Monday, November 14, 2011

Kabocha Squash

This dark green winter squash is also know as Japanese Pumpkin. My introduction to it was through a macrobiotic cooking class. It's a staple of the Japanese diet, and I was enthralled with the nutty flavor at first bite. This preparation uses just a few ingredients, which is the essence of macrobiotic cooking and the way I like to eat food.

I also use kabocha in miso and other winter soups. Its texture is firmer than butternut squash and the skin is edible, too.  Personally, I think the skin tastes best when you roast the squash in the oven with a little olive oil, a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, brown rice or maple syrup, and salt and pepper. This mashed version is a great side dish for Thanksgiving and can be prepared ahead of time.

Japanese-style Kabocha Squash
1 medium sized Kabocha squash, washed, peeled and seeds removed
(select a squash with dark green skin as the flesh will be sweeter)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small sweet white onion, sliced into crescents
1 cup of water
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil (I like Eden brand)
Salt and pepper

After you've peeled and deseeded the squash, cut in into 1 inch chunks.

Add the olive and sesame oils to the pan and saute the onions until golden brown. Add the squash and the water. The water should come about 1/2 way up the side of your pan.

Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and allow to simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the squash is very tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. (If the liquid cooks out too quickly during the cooking process add a bit more water).  Add salt and pepper, to taste.

I like mine with some texture so I use a hand masher, but you can use a electric mixer to obtain a creamier texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the squash to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. It gets sweeter if it sits for a while. This simple recipe brings out the sweet, nutty flavor of this delicious winter squash.

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