Learn how to cook this winter squash in a few simple steps
Winter squash is a good source of fiber and antioxidants.
Kabocha squash is an Asian variety of winter squash with a dark green skin and a round shape. Like other winter squash it is an excellent source of fiber and nutrients and can easily be roasted, baked, mashed, or puréed.
To cook kabocha squash, start by cutting it in half. Be sure to use a sharp knife and to stabilize the squash with a clean kitchen towel, if necessary; cutting round squash can be difficult. Once you’ve halved the kabocha squash, scoop out the seeds and fibers and discard them.
In the Oven
Place the cleaned halves cut-side up on a baking sheet or in a shallow baking dish. Brush the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour about ¼ of an inch of water in the bottom of the pan and roast the squash in a 350-degree oven until tender.
On the Stovetop
Kabocha squash can also be cooked in a pot of boiling water. After halving the squash, flip the halves over and place them on a cutting board, cut-side down. Cut the halves in half again and then peel the quartered squash with a sharp knife or durable vegetable peeler. Then, cut the squash into 1-inch cubes and boil in a pot of water (or steam in a steamer basket) until tender.
You can then season the kabocha squash and serve it whole, sliced, or mashed. You can also easily purée it as a base for soups or stews.
Click here for our best kabocha squash recipes.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.
Your Guide to Kabocha Squash, Including How to Prep and Cook It
Don't let butternut have all the fun! Try bright, beta-carotene-rich kabocha squash tonight.
If your usual squash of choice is butternut, consider this a PSA for its Japanese cousin, the kabocha. You can identify a kabocha squash by its shape, which is rounded and a little bit squat. Sometimes ridged, the kabocha&aposs skin, which is rough in texture, is usually deep green and either streaked or mottled lightly with white and light green. (Be sure to also keep an eye out for a jolt of color in the form of the vivid scarlet or orange varieties.) Although the squash&aposs skin seems hard, it is quite thin and delicious when roasted. The Japanese sometimes cut its peel into decorative patterns or peel it in strips before dicing the squash, allowing its orange flesh to contrast prettily with the brightness of the green skin.
Simply called pumpkin in Japan, where it is beloved and frequently used, kabocha squash is actually the generic name for a broad category which includes several specific varieties of pumpkin and squash, all of which are known as kabocha here in the U.S. These varieties were introduced relatively recently to the American market—probably in the 1970s𠅋y a California seed company, who began growing a variety called Home Delite, according to Elizabeth Schneider in her encyclopedic book Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables, a Commonsense Guide.
Bake the squash for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the squash is light golden brown.
Serve the squash as is, or add about 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg or ginger to the top of each chunk. Alternatively, sprinkle each chunk with about 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese.
Things You'll Need
Kabocha squash also can be baked whole. Pierce the squash several times with a fork or paring knife, and then place the pan in a roasting pan with about 1/2 inch of water. Place the pan on the center rack of your oven, and then bake the squash at 400 degrees F until the squash is fork-tender.
What does kabocha squash look like?
If the thin skin of the kabocha is green, its flesh is mostly orange-yellow in color.
This little green pumpkin has all the assets to become the star of the season in your kitchen.
It is a pumpkin with fir-green streaked skin and orange-yellow heart. It is often called “green pumpkin”.
The kabocha weighs up to 4kg and is considered small compared to large pumpkins that could reach up to the giant weight of 1000+ kilograms, though you won’t really find these in your supermarket.
There are three varieties : Asian-not very sweet, and rather fragile, cucurbita pepo pumpkin or field pumpkin-which looks like a zucchinwe- and the Western pumpkin type. It is the latter that we commonly find in majority on our kitchens.
Kabocha is a great “traveler”
Originally, the majority of Cucurbita family comes from Mesoamerica, from Mexico to Costa Rica. The kabocha that is used today has been developed in Japan.
It was imported by Portuguese sailors in 1541 from Cambodia, hence its name: “kanbojia”, transformed into”kabocha”. It is mostly grown in Japan, Korea, Thailand and lately in the United States.
It’s available almost all year round
The kabocha squash is harvested in summer and autumn. It then takes between one and three months to reach maturity. So, we can find it thru a great part of the year. Especially since it is easily preserved.
We wonder what’s not to like about the squash and we really love to prepare healthy recipes for our families with it.
So, what’s so special about the kabocha squash (and any other type of squash really).
It has a smooth taste
It is slightly sweet, more than a butternut squash. It’s one of the best squash in terms of taste and texture. It has notes of Chestnut and is often called “Chestnut squash” in Japan.
You can cook it in a thousand ways, literally
Kabocha can also be prepared as a potato or sweet potato alternative and is cooked in the same way: stewed, made in cream soup, mashed, roasted in the oven (about 25 minutes at 200°C), added in donuts, as a ravioli stuffing, enjoyed with French fries or tempura, etc…
You can also make coconut milk simmered squash version too (it’s heavenly smooth and delicious).
A great way to keep your overall health
The orange flesh of the squash cannot lie: kabocha is rich in betacarotene. But also in antioxidants and vitamins C and A. It also contains a lot of fiber and potassium.
There is also another simmered kabocha squash recipe which is very popular in Japan
Cooking Basics: How to Roast Kabocha Squash
Hi friends! When I started this blog I intended on doing a “cooking basics” series where I show you a more general cooking technique or tip. I have to remind myself that not everyone reading this blog is a food blogger or expert in the kitchen. So it’s time to get the series started!
Today I thought I’d chat about how to handle Kabocha squash (a Japanese pumpkin). If you are new to Kabocha it’s similar to pumpkin or acorn squash, but even better because it’s even sweeter and has the perfect fluffy interior.
You guys, there is just something about it. You’ve got to get your hand on one! I was lucky enough to receive one in my CSA box so this organic beauty just showed up at my door.
This anti-inflammatory food is bursting with nutrition. It’s full of beta carotene, iron, vitamins A, C, fiber and some B vitamins. And it’s got 40 calories per cup AND less than half the carbs of most other squash (about 7 grams per cup).
So this basic cooking technique can be applied to any large squash really. Here we go.
One of the trickiest parts about large squash is cutting them. Honestly I am in fear at times that I am going to take that large knife and jam it straight into my body because most squash is hard to cut! Like really hard! So if you’re having trouble cutting it, try one of the tips below. We all want to keep our fingers, right?
Options and tips for cutting the Kabocha squash:
- Bake the squash for about 10 minutes, then remove to cut and finish roasting
- Microwave squash partially, for
Once it’s all cut, toss it in some coconut oil. I love the flavor it brings to the squash and it can handle the high temperatures. Then season it with a little salt and Saigon Roasted Cinnamon (which is just more flavorful than regular cinnamon).
Did you know cinnamon is good for digestion? However on the negative side, the Saigon variety also has a compound in it called coumarin that can damage your liver if eaten in excess so no spoon-feeding yourself cups of cinnamon, ok?
Another great thing about kabocha is the skin is thin so when it’s actually edible when cooked! It’s full of fiber so you might want to start off with just a little so your tummy doesn’t throw a fit.
Just like any other squash you can add chopped kabocha to stews or puree into soups, baked goods or breakfast items like pancakes! I love it just like this though!
[Tweet “New to the Blog- Cooking Basics: Roasted Kabocha Squash with Cinnamon via @nutritiouseats”]
Roasted Kabocha Squash
Kabocha squashes look great as table decorations, but they are quite tasty, too.
If you have ever passed on one of these small, 2 to 3 pound Japanese squashes because you weren’t sure what to do with it, I’ve got a perfect five-ingredient recipe for you:
Kabocha + Maple Syrup + Rice Vinegar + Chinese five-spice powder + Toasted Hazelnuts.
…and it only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.
First, turn the oven on to 450 degrees F.
You need a sturdy knife to cut it in half.
I cut the top and bottom off first, so that the squash sits flat before I cut it in half.
Scrape out the seeds (you can clean and roast them if you like.)
Then cut the squash into wedges from top to bottom, about 1-1/2 inches thick.
Place them on a lined baking sheet.
Brush both sides with a little oil (vegetable or olive oil.)
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop into the preheated oven.
At 450 degrees, it will take about 15 to 18 minutes to roast until they are fork tender.
Meanwhile, make the spice glaze.
Start with 1/2 cup maple syrup and bring to a boil in a small pan over medium-high heat.
At first, small bubbles will form, but soon the bubbles will get larger, and the color of the bubbles will darken.
The bubbles will rise up, too, so don’t take your eye off the pan.
It will take about 7 to 10 minutes to reduce the 1/2 cup of syrup to 1/3 a cup.
Of course, that timing depends upon your pan size, too. It might take a few minutes more or a few minutes less. If you reduce it more, you won’t have enough to glaze the squash, and it will thicken too much.
(Caution, the syrup is extremely hot so do not let it touch your skin.)
Once the syrup has reduced, take it off the heat and stir in one tablespoon of rice vinegar and one teaspoon of Chinese Five-Spice powder.
The vinegar “brightens” the sweet syrup, and the Five-Spice adds warmth and flavor. You could also add a generous pinch of cayenne pepper if you’re so inclined.
Drizzle the syrup all over the roasted squash.
You can do it right on the roasting pan, or you can plate the squash and then drizzle it…. or both.
The last step is to sprinkle crushed, toasted hazelnuts (or pecans or walnuts) over the top and serve. Delicious.
Maple-Five Spice Glazed Kabocha Squash
1 kabocha squash (2 to 2-1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice
1/3 cup chopped toasted hazlenuts*
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Cut sliver off top and bottom of squash. Cut in half. Scoop out seeds and save to roast later or discard. Cut each squash half into wedges about 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide.
3. Place the squash wedges on a lined baking sheet. Brush with oil on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast for 15 to 18 minutes, until squash pierces easily with a fork.
5. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Bring the maple syrup to a boil over medium-high heat in a small sauce pan. Boil until the sauce reduces to 1/3 a cup, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
6. Stir in the rice wine vinegar and Chinese Five-Spice powder. Set aside to cool slightly while squash finishes roasting.
7. To serve, drizzle squash with the glaze and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.
*Tip: Place hazelnuts in a plastic ziploc and seal. Hit the nuts with the flat side of a meat tenderizer a few times to crush. It’s much easier than chasing little hazelnuts all over the cutting board with a knife.
Roasted Kabocha Squash
Roasted kabocha squash is a lightly sweet and savory side dish that&rsquos easy to prepare. Each slice bakes until tender and creamy, then glazed with a soy-ginger sauce. Pair this recipe with fresh seafood, hearty protein, or noodles for a vegetable boost.
Slice open a dark green kabocha squash, and you&rsquoll find a gorgeous bright orange flesh. This Japanese pumpkin yields a slightly nutty, buttery, and creamy texture when cooked. The skin also softens enough to eat it. Japanese restaurants often deep-fry it to make crispy vegetable tempura. However, simply roasted is just as tasty.
This bumpy skinned winter squash may seem intimidating to cook, but it&rsquos easy to prepare. Just cut thick slices and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, then roast until tender. You can either stop there or take the flavor up a notch with a generous brushing of umami-packed glaze. It&rsquos a delicious healthy side dish to enjoy with your favorite Asian-inspired meals.
Similar to other firm squash like butternut, you will need a very sharp knife and to be careful when cutting the squash.
First, cut the squash in half.
Then you get to choose if you want wedges or slices:
Wedges: Cut wedges up to 1 inch thick on the wide side.
Slices: Slice the squash halves in 1/2"-3/4" slices.
The Best Kabocha Squash Recipe || How to Prepare Kabocha (Elegede) Paste
Kabocha squash is a fruit that belongs to the group of plants known as Squash and it is a cultivar of the group, Cucurbita maxima. In the Western part of Nigeria, it is known as Elegede or Abeje while in the East, it is known as Anyu or Onugboro. In this post, you’ll be learning the best kabocha squash recipe.
Honestly, I am not certain that what we refer to as elegede or anyu in Nigeria is the kabocha squash. I was on this research for days and Kabocha is what I find closest to Elegede. However, the fact that Kabocha is elegede is contestable because some researchers reported that elegede belongs to the group: Cucurbita pepo while kabocha belongs to Cucurbita maxima.
From my own research and study of the various fruits in each cultivar (Cucurbita pepo and Cucurbita maxima), I could only find a fruit of close relation and characteristics with elegede in Cucurbita maxima and that is the kabocha squash.
So, what are these characteristics of Elegede and kabocha squash?
- The fruits have a hard exterior which is dark green in color with some white or yellow stripes and/ or dots that sometimes appear only faintly.
- They have a peculiar yellow to bright orange-colored flesh and somewhat white seeds.
Somehow, the word kabocha sounds like I’m speaking in tongues but I’m not. Kabocha is a name of Japanese origin and sometimes, it is otherwise called Japanese squash.
Kabocha squash and elegede are of high nutritional importance. They richly contain vitamins A and C. They are characterized as low-calorie foods and good sources of iron, copper, magnesium, B-vitamins, beta-carotene, dietary fiber, and various antioxidants.
The fruits are most notably known for their health benefits such as the ability to boost skin health, improve vision, strengthen the heart, aid in weight loss, and prevent certain cancers.
There is no one way of preparing or using these fruits in cuisines. They can be baked, made into porridge, used as a salad ingredient, or used to make a paste or sauce.
The paste which can be enjoyed with yam is what I’ll be describing in the recipe below. So, read through how to prepare the best squash recipe, print out or bookmark, and try in your kitchen.
Watch How to Prepare Kabocha/ Elegede Paste
How to Microwave Squash
Microwaving squash is nice because you can cook it whole, and then cut it up, remove the seeds, and all that, once the flesh is already tender. Poke winter squash all over with a fork. Microwave at full power for 5 minutes for smaller squash and 10 minutes for larger squash. At this point, a fork should easily pierce the peel and flesh. If it doesn't, microwave squash at 1-minute intervals until it is tender. Let the squash sit until cool enough to handle. Cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out and discard seeds, and season, scoop, or cut squash as desired.