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5 from 3 votes
Steamed Pumpkin with Beef Mince Sauce in a bowl.
Steamed Pumpkin with Beef Mince Sauce (Pumpkin Soboro-an)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins

With gravy mince poured over the steamed pumpkin, Steamed Pumpkin with Beef Mince Sauce is so filling that you could make it a main dish. Simmered Pumpkin is a popular Japanese side dish, and today's dish is also popular.

Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.

Recipe Type: Main, Side
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: beef mince, pumpkin, soboro, soboro-an, steamed pumpkin
Serves: 3 - 4 as a side
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
  • 500g/1.1lb pumpkin (note 1)
  • ½ tbsp oil
  • 150g/5.3oz beef mince/ground beef (note 2)
  • 100ml/3.4oz dashi stock
  • ½ tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tbsp cornflour/corn starch with 1 tbsp water
Garnish (optional)
  • Finely julienned ginger (note 3)
  1. Remove seeds from pumpkin using a spoon, including stringy tissue. Cut the pumpkin into about 3cm/1¼"x 4cm/1½” blocks (note 4).

  2. Place the pumpkin pieces on a steamer tray or a metal colander skin side down without overlapping. Then place it over the boiling water. Put a lid on and steam over high heat for 15-20 minutes until pumpkin is cooked through. (note 5)

  3. Transfer pumpkin pieces to serving bowls (I place them with skin side down but it doesn't have to be this way).

Making Soboro-an (Cook while pumpkin is being steamed)
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add beef mince to the pan and cook, breaking it up as you go.
  2. Once the beef has changed the colour from red to brown, add the remaining Soboro-an ingredients except cornflour/corn starch with water.

  3. Bring it to a boil and cook for 30 seconds or so. Then add the cornflour/corn starch with water.

  4. Cook until the liquid reduces and the mince sauce becomes the consistency of a gravy sauce.

  5. Pour the mince sauce over the pumpkin, place julienned ginger on top and serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

1. There are different varieties of Japanese pumpkins. In Australia, Kent pumpkin is often labelled as Japanese Pumpkin and that is what I used today. It is larger in size than the Japanese version and the skin colour is different, but it works well with this recipe. If you can find the Japanese version of Kabocha, it’s even better.

2. It is totally alright to use pork or chicken mince as a substitute for beef mince. You will get quite a different flavour of the sauce. You may also reduce the amount of ginger if not using beef mince.

3. Japanese citrus, yuzu, is often used as a garnish on top of the Soboro-an. But I cannot get fresh yuzu in Sydney so I substituted it with ginger since ginger flavour is added to the sauce. You could also use finely julienned lemon rind as an alternative.

4. See my post, Simmered Pumpkin (Kabocha No Nimono) to see how I cut the pumpkin.

5. The duration of steaming varies depending on the size of the pumpkin, variety of pumpkin and the strength of the heat. If a thin bamboo stick or a fork can get through the pumpkin easily, it is OK.

Instead of steaming the pumpkins on a stove, you could use a microwave to steam. Place pumpkin pieces in a microwave safe container, cover it with cling wrap and cook for 6 minutes or so at 600W. It is faster than steaming in a pot, but the pumpkin tends to cook inconsistently. To prevent this problem, you may want to turn the pumpkin pieces over half way.

6. Nutrition per serving assuming 4 servings.

serving: 246g calories: 182kcal fat: 9.9g (15%) saturated fat: 3.1g (16%) trans fat: 0.5g polyunsaturated fat: 0.6g monounsaturated fat: 4.7g cholesterol: 27mg (9%) sodium: 557mg (23%) potassium: 648mg (19%) carbohydrates: 13g (4%) dietary fibre: 0.7g (3%) sugar: 7.3g protein: 9.7g vitamin a: 213% vitamin c: 9% calcium: 2.9% iron: 10%