)-snow peas, if available
1 cup broth (Konbu or Shiitake)
1 tablespoon sugar (flavorless sweeteners i.e. Agave, Lakonta, preferred over brown sugar)
1 tablespoon mild (usukuchi) soy sauce
1 tablespoon potato starch or corn starch (dissolved in 1 tablespoon water)
Sansyou (ground Japanese pepper) to taste
Wash the pumpkin and cut into 8-10 wedges (depending on size)
Using a vegetable peeler or knife, partially remove a stripe of skin from each slice of pumpkin
Place pumpkin pieces in a vegetable steamer and cook until just tender (you should be able to pierce with a thin skewer–about 20 minutes)
Place steamed pumpkin pieces in the vegetable broth, add the sugar, cover lightly and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add mild soy sauce and sake and simmer just until flavor of broth is absorbed into pumpkin.
In a small saucepan, place Ankake sauce ingredients and heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the soy mince, peas, and simmer over low heat. Add the potato or corn starch and blend to thicken the sauce.
Serve in individual bowls, by placing pumpkin pieces, adding a little soup, then some Ankake sauce. Sprinkle the top with Japanese pepper, to taste.
Japanese chefs trim the corners of each piece of pumpkin in order that it does not break apart when picked up using chopsticks. Be careful not to overcook pumpkin, either.
I always clean and roast the pumpkin seeds to eat for a snack or use in other recipes. I re-use pumpkin skin in soups, too!