Nishime style cooking is basically slow cooked vegetables in a very small amount of water. As the vegetables start cooking they release their own juices and when done they are tender and sweet. This dish can be made with a variety of vegetables. I tend to make it with root vegetables, but it can be used with a variety of different vegetables. Just use a shorter cooking time if using lighter summer vegetables like summer squash. The trick is to cut faster cooking vegetables in larger pieces than the ones that are more dense and need a longer cooking time. Because they are cooked all together, this will ensure that all the vegetables are done at the same time.

Nishime Squash, Carrot and Onion Recipe

  • 2 inch piece of kombu, soaked for 10 minutes
  • 1 medium onion, cut into thick wedges
  • 3 cups winter squash, cut into 2″ wedges, leave skin on or remove according to preference
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 tsp unpasteurized shoyu

1.  Slice kombu into 3-4 pieces and lay in bottom of a medium size stainless steel or cast iron pot.

2.  Layer the vegetables in the order listed in the recipe, taking care to fit them in snugly.

3.  Add about 3 Tbsp water down the side of the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. You may need to check the water level halfway through cooking just to make sure there is still liquid in the bottom. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the carrots are almost tender.

4. Sprinkle shoyu on top. Replace lid and shake pot a few times. Continue to simmer for 7 more minutes. Remove from heat.


Other great combinations: onion, squash, rutabaga, parsnip, carrot; onion, fried tofu, daikon radish, carrot, cabbage; onion, sweet potato, fennel, turnip, cabbage

If using cabbage I will sometimes add it on the top about halfway through the cooking time so it doesn’t get overcooked.

It works really well if you can use the right amount of vegetables to completely fill the pot you are using.