All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Arugula to kabocha no gomasoosu-gake / arugula and kabocha pumpkin with sesame sauce

When you want something lighter than gomaae, this is a good option. The sesame-like nutty taste of arugula is a natural with sesame sauce. You just need to counter it with naturally sweet, in-season kabocha pumpkin. Lots of fresh green arugula also helps to lighten up the pumpkin, which could taste a bit heavy because of its starchiness.


1/6-1/4 kabocha pumpkin (utsugi kuri kabocha in photo)
Handful of arugula

For sesame sauce
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp sake
1/2 tbsp mirin
1 tsp soy sauce


Put sake and mirin in a small bowl, and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute to get rid of alcohol.

While still hot (easier to blend), add tahini, and mix well.
Add soy sauce, and mix well. Set aside.

The sauce consistency should be similar to that of loose ketchup, and the color of café au lait or slightly darker. 


Cut arugula into 3-4 cm.
Seed, skin and dice kabocha pumpkin into 2-3 cm cubes.


Microwave kabocha in plastic wrap for 2-3 minutes until soft.


Put arugula on a plate.
Place kabocha, and pour sesame sauce. 

  • Kabocha pumpkin and sesame sauce can be either hot or at room temperature. If hot, they would cook arugula slightly as they are placed on top.
  • Serving this as a cold dish is not recommended, especially with cold sesame sauce. Both the sweetness of kabocha and aroma and richness of sesame sauce come alive when warmer, so try this at room temperature or higher.
  • The sauce is basically a loose gomaae dressing with tahini.

(Last updated: June 3, 2016)

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