Make Hannah’s Chinese braised winter squash, then check out her Chinese fish-fragrant aubergines, Chinese dry-pot cauliflower and more Chinese recipes.

This recipe comes from The Vegan Chinese Kitchen by Hannah Che (£25, Random House Inc).

Chef Hannah Che writes: “Similar to red-braising, when you cover and slowly cook an ingredient in a flavourful liquid, smother-braising is simpler and shorter. It often relies on more delicate, lighter-coloured condiments instead of dark soy sauce, allowing the colour of the vegetable to shine through. In this dish, the squash’s natural sweetness is complemented by the salty, savoury fermented black beans, and the squash is cooked until it’s buttery and tender and on the verge of falling apart. My favourite is kabocha squash (also known as Japanese squash), which has a velvety, starchy softness and flavour reminiscent of roasted chestnut, but any firm-fleshed winter squash, such as butternut or hubbard, will work.”


  • 450g winter squash
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 dried red chillies, snipped into ½-inch pieces, seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp fermented black beans, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 240ml unsalted stock (any kind) or water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ground white pepper
  • 1 spring onion, green part only, thinly sliced, to garnish


  • STEP 1

    Peel and core the squash and cut it into 3.5-4cm wedges, then cut the wedges into pieces 1cm thick.

  • STEP 2

    Heat a wok over a high heat and add the oil, swirling to coat the sides. Stir-fry the chillies for 10 seconds until they begin to darken. Add the beans and garlic, and let them sizzle for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the squash pieces and stir them around the wok to pick up all the fragrant oil, then pour in the stock or water and bring to a boil. Season with the sugar and salt, then cover, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook for 4-5 mins or until the squash has absorbed most of the liquid and is tender enough to pierce with a chopstick.

  • STEP 3

    Uncover and taste for sugar and salt; adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil and a dash of white pepper. Scatter the sliced spring onion on top and serve.


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