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Step by Step Recipe - Braised Spicy Pumpkin (肉碎燜南瓜) | Yi Reservation

Braised Spicy Pumpkin (肉碎燜南瓜)

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I mentioned in the past that Chinese cuisine puts a big focus on the balance between protein and vegetables. In a given meal it is very common to see a good combination of protein dishes and veggie dishes or a one pot meal that contains a good split of protein or veggies.

I am not a vegetarian but I was raised eating meals with this kind of protein/veggie balance and when I prepare for a meal I always try to stick to this principle.

To me, nothing beats a stir-fried leafy vegetable with some minced garlic. It’s quick, easy, and delicious. Best of all, one can use the same method to cook a wide range of vegetables such as bok choy, Chinese broccoli, spinach, kale,  and many other leafy varieties you can think of.

Braised Spicy Pumpkin

I thought I could just rotate difference types of stir-fried veggies and I’ll never get tired of it until one day I just couldn’t do this more. So today I wanted to make something else, something that was out of my comfort zone.

When I was at an Asian supermarket searching for a vegetable to cook, these small-sized Japanese pumpkin or kabocha really struck me. Pumpkin didn’t usually end up being in my kitchen but I remembered liking this braised pumpkin dish a while ago so I eager to make that dish myself.

Braised Spicy Pumpkin

I had some leftover minced pork and dried shrimp from the dry fried string beans I cooked the day before so decided to make a braised pumpkin using all the leftover ingredients and with a touch of Sichuan.

If you are suspicious about how pumpkin’s sweetness can fit into this savory dish you ought to give it try. The flavor from the meat and shrimp is fully absorbed by the pumpkin and the combination is just delicious.

Although it was a rather spontaneous cooking I still managed to snap a few pictures while I was at the stove:

In a wok, brown the ginger and then cook the meat and shrimp.

Braised Spicy Pumpkin

 Add the pumpkin cubes and rest of the ingredients. Cook until tender.

Braised Spicy Pumpkin

Serve this dish hot with some steamed rice 🙂
What’s your favorite pumpkin dish?

Braised Spicy Pumpkin

Braised Spicy Pumpkin

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 4

For step-by-step illustrations, please visit the link listed on the bottom of this recipe.


  • 1 medium Japanese pumpkin, 2lb
  • 4 oz minced pork or beef
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked until soft
  • 1/2 tbsp spicy Sichuan bean paste
  • 2 slice ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1 cup stock/water
  • Chopped scallions


  1. Cut the pumpkin into 1.5x1.5 cubes with the skin attached.
  2. In a wok, heat up 2 tbsp of oil. Fry the ginger until brown. Add the minced the pork, dried shrimp, and the cooking wine. Cook until the pork turns color. Add cubes of pumpkin.
  3. Stir the pumpkin to mix with the meat and shrimp. Add stock/water, Sichuan bean paste, and soy sauce. Mix well.
  4. Bring to boil and simmer in low heat to your tenderness. Stir to mix periodically to make sure the pumpkin cubes are cooked evenly.
  5. I like my pumpkin soft but not completely mush so I normally simmer for about 6 minutes. If you like it really soft, cook it for about 10 – 12 minutes. Garnish with some freshly chopped scallions.

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  1. 15

    Hi Yi, I’d like to try this recipe but I have a very watery pumpkin, musquee de provence or Fairytale. How would you recommend cooking it for this recipe?

    • 15.1

      Hi Clara, thanks for checking out this recipe. Right off the bat, I’d reduce the amount of water used in the recipe to probably 1/2cups. If the dish still turns out watery, try to cook with the lid on so the extra moist can escape. Hope this helps.

  2. 14

    Hi Yi,

    Can I substitute wine with something else?

    • 14.1

      Hi there, unfortunately there isn’t a good substitute for cooking wine or dry white wine. If you don’t have it just skip it. Thanks.

  3. Pingback: Halloween, Chinese Style | Waygo Blog – Waygo Visual Translator – Chinese to English Translator

  4. 13

    Dear Yi,
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe. I have been looking for a way to use pumpkins and this is absolutely delicious!
    Many blessings,

  5. 12

    love the kabocha recipe. I have really gotten into cooking with kabocha because they grew in my garden this year. Your recipe is simple and very tasty, thanks for a new way to cook with kabocha.

  6. 11

    Just made this tonight and it was delish! Thanks!

  7. 10

    Ahh so happy to see Kabocha on your blog, Yi! And I like how you chop into square pieces. I tend to slice them but it’s actually a lot of work to slice into thin pieces… And while cooking some breaks because it gets too soft. What I was thinking – I should cut like yours! 😉 I have one recipe with kabocha and ground pork just like yours but Japanese flavor. I would be happy with the steam rice and this…and it is even better next day! =D

  8. 9

    O how yummy! Homey and satisfying…simply right up my alley!

  9. 8

    I love kabocha because of the sweet and buttery flavor. It compliments most meat ingredients especially pork. I will try your recipe as it looks really good. Thank you for sharing the recipe with us.

    ~ ray ~

  10. 7

    Just yesterday, I cooked a pumpkin (squash) dish at home with other vegetables and the pumpkin made the entire dish so naturally sweet. Your dish with pumpkin and meat is a perfect balance of sweet and savory notes as well. Love it.

  11. 6

    Wow, Yi, I never had this pumpkin with meat…looks delicious…I love the combination of the of ingredients…so flavorful!
    Thanks for this recipe and hope you are having a great week 🙂

  12. 5

    I liked reading about the chinese balanced approach to meal. I agree, people nowadays are either going low carb or low fat or vegetarian etc, but I think the healthy, traditional way our ancestors eat has always been a good combination of all, and meat is definitely secondary to the vegetable sides.

    I too love leafy greens, just simply stirfried, but I also LOVE pumpkin. my mum does sth very very similar, but using dried shrimps and garlic instead of mince. I posted about it way back in fall, need to do a search for the post, ok here it is:

    but overall, looks very similar so when I first saw the photo I immediately thought of that dish, and of home (:

    • 5.1

      Hi shuhan, thanks for stopping by and sharing your delicious kabocha dish. I totally agree with the Chinese apparoach on balance of meat and veggies. I think i’ll go crazy if I don’t eat veggies for two days 🙂

  13. 4

    Great recipe! I especially like the use of szechuan bean paste. Can’t wait to try it out.

  14. 3

    I LOVE kabocha pumpkins. I can eat a whole pumpkin simply steamed! But I make porridge with it all the time. I will have to try this dish before these pumpkins are completely out of season.

  15. 2

    Oh, the flavors in this dish are right up my alley! Great combination of ingredients. I don’t use pumpkins enough in my cooking (in pie, yes; as a savory, almost never), though I use sweet potatoes which are somewhat similar in their affinity for spicy. Anyway, this looks wonderful – thanks!

    • 2.1

      Thanks kitchenriffs for your comment. I discovered the pumpkin because I was tired of other veggies but now I am going to make it a regular dish!

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