November 9, 2007

Kabocha (Japanese Squash)

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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.

steamed kabocha chips: healthier than fries and yummier too!

Kabocha Cake

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


Mayumi Masaya said...

hi oggi! speaking of pinakbet, would you have a vegetarian recipe for it?

Oggi said...

Hi mayumi, what great timing! I am making pinakbet with bagnet tomorrow, I will include a vegetarian version. Check my post Monday or Tuesday.:)

Sidney said...

Very inventive!
Looks yummy again... but then everything looks yummy in your blog.

Chibog in Chief said...

just like you i am not such a fan of squash; but when i lived in japan and discovered kabocha i started to appreciate them and love them..dont know why i guess maybe its the subtility of japanese recipes....your photos looks so yummy :-)

Oggi said...

Thanks, Sidney. And welcome back!:)

dhanggit, thanks. Kabocha squash is a great find, they're sweeter and tastier than ordinary pumpkins.
I too love the simplicity of Japanese cuisine.:)

Anonymous said...

I am hooked on Kabocha since last year. I also love the Red Kuri squash. I eat it as a main meal and my cool attic is stocked for the winter. The cakes sound delicious--I must try.Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Oggi said...

Hi Abby. I read that kabocha can be stored outside the fridge for 1 month without getting spoiled.
The steamed cake is very good and only has a T of sugar.

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