by Paul Manthe, Deli Team
The following recipes feature kabocha in the Asian cuisines that gave them form: Korean and Japanese.
I can't think of anything more emblematic of fall than squash.
I'm talking about the winter varieties: acorn, spaghetti, Hubbard, festival, and many others. These vegetables come into season around this time of year, grace many a Thanksgiving centerpiece, and feature prominently in seasonal cornucopias.
Not just for decoration, these beauties also make for fine eating—simply split, seed, and roast; then peel and mash, cook into soups, or bake into pies and scones.
Of all the winter squash, the one I most appreciate is the kabocha. With an exceptionally starchy texture, this squash incorporates smoothly into soups, dumplings, or stews. Or serve as an edible bowl for lighter soups when split and roasted. Its not especially sweet flavor makes it a more versatile partner in combination with other savory flavors. The following recipes feature kabocha in the Asian cuisines that gave them form: Korean and Japanese.
Hobakjun • Korean Squash Pancake
Kabocha squash pancakes with kimchi are a great side dish for your everyday meal.
1 pound kabocha squash, seeded and peeled
½ cup kimchi, drained and chopped
5 green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons rice flour
1 tablespoon salt
- Grate the squash into shreds, toss together with remaining ingredients until well incorporated.
- Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Add a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil.
- Take ¼ of the mixture and form it into a ball. Drop this into the center of the pan and flatten with a spatula to about ¼-inch thickness.
- Fry until crisp and brown around the edges, then turn and fry the other side until done. Repeat with remaining mixture.
- To serve, cut into bite sized pieces and serve with either Gochujang (Korean hot pepper sauce) or a dipping sauce of equal parts rice vinegar, tamari, and sesame oil.
Watch this video for a great demo on how to make these with zucchini.
Kabocha Nimono • Simmered Japanese Stew
Nimono is particularly well-suited to winter squash and hardy root vegetables, but the same technique can be used to simmer fish, tofu, meats, or other vegetables.
1½ pounds peeled and seeded kabocha squash
1½ cups dashi stock*
3 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sugar or barley malt
1 tablespoon tamari
- Cut kabocha into 2-inch chunks.
- Place the pieces in a steep-sided sauce pan.
- Add liquid ingredients and seasoning.
- Use a drop lid or plate to hold down squash and prevent it from floating to surface.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
- If needed, continue to simmer until squash is tender and liquid is reduced by a third.
- Remove from heat. Allow liquid to absorb into the squash.
- Serve warm in remaining cooking liquid.
*Dashi is as simple to make as a cup of tea. Three simple ingredients: water, kombu (available in the bulk aisle), and bonito flakes (in the world foods aisle). The bonito package even has a recipe on it. For a vegetarian version, many cooks substitute shiitake for bonito.