Tag Archives: Simmered

Simmered Acorn Squash Recipe | Daily Cooking Quest

Fall and winter is a great time for squash loving people. It is when the market is flooded with gorgeous winter squashes, from acorn squash, kabocha, butternut, and of course, pumpkins

If you are wondering what to do with all those pretty looking squashes, then I have a very easy recipe for you today, simmered acorn squash.

This is basically a nimono, a very traditional Japanese recipe, though it is more commonly made with kabocha. But kabocha can be more elusive in the United States compared to acorn squash, so I am using acorn squash instead.

Simmered Acorn Squash.

How to Cut and Prep an Acorn Squash

Acorn squash, like kabocha, can be very tough. You need to make sure your knife is very sharp, and be very careful when cutting one up.

To make it a bit easier and a bit safer, first, cut the squash in two and scoop up all the seeds and fibrous part.

Next, place the two halves on a microwave safe plate, and microwave the squash for 2-3 minutes just to softened it a bit, because it is that much easier to cut them into smaller chunks once they are slightly soft.

Also, there is no need to peel the skin. You can eat the skin if you want, but even if you don’t want to eat the skin, cooking them with skin on helps keep the squash as intact as possible after they are out from the cooking pot.

Simmered Acorn Squash.

Simmered Acorn Squash.

Otoshibuta (落し蓋) or Drop Lid

An essential tool to simmer this squash is an otoshibuta, or a drop lid. You can get the traditional wooden one, or a stainless steel one, or a more modern silicon version.

You can still cook this with your regular lid if that is all you have, but a humble looking drop lid ensures that the heat is evenly distributed and reduce the tendency of liquid to boil with large bubbles. This in turns, reduces the mechanical stress on the food and keeps fragile ingredients in their original shape.

So if you want your squash to be as intact as possible, use a drop lid. Or make one from an aluminum foil. Just cut them into a round shape, slightly smaller than your pot, and poke one or two holes at the center.

Simmered Acorn Squash.

Simmered Acorn Squash.

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Simmered Shiitake Mushrooms Recipe | Daily Cooking Quest

Ingredients for Japanese simmered shiitake mushrooms: shiitake mushrooms, dashi (Japanese stock), soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.

Japanese simmered shiitake mushrooms is a great dish to learn. These mushrooms are often used when making maki sushi (sushi rolls), or chirashi sushi (scattered sushi).

If you love cooking ramen or udon at home, these mushrooms make for a great topping for your noodles as well.

Remove the stems from shiitake mushrooms, then place them in a pot along with the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until sauce is almost gone.

Remove the stems from shiitake mushrooms, then place them in a pot along with the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until sauce is almost gone.

What goes into simmered shiitake mushrooms?

You will need shiitake mushrooms, dashi (Japanese stock), soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.

You can use fresh shiitake mushrooms or dried shiitake mushrooms. If you use dried ones, you will need to soak the mushrooms in cold water overnight to rehydrate and return them into a soft and spongy state. Either way, be sure to cut away the stems before cooking.

For dashi, I prefer using homemade dashi. But if you wish, you can use instant bonito granules too by mixing together 300 ml water with 1 teaspoon of instant dashi.

The cooked mushrooms should be really tender and juicy, with a glossy coating of the sauce.

The cooked mushrooms should be really tender and juicy, with a glossy coating of the sauce.

How to cook this mushroom dish?

First, use a sharp knife to cut away shiitake stems. If you use fresh shiitake mushrooms, you may want to use a damp cloth to gently clean the caps from dirt. It is best if you don’t wash fresh mushrooms under running water.

Next, combine dashi, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce in a spot. Add shiitake mushrooms, and bring to a boil. Simmer until sauce is almost gone. The mushrooms should have a glossy coating from the sauce.

Thinly slice the mushrooms. You can serve this as a side dish with steamed white rice, as a filling for maki sushi or chirashi sushi, and as topping for ramen/udon.

Thinly sliced simmered shiitake mushrooms. They are great in maki (sushi rolls), or as udon/ramen toppings.

Thinly sliced simmered shiitake mushrooms. They are great in maki (sushi rolls), or as udon/ramen toppings.

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