Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Pumpkin Fried Rice

A couple of weeks ago we were in Seattle visiting Little G's Great Grammy. While there, I caught up with a couple of friends from the 'ole Bee and we had dinner at Ginza, a Japanese restaurant in Bellevue. The food was fantastic, but the best part of the evening was the pumpkin fried rice.

The server was kind enough to explain how they make it...first they steam a whole bunch of pumpkins whole. Then they make the fried rice with onions, egg, soy sauce, etc..and then they add in really finely chopped bacon (YUM!). Finally, they add in the steamed pumpkin and serve it in the scooped out shell.

It was sooooooo yummy I decided to try and make it at home myself.

First step: set up a distraction area for the munchkin so that he 'thinks' he is cooking just like mommy...

I didn't have a pumpkin, but I did have these gords that I got from our CSA, so I used those instead.
I decided that I prefer roasting my winter squashes instead of steaming them...the caramalized flavor you get out of them is FANTASTIC. The most annoying part was peeling them since they are so small and knubby. In the future, I might just cut them in half and roast them cut side down in a pan instead of cubing them up like I did...

After they were cubed, I drizzled them with olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted them for 35 minutes at 400 degrees...

While they were roasting, I made up some bacon...
...of course I TOTALLY forgot that at the moment I only have one baking sheet with sides on it which was in use for the squash...so I couldn't bake my bacon in the oven like I usually do. What's a girl to do? Fire up the ole' microwave!

I put the bacon slices on a paper towel on a plate and then covered them with another paper towel and cooked them on high until they were crisp...about 2 minutes.

After a quick mince, the bacon was ready to go:

Next, I chopped up an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic:

I sauteed them until they were softened...

...and added in a pile of left over rice from a few days prior.

And stirred it around with some soy sauce until it was heated through:

Then I made three 'nests' and added in an egg to each nest. I scrambled each egg in the nest and once they were cooked I mixed it all into the rice:

Finally the squash was done and it smelled heavenly!

I added in the squash and the bacon and mixed it all together:

Finally, I served it up with pan seared pork chops and sauteed green beans.

The rice was so yummy but no where near as awesome as what we got from Ginza. Perhaps it was the atmosphere or the fact that I didn't have to make it, but whereas I came away talking about the Pumkin Fried Rice from my experience at Ginza...I don't think anyone at my dinner table wrote home to their mothers about my recipe.

Oh well...at least it was super yummy :)

Next up in my foray into food blogging...turning a bunch of CSA greens into a yummy chicken dinner that even my toddler ate!


  1. I have been dreaming about that rice since you were here! hubs and i are going to try it soon, already bought the pumpkin.

  2. I think they forgot to mention that theirs has spices in it beyond onions and garlic-the cooked onions used are shallots and they toss green onions in toward the end (fresh chives would also work)...but the seasoning isn't solely soy. I'm working on getting the spices right but living IN seattle it's easy to get the kambocha squash(part of the bliss is not hollowing it out completely&letting the rice,shrimp added last but being REALLY central to its flavor,along with well-filtered fish(specifically anchovy) sauce... I know it's been a while. Just thought I'd give that basic tip...and winter gourds DO taste far different. Kambocha is also too different from what most pumpkins are-sugar pumpkins. There's an heirloom acorn squash that may be closer but roastingy make the chunks release/break down their sugars more so it'd need extra savory touches. WHAT soy you use matters too-I typically only use Kimlan's aged soy sauce as it takes very little and is SO rich-soy's equivalent to molasses-kikkoman isn't very recipe-friendly(just makes it salty,doesn't hold its flavor). Tamari is all some use to avoid gluten but that also loses the complexity. Concentrated flavors are a big part of actual Japanese cuisine, like how they only consume about 10g a day tops(wealthy the only who do at all)of soy but it's the stilton of tofu aged YEARS buried underground to ferment without the chemical disaster that Monsanto et al popularized here(while giving hundreds of MILLIONS to the American Heart Association to back their publications of falsified data they refuse to have peer-reviewed since that leads to places like France,Canada,Germany&even Mexico banning their junk. So much to learn so little time!

  3. It won't let me edit the other from my phone and I must've deleted a line accidentally... I was saying that letting the rice rest IN the squash allows the remaining half or so of its flesh (which I typically use for squashy savory pancakes of a sort the morning after :))soak up the aromatic spices of the rice AND vice-versa-its aroma REALLY adds to the rice-besides it's all too hot to fat immediately! Pretty sure they do lightly salt and season-a little chili pepper never hurt anyone save those poor folks allergic to it! Anyway kabocha is a strange pumpkin-squash middleman, sweeter than butternut less sweet than autumn pumpkins, more flavorful and less stringy than almost all squash(especially ornamental types), approaching a flavor between garnet yams, sweet potatoes and carrots from the beta carotene-the seeds are great as well whether just dried a day or so and eaten raw or dried and roasted very lightly (unlike most squash where seeds are fine with cooked squash but don't hold up as well on their own).

    I'd definitely steam it if you want the flavor anything near theirs-my understanding, having spent a large chunk of my life with a traditional Japanese guy and his family(especially having a lot of kabocha on the shortest day of light when this and yuzu are traditionally the key things served), is that even when you are going to saute or bake it steaming's always the start-well,after thoroughly cleaning the edible skin thoroughly! When steaming it whole is all the core cooking that is done it's about a 20min process, but when pieces are cut it's under full simmering steam 3-5mins and left covered to soak up more while the rest is prepared.After steaming, if any more cooking happens,the inside's often lightly rubbed with oil, too, depending on exact method-pretty sure Ginza does that to let the rice scoop out well. Still, it's a phenomenal food well worth getting at an Asian market or here it's even in our co-op the part of year(March for Seattle) where it's locally acquired!