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Recipe : Simmered pumpkin with red beans

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This Japanese vegan side dish is called “kabocha no Itoko-ni” (かぼちゃのいとこ煮) in Japanese.

“Itoko-ni” is a sweet and salty simmered root vegetable and azuki beans that are eaten as local dishes in the Hokuriku region including Toyama prefecture, Nara prefecture, and Yamaguchi prefecture.

It started with a collection of boiled ingredients offered to God, and was originally eaten during Obon, New Year, and festivals. It is still enjoyed by ordinary households, and it is often eaten with cousins ​​during local celebrations.

One of the characteristics is that the ingredients and seasonings to be stewed differ depending on the region, and the generally known style is Nara Prefecture, where pumpkin and azuki beans are cooked sweetly, but it is not boiled but soup, azuki beans and radishes. In some areas, it refers to the miso soup. This kind of regional difference is also an interesting part of “Itoko-ni”.
It is generally known that the ingredients are put in a pot in order from the one that is hard to boil and then easy to boil, and this process means “Oi-oi” (oi means cousin) “. In addition, the theory came from “simmering multiple vegetables”, which is called “Mei-mei” (mei means niece). There is also anothe theory that they are regarded as “cousin” because they are of different types but have close relationships.
Would you like to know the easiest way to enjoy this dish?
Make a simmered pumpkin and put Anko (sweetened red bean paste) at the very end. Stir lightly and it’s done!
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