Cook time: about 20 minutes Serves: 4
This recipe is adapted from "Kitchen Memories: A Legacy of Family Recipes From Around the World," by Anne Snape Parsons and Alexandra Greeley (Capital Books, $24).
1 3-pound kabocha squash
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces ground chicken
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
2½ cups plus 1½ tablespoons water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
2½ tablespoons tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon potato starch or tapioca starch
Use a long, heavy knife to cut the squash into quarters. Discard the seeds and strings inside; peel each quarter and cut the flesh into ½-inch cubes. There should be about 4½ cups.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the chicken and ginger and cook for about two minutes, stirring to break up clumps, until no pink remains in the chicken. Add the squash and cook for two to three minutes, stirring once or twice, until it is well coated. Add 2½ cups of water and cook for five to six minutes; the squash should be submerged. Combine the sugar and mirin in a measuring cup, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and add to the pan. Cook for two minutes, then add the tamari or soy sauce and cook for eight to 10 minutes, until the liquid in the pan or skillet has reduced by half. The squash should be firm but tender and easily pierced with a fork.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1½ tablespoons water with the potato starch or tapioca starch in a measuring cup and add to the pan.
Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly; the sauce will thicken almost immediately and will take on a smooth sheen when it's done. Divide among individual bowls and serve hot.
Per serving: 264 calories; 13 grams protein; 36 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams fat (2 saturated); 45 milligrams cholesterol; 688 milligrams sodium (434 milligrams if using low-sodium soy sauce); 7 grams fiber