Wax gourd – 冬瓜

A few years ago (or in an other life… when I was managing time differently) I used to go to 茶懐石 chakaiseki cooking classes once a month. I learned a lot there, about classic Japanese cooking techniques, about Japanese sweets and about some ingredients I was never cooking. Wax gourd is one of them. It is a very delicious vegetable but when you don’t know what to do with it… you just don’t buy it… until this class of July where I was in charge of cooking some, to be served with somen (thin noodles eaten in the summer) and red snapper. And I lived that dish so much that I remember preparing it for friends coming over for dinner.

The season for wax gourd has come again and I bought some. I was fancying preparing the same recipe but the heat and our busy schedule changed the plans and I decided to invent a new recipe using the same base. No somen (too heavy for the very hot days) and instead of red snapper (no big one found) I decided to prepare Isumin pork meat balls. Still served with a great dashi. It was super delicious. Here is the detailed recipe.

Wax gourd and meat balls (for 2 people)

– 1/2 wax gourd or 冬瓜

– 100g of pork ground meat

– 40g of potato starch or katagiriko

– 1/2L of katsuobushi dashi

– 2tbs of soya sauce

– 2tbs of sake

– cooking oil

Cut and peel the wax gourd and cook in the dashi with the soya sauce and the sake until a toothpick enters smoothly.

Heat the oil in a frypan. In a bowl mix the meat and the potato starch. Form small balls and fry them until golden.

In bowls serve the wax gourd, the meat balls, then add some of the wax gourd cooking liquid. Top with a few sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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