The Cambodian Squash
Pumpkin’s Japanese Cousin
Kabocha is not the easiest vegetable to cut open the first time, but once cut, it cooks quickly and makes an excellent side dish in a Japanese meal. Chicken or pork are sometimes added to make a main dish.
10 ounces Kabocha square, cut in chunks about an inch square
1¼ cups Dashi stock or Water
3 tablespoons Sugar
A pinch of Salt
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
Tablespoon Japanese Sake, optional
After cutting open the Kabocha squash, remove seeds and cut into cubes about an inch square.
Combine the Dash i Stock or Water, Sugar and Salt in a saucepan. Add the Kabocha and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat under tender when pierced with a skewer, about 13 minutes. Add the Soy Sauce and Sake if used and serve at room temperature. This quantity will serve about 4 people as a side dish, depending on what else is served.
The etymology of the word Kabocha suggests it was thought to be a squash of Cambodian origin. Indeed Kabocha appears to have arrived in Japan from Southeast Asia during the 17th century or earlier.
While similar to Pumpkin, Kabocha is firmer and some say better-tasting. The two vegetables can be cooked in similar ways.