At the Korean grocery, a bin of dark green, tough skinned squash labeled kabocha caught my eye and I remember seeing this squash in one of my Japanese cookbooks. They are smallish, ranging from 1 to 3 pounds. I am not particularly fond of squash or pumpkins, except for the annual pie for Thanksgiving and pumpkin butter. When I make pinakbet I put maybe just half a cup of diced squash. I can't say why it's not one of my favorite vegetables, maybe it reminds me of the mashed squash that my children ate when they were babies.
Because I am curious about this vegetable, I bought the tiniest one. My cookbook describes the vegetable as similar in smell and flavor, although not as sweet, as chestnuts. I got so excited with the mention of chestnuts, heheh (it really smells and tastes like chestnuts when cooked). The cookbook has 3 entries: steamed sweet cake served with sliced pears or persimmons, simply steamed with sea salt, and savory with chicken sauce. I prepared the simplest which is salt-steamed and sprinkled with more sea salt before serving. I am loving this vegetable! I made the steamed cake and I have fuyu persimmons that have been ripening on the counter for the past 3 days. They aren't fully ripe yet but already so sweet and pair perfectly with the steamed cake. My cake does not look pretty but it tastes absolutely divine! I must get more kabochas for our Thanksgiving pie and to make sweet filling for siopao buns.
1 12-oz kabocha squash
2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ tablespoons water
2 egg yolks, beaten
sliced persimmon or pear, optional
- In a medium pot, heat ½ inch of water, put whole unpeeled kabocha, and steam for 3 minutes.
- Remove the kabocha and cut in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into chunks.
- Steam in a covered steamer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the skin and mash the flesh in a food processor. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients except fruits. Mix well.
- Roll out a sushi mat, line with a piece of slightly wet muslin. Spread the kabocha mixture evenly. Hold the nearest end and lightly roll up the mat to the other end. Fold both ends of muslin to close.
- Steam for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let set for 5 minutes. Open the sushi mat and cut cake into 1 inch thick slices. Serve with the sliced fruit.
steamed kabocha cake with sliced fuyu persimmon