Recipe: Japanese tzimmes

By Hana Birks, September 16, 2011

I serve this rather than carrot tsimmes - the golden sweetness of the pumpkin or squash ushers in a shana tova u'metuka and the classic Japanese flavourings bring a piece of my family history to the Yomtov table. Kabocha pumpkins can be tricky to source but butternut squash makes an admirable substitute.

Serves: 4-6 as a side dish.


● 500g peeled kabocha pumpkin or butternut squash (fresh or frozen)
● 150ml water (125 ml if using frozen)
● 2-3 level tbsp of sugar
● 1 tbsp soy sauce (Kikkoman or Clearspring which are made with Japanese tastes in mind)
● ½ teaspoon salt
● A few chiso (Japanese basil) leaves or finely chopped spring onion to garnish
● Optional 4 tablespoons of peas


● Chop the pumpkin or squash into 2½/3cm chunks (5cm chunks if using Kabocha)and place into a saucepan with the water, sugar, soy sauce and salt.
● Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to a medium flame and simmer until tender. Frozen squash will cook more quickly. If there is still liquid in the pan, carefully remove the squash with a slotted spoon and rapid boil the remaining liquid to reduce until syrupy and pour over the cooked squash
● Meanwhile, if you are using the peas, cook them in boiling water until just tender
● Once the liquid has reduced to a tiny puddle at the bottom of the pan, remove from the heat, add the peas (if using) and garnish with the chiso or spring onion.

Last updated: 9:46am, September 16 2011