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Let's cook braised pumpkin!

Stewed dishes are one of the representative foods of Japan. Let’s cook braised pumpkin.
Ingredients (2 servings)
・pumpkin 1/4 (about 430g which include seeds, about 380g after removed seeds)
・water 400ml
・HON・DASHI (NSG, monosodium glutamate, bonito fish soup stock, Japanese soup stock) (about one teaspoon or less, 2.7g)
・Katsuobushi (small pieces of sliced dried bonito), if you need.
・Soy sauce 15ml
・Sugar 15ml
・Mirin (Japanse sweet sake) 15ml if you need.

1. Remove pumpkin seeds and pulp with a spoon.
2. Get rid of a part of rind of pumpkin to help absorb seasonings.
3. Cut into 4-5cm pieces.
4. Plane off the corners to avoid falling to pieces. (If it takes much time for you, you don’t have to.)
5. After rinse off, put them into pot, and pour water.
6. Add adequate HON・DASHI to water. I usually put also small amount of Katsuobushi(about2g) so I decrease HON・DASHI. (If you use enough Katsuobushi, you don’t need HON・DASHI. If you don’t use Katsuobushi, you ne…

Kotatsu-Japanese traditional heating system

I love Kotatsu. Kotatsu is a kind of Japanese traditional heater.
During warm season, we use it as a usual low table (the height is as same as or a little higher than a coffee table.)
Kotatsu seems a usual table but it has some unique features. Kitatsu is divided into two parts. One is table top (the shape is square or rectangle), and the other is base frame.
An electric heater is attached to the underside of the Kotatsu base frame, so we turn it on  during winter.
 A thick quilt (=futon) is draped over the frame so the heat is trapped. We place the table top on it.

We sometimes sit around Kotatsu and eat meals while watching TV. We also enjoy eating Japanese oranges which are put on Kotatsu table or snacks while talking each other.
Cats like Kotatsu very much. They try to go inside Kotatsu.

We even take a nap when we warm ourselves in a Kotatsu. It is very comfortable but you had better not sleep in a Kotatsu. You may catch a cold.
Kotatsu keeps warm our feet and knees but it doesn’t heat a whole room. Nowadays we also use kerosene fan heater or air conditioner along with Kotatsu.

The user of Kotatsu is decreasing because there’s less opportunity to sit directly on the tatami or carpeted floor.

Nowadays combination of tables, chairs and air conditioner is increasing in Japanese house.

Kotatsu variation:
・Kotatsu for personal use
There are also very small square types of Kotatsu for individual use.
・Taller Kotatsu
Nowadays there are taller Kotatsu with long legs and matching chairs that can be used as a dining table. As Japanese lifestyles are westernized now.

I have already introduced some types of Kotatsu(=Yagura Kotasu). But there’s other type of traditional Kotatsu. It is called Hori Gotatsu.

・Hori Gotatsu

It has a recessed floor so we can sit with our legs positioned as if we are sitting on a chair. Heating device is placed on the lower part of floor. 

Base frame is set on the edge of ressesed floor. Other part of Hori Gotatsu (futon, table top) is as same as Yagura Kotatsu. 

Construction work by a carpenter is necessary and we can’t move Hori Gotatsu to the other room, so few people use it.

This photo is not Hori Gotatsu accurately, but I think you can image a large square opening in the floor.
If you come to Japan, you should experience Kotatsu!

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