Kabocha, also referred to as Japanese pumpkin or kabocha squash, is a seasonal vegetable that peaks in the fall through winter. It is revered for its nutrient-rich flesh and mildly sweet flavor.
In Japanese cuisine, kabocha is a very traditional ingredient that often appears in everyday family meals and is used in a variety of dishes. The most basic of kabocha recipes is simmered kabocha, which is seasoned with basic ingredients such as soy sauce and mirin.
Yet another popular Japanese dish is kabocha korokke (or croquettes). Other popular ways in which kabocha is incorporated into Japanese cuisine is tempura. You'll often find a slice of pumpkin tempura amongst the assorted tempura selection at Japanese restaurants. Kabocha may also be used as a substitute for potato in several dishes, and can also be incorporated into dishes such as pasta, stews, curry rice, and simmered dishes.
Microwave the kabocha squash to soften its exterior skin, which is very tough. This will make it easier to slice.
- 1 pound kabocha pumpkin
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder (Note: 2 cups chicken broth can be substituted for the bouillon powder and water)
- 2 cups water
- 1 2/3 cups milk
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Fresh chopped Parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Wash the exterior of the kabocha squash. Cut in half and remove seeds and inner strands of the squash.
- Place kabocha on a microwave-safe plate and heat in microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave. This helps to soften the kabocha just a bit.
- Cut the kabocha into thin slices and remove exterior skin. Set slices aside.
- In a medium pot, melt butter and saute onion slices until translucent and softened.
- Add kabocha and saute together with onions until the kabocha is cooked.
- Pour water and add chicken bouillon powder in the pot. (Note, chicken broth may be substituted for the bouillon and water.) Simmer on low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until kabocha is softened.
- Either use an immersion hand blender to blend the vegetables with the broth, or allow the mixture to cool slightly and then pour it into a traditional blender to puree, then add it back to the pot.
- On medium-high heat, add milk to the kabocha mixture and bring to a boil, constantly stirring the soup. Turn off the heat, and season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately. Garnish with additional freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley.