Happy Donabe Life

Japanese-style Simmered Kabocha

Kabocha no nimono

This is a classic Japanese home-style dish, and we love the full flavor of nutty kabocha with light seasoning of soy sauce, etc. This dish is almost ridiculously easy to make. Once you arrange the cut kabocha pieces with seasonings in a donabe, you heat it and let the donabe do the work for you. You don’t even need to stir the contents. With Miso-shiru Nabe, the delicate kabocha can cook so tender without falling apart.

Vegan option

This is a vegan dish.


Miso-shiru Nabe (large)


4 - 6 as an appetizer


  • 1/2 medium-large kabocha squash (about 1 1/2 lbs or 750 g)
  • 2 tablespoons raw brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 ml) mirin
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 ml) white tamari (can substitute with usukuchi shoyu/ light-color soy sauce)
  • about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) or more kombu and shiitake mushroom dashi or water


  1. Scoop out seeds and membrane from the kabocha and cut into large cubes (about 1 1/2″-square or 4 cm x 4 cm). Trim (bevel) the skin-side edges of the skin.
  2. In Miso-shiru Nabe, place the cut kabocha with the skin side down. Try to fit as many pieces in one layer as possible, and the remaining pieces (choose smaller ones) can be laid on top of the bottom layer. Add the sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and dashi so that the liquid can cover about 2/3 of the kabocha. Add more dashi if necessary.
  3. Place a otoshibuta (drop-lid) or a piece of foil on the surface of the kabocha, and cover with lid. Set over medium-high heat.
  4. As soon as the broth starts to boil, turn down the heat to simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the kabocha is tender and the broth is reduced to very low.
  5. Turn off the heat and let it rest (with the lid on) for at least 5 – 10 minutes or longer. Serve warm or at a room temperature.

Delicious kabocha is ready.


  • By cooking the kabocha with the skin side down, it will help keeping each piece in shape without collapsing as the kabocha cooks longer.
  • The kabocha will taste even better (with all the flavors integrated) after 1-3 hour resting.

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