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BackstoryMy maternal aunt Ayee comes to visit every year in the summer. Aunt Ayee and my mom are both excellent cooks, and at times can be very competitive when it comes to showing off their cooking skills. For weeks before Aunt Ayee’s arrival, mom will lecture and tell me what to cook when her sister comes to visit. Mom and I usually cook elaborate meats and seafood dishes to please her (or rather to show-off), but one year I decided to try something different and experimented with this particular easy and simple recipe. To my (mostly my mom really) delight, my aunt absolutely loved it. I have since named this dish Aunt Ayee’s Lemon-Simmered Squash.
- ½ of a Kabocha Squash, peeled (the traditional Japanese way is to peel it in spots, so it looks speckled)
- 1/2 cup dashi(Japanese soup stock) or you can use chicken broth instead
- zest of 1lemon plus its juice — use your judgment if it’s a large lemon
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste (optional)
- Simmer dashi and the lemon juice over medium heat in a large saucepan.
- Add in the squash in one layer, and cover with a sheet of parchment.
- Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove lid and turn squash gently to cook on the other side.
- Replace parchment and cook another 3-4 minutes or just until cooked through.
- Sprinkle soy sauce, salt and pepper over, and serve, garnished with the lemon zest.