This makes a nice starter course, but it can become a full meal if you decide to make a large batch of the dumplings. Depending on the size of your steamer, you may need to make the dumplings in two batches, but that is OK, because you can cover and set the cooked ones aside without harming the texture. Just reheat in a microwave for about 1 minute.
And don’t forget to have the duck stock ready. This duck stock recipe was tested with a breed of duck known as Ancona, named after a port town on the Adriatic Coast of Italy. Duck seems to complement the sweetness of the ‘Yokohama’ squash. It should be boiling while you are making the dumplings; or microwave it if you made it ahead and want to reheat it right before serving.
• 1 pound pared, seeded squash
• 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium
• Soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
• 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
• 6 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
• 1 whole egg, well-beaten
• 4 tablespoons rice flour (or use cornstarch)
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
• 3 quarts duck stock
• Chopped spring onions
For Duck Stock:
• 1 duck carcass
• Half an onion several pieces of daikon (white Japanese radish) or any large, white radish, cut into irregular pieces a small piece of pared ginger root a few leaves of komatsuna (a mild mustard green) or collards
• 2 or 3 pieces of kombu (sea kelp; optional; see note below)
• 4 to 6 duck feet (optional)
• 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) low sodium soy sauce, or to taste
• 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) Chinese cooking wine (optional)
Steam the squash in a vegetable steamer for 20 minutes, or until soft. Remove and purée. Add the soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, bread crumbs and beaten egg. Thicken the batter with the rice flour and add the sesame seeds. Set aside to recover for about 25 minutes so that the batter stiffens slightly.
Grease the bottom of the vegetable steamer with sesame oil and add heaping tablespoon scoops of the batter spaced evenly about a half inch apart. Cover and steam 20 minutes, or until tested with a toothpick and the centers are dry. To serve, put three dumplings in a small bowl and add hot duck stock to cover. Garnish with chopped spring onions.
For the duck stock, break up the carcass into pieces and add them, together with the onion, ginger, daikon, collards, kelp and duck feet to 4 quarts (4 liters) of boiling water. Simmer gently for about 1 hour or until reduced by a quarter. Strain, season with the soy sauce and cooking wine, and reserve until needed.
Read more: Learn about the rare heirloom vegetable that inspired this recipe in Yokohama Squash.