Food & Drinks

Cooking with Kabocha Squash, the Japanese Pumpkin

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Cooking with Kabocha Squash, the Japanese Pumpkin

Tired of wrestling stubborn squash and fallen out of love with post-Halloween pumpkin? Then it's time to upgrade your orange gourds and try cooking with the luxurious sweet velvety flesh of the kabocha squash instead.

Otherwise known as Japanese pumpkins, kabocha are the dinky green skinned squashes that can actually be eaten whole, skin and all, and are commonly used in Japanese cookery.

Naturally sweeter than butternut squash, the bright yellow flesh is also denser than traditional pumpkins – think of a lovechild somewhere between a sweet potato and a pumpkin. They are also perfect for single serves or dinner for two, being that bit smaller than other winter squash so you won't end up 'over stocked' on a good thing.

And it doesn't stop there, not only do they taste good, but they're also good for you – the nutritional bonus being that they are packed chokka with beta carotene, iron, vitamins.

How to Cook Kabocha

Kabocha are very versatile in the kitchen, suited to both sweet or savoury cooking and sufficiently dense and flavourful to hold their own in stews with soy sauce, sugar, and dashi, when thinly sliced and deep fried in tempura, as well as blended into rich and velvety pumpkin soups.

Fill your boots with your new found orange gourd essential, experiment with roasting, blending, stewing and deep frying, although, as with most things in life, enjoy in moderation. Lucky Peach has a great recipe for slow candied kabocha with ricotta and pistachios written by a die hard fan who admits to once turning a strange shade of kabocha orange from over indulgence.

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