The Portuguese had vast worldwide connections opened trade with Japan. Among the many they introduced to Japan was this squash. The Japanese asked the Portuguese the name of this vegetable, and the Portuguese answered Kampuchea (Cambodia) where it was from. The Japanese heard “kabocha,” and so this mis-named vegetable found its way into the language and cuisine of Japan.
This recipe makes a variation of Ms. Shimbo’s basic tare (page 77). “Teri” is the work for glossy, “yaki” is the word for grilling. The food, usually chicken, is basted with the sauce, then cooked so the sauce dries, or caramelizes, then basted again, and so on so when it’s finished, the meat is glazed and shiny. The basic sauce is simply mirin, sake, shoyu, and sugar. It’s cooked over low heat so it thickens and develops a caramelized flavor. For this recipe, I added some cloves and orange juice and further cooked the sauce.