Small, sweet Kabocha and Hokkaido pumpkins are wonderful as the main ingredient in soups or simmered in wedges and served in a decorative dish. Kabocha have a beautifully patterned green skin and bright orange flesh that reflect late-fall colors.
Cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds and fibrous pulp. Cut it into quarters and then into wedges about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. With a sharp paring knife, remove most of the green peel, leaving a little rind in a camouflage-like patter of bits and stripes. The slight peel will keep the pumpkin from disintegrating as it simmers.
Combine the dashi, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the pumpkin, and heat to just below a simmer. Cook gently for about 15 minutes, until the pumpkin is almost soft.
Transfer the pumpkin and cooking liquid to a glass dish. Cover and refrigerate it for about 2 hours. Drain the pumpkin and allow it to return to room temperature before serving. For each serving, arrange 2 wedges on a small tray or dish, one skin side up, the other skin side down.
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