In which I bastardize a recipe and then complain about it

This recipe initially caught my eye because Japanese pumpkins, aka kabocha squash, are my current favorite kind of winter squash. They’re really dense and flavorful and rich tasting. I always have barley around and I’ve been wanting to experiment with cooking with miso.

Ways in which I deviated from the recipe:

  • I didn’t use the dashi or sake, subbing chicken broth and lemon juice respectively, because I didn’t want to buy groceries I wasn’t sure I’d use again. I like sake okay, but if I’m drinking at home, that’s not what I want.
  • I used firm tofu because I thought silken might dissolve into the broth in the leftovers.
  • I made the dish a week or so after The Blizzard That Ate New York, and the kabocha bin at the coop was empty, save for one with a rotten spot, so I made it with what I think was a buttercup squash.
  • I peeled the squash and cut it into chunks instead of enormous wedges. (do people really eat unpeeled winter squash? I’m genuinely curious.)

The mystery squash was a little stringy and the chicken broth reduced down to be a little salty for my taste, so the dish was not a wild success, but I have higher hopes for making it again and hewing a little more closely to the recipe, dashi powder and all. I will say that soaking the barley worked a treat; I’d never done that before, but definitely will adopt it for any non-soup barley applications in the future.


  1. says

    This looks like a macrobiotic recipe, and too often there’s a very delicate balance of ingredients that gets thrown off by even one substitution. I’ve yet to try kabocha, but I’m very keen to do so.

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