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K is for Kabocha

Did you ever play the Name Game?

The one where you have to say, “My name is _____ and I like ______ (filling in the blank with something that starts with the same letter as your name)? Growing up, I got stuck playing that game a lot.  It seemed like every time I was with a new group of people (summer camp, a new school class, etc.) the teacher or group leader would have us play the dreaded Name Game.  Why was it so “dreaded”?  Simple: nothing starts with K, except kittens, kit kats, and kites.

Or so I thought. Turns out there are quite a few wonderful entities that start with K!  Maybe it’s a good thing that I didn’t know about them when I was a child.  Can you imagine what my peers would’ve thought of me if I’d said, “My name’s Katie and I like Kale”?

A few weeks ago, I was shopping with Whole Foods Boy.

(Have you met him yet? I’ve finally revealed his identity.) As I gathered my beloved butternut squash in my arms, WF Boy threw something else into my cart as well.

Me: “What on earth is that big ugly green thing, and why is it in my cart?”

WF Boy: “You HAVE to try this.”

And so Kabocha came into my life, giving me another favorite thing that starts with K.  The only entity unhappy about this new union is Mr. CCK’s Wallet, as those heavyset kabochas can be expensive!  (Hint: I’ve since discovered that kabochas at Asian markets are about 1/2 the price of the ones at WF!) So what exactly does one do with these green monstrosities?

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First of all, it’ll help if you can find a burly guy to cut the squash for you (I’ve already introduced you to my personal Squash-Cutter in this post:  Little Miss Butternut).

Just like anything else, I’m sure there are many different ways to cook a kabocha squash.  What follows is my method, which I devised using that ingenious strategy known as “trial and error”.

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Katie Cooks Kabocha

(Ooh look, another tongue twister!)

  1. Cut your kabocha squash in half (See “burly guy” note, above)
  2. Place the squash (so the seeded part is up or sideways, not facedown) on a piece of tin foil and put in a not-preheated oven at 405 for 40-50 minutes.
  3. When the time is up, wrap the squash lightly in a paper towel or two and microwave for 3-5 minutes.  (I once tried skipping the oven step and just microwaving the squash longer, but the finished product was more “steamed” and less “roasted” than I liked).
  4. Scoop out the squash out of the shell, discarding the seeds.  I like to store it in the fridge and eat it cold.
  5. The squash should have a thick, luxuious texture that sends your tongue into ecstasy.  If, however, you accidentally cooked it too long—making it dry and crumbly—all is not lost.  Simply add a little water and mash the squash up until it’s moist again.

What to do with Kabocha:

Hands-down, my favorite way to eat kabocha squash is absolutely plain-jane.

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But you can also make mousse, or stir it into oatmeal. And kabocha is a terrific substitute for Fiesta Sweet Potato Burritos  (or the Deconstructed version).

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I also love to eat kabocha in the following recipe (I use the term “recipe” loosely, because it’s so easy to make!)

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Kabocha-Broccoli Bowl

(serves 1 broccoli LOVER)

  • 230 grams raw broccoli
  • 140 grams cooked kabocha
  • vegan butter (such as Earth Balance or Smart Balance Light)
  • Salt, to taste

Put your broccoli in a lidded, microwave-safe dish and cover halfway with water.  Steam for about 9-11 minutes (I like my broccoli to be very soft). Melt the butter, then pour it over the broccoli and stir to mix.  Also add your salt at this time.  (I add a bit over 1/4 tsp. I also like to add a little onion powder.) Throw this mixture over your kabocha.  I usually leave the broccoli on top and eat it first, but you can definitely opt to mix the two components together.

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(This also works with other veggies subbed for the broccoli—I’ve used an asparagus-mushroom mixture before—but broccoli is my favorite.  After all, I am Broccoli Girl!!)

z 298

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So… does anyone want to play the Name Game?  I’ll go first!  My name is Katie, and I like Kabocha, Kiwi, Kohlrabi, Kale, Kombucha, and Kamut Flakes (just to name a few).

Now, let me go thank my mom for not naming me Xavier!

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Published on May 11, 2009

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45 Comments

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  1. Meg says

    Hey Katie 🙂 Thanks so much for your email, I really appreciate it. My Momma and I are having a girls day today, and Whole Foods is on our list, so I’m definitely gonna be looking out for that monster-of-a-squash 😉

    I hope you have a lovely day!

    Love,
    Meg

  2. Mihl says

    I don’t think I’ve seen this squash here in Germany. But I think we are catching up when it comes to squash/pumpkin. So maybe there is hope!

  3. Kiersten says

    You know what sucks even more than the “I like ____” game? The one where you have to pick an adjective that begins with the first letter of your name. My name begins with a K too and the only 2 that I can ever think of are “kind” (which is boring) and “kinky” (which you probably shouldn’t tell people). Haha.

    I never tried kabocha squash, but I love all the other squashes. I’ll have to keep an eye out for this one!

  4. plentifulplants says

    My name is ruth and I like raspberries, raisins and rosemary.

    Haven’t tried rutabaga yet though…

    Rum and rye bread are pretty good….

    Not a huge fan of roe, radishes, or radicchio….

    And I think that’s it.

    Plus I <3 all winter squashes!

  5. ttfn300 says

    ooh, good thing s is for strawberries, spinach, squash… we’ll forget that it also stands for squid and snails.

    need to try this variety of Squash!

  6. coco says

    Love kabocha!
    I forgot to mention that I tried a new food: avocado (yes, it’s hard to believe that I’m new to avocado). 🙂

  7. Jane says

    my name is Jane and I like jelly, juice (fresh please)….wow j is hard! i better try jicama or else i have nothing else to add to the list!

  8. Sweet and Fit says

    hahaha, I remember that game! Nothing starts with “J” either though!

    Kabocha looks really interesting – i have gotta pick that up the next time I am at my asian grocery store, reminds me of spaghetti squash somewhat. hope you have a great monday!

  9. Christina says

    Kabocha looks good – Is it a winter squash like butternut? I feel like I should’ve noticed it at the store!

    My name makes the name game too easy! Cherries, carrots, crumb cake (double c!), cucumbers, corn, … the list goes on.

  10. DJ says

    MY name is Daria and I like dragon fruit, dill pickles, dates, dumplings and donuts. Other than that, I’m stumped! That Kabocha looks great, especially mashed as is… mmmm!

  11. *Andrea* says

    awww the WF boy is amazing – he introduced you to a new vegetable!! my name is Andrea and I like Apples, Almonds, Alfalfa sprouts, Avocado, asparagus, apricots, artichokes 😀

  12. Emily says

    my name is Emily and i like eggplant, english muffins, endive, edamame, enoki, elbow mac and un-cheese…

    kabocha has been on my to-try list for too long! maybe i’ll stop in the asian market.

  13. kombuchadove says

    My name is Lucy and I like lemons, lilacs (flowers, not edible!) and lavender! 🙂 I thought this post was going to be about my favorite drink, but a squash! :-0

  14. Ricki says

    I adore kabochas! I was in raptures the first time I tasted it–so sweet and creamy! I love the idea of the pudding, too. 🙂

  15. Elizabeth Jarrard says

    hahaha that’s adorable!!!!
    i loved kabuocha in curries in thailand. got a little giggle everytime i ordered it though, because it is called “fuk” there.
    🙂
    had fiddleheads for the first time this weekend! this is the best game ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Brittany says

    I love to eat kabocha plain too–I just steam chunks of it eat it like so. It’s marvelous simmered in soy sauce and mirin!

  17. Meghan Telpner says

    Great suggestions! I always see the big green ‘pumpkin’ but never can think what to do with it and so I always resort to the other squashes I know and love. I now have some great ideas. Thanks!

  18. Erin says

    Ooh good thing you have a hunka burning love to slice up that bad boy (girl?) for ya!
    My name is Erin, and I like Eating, Ears of corn (oy), and…Everything Katie makes! (Honestly, that’s a hard letter!)

  19. luckytastebuds says

    This is the PERFECT post for me! I just bought a kabocha and i have NO IDEA what to do with it. Now i have lots of recipes to experiment with!!! woohoo!!! I’m so glad i follow your blog Katie!!! 😀

  20. Diann says

    Yep, I get my kobocha from the asian market too. I’ve only had it a couple of times, but it sure is good. And really great with broccoli!

  21. Bianca- Vegan Crunk says

    Whole Foods boy is cute! I missed that post, but just went back and found him behind door #4.

    On kobucha, it’s true that the Asian market ones are way cheaper. That’s where I get mine! I like it roasted with a little olive oil and salt.

  22. ohonemorething says

    My name is Katharina and I like… Kale, Kohlrabi (my mom makes this awesome recipe), aaaaand KOOKIES! Okay so that last one doesn’t really start with a K.

  23. Teresa says

    My name is Teresa and I like, tomatoes, turnips, tropical fruit, tomatillos, teff, and turtles too (just not to eat of course)! For once I wish my name started with a P (peppers, pomegranates, potatoes, purslane, persimmons, pumpkins, peaches, pecans, parsley, pineapple, pears, pine nuts, parsnips…)

    I am so glad that you have WF boy, even if it is only for being introduced to Kabocha squash. MMMM, I sure do love that stuff. Although I’ve never tried it as mousse before! You are just so creative. As for now I agree that the best was is ‘plain jane.’

  24. Marianne says

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kabocha squash in any market here. Although, I must say, I haven’t frequented the asian markets for produce in ages, so perhaps one will find it’s way into my basket one day.

  25. jrsimon56 says

    Wow! I ordered from my fave veg restaurant for lunch the other day and it had kabocha in it! They called it pumpkin, but I know better 😉

  26. jrsimon56 says

    It isn’t necessarily my favorite restaurant ever, but is the best for a cheap delivery lunch for when nothing looks good in the cafeteria and I want to splurge…It’ Zenith Restaurant (http://www.zenithvegetariancuisine.com/) and I’m never disappointed. The Moo Shu Fantasia is my fave and the Burrito lunch special comes in #2.

  27. Anne K. says

    Hi Katie! Thanks so much for this kabocha tutorial. I had a kabocha on my counter that I got a few weeks ago, but no idea how to cook it! I followed your instructions and make it today in my post here: http://harpingonfitness.blogspot.com/2009/06/bring-it-on.html

    It was soo good! And thanks for the tip about overcooking it. I think I overcooked it a bit, but I added some water and then it was fabulous 😀 Mmm I have a feeling I’m gonna get addicted to this stuff! Like I need another source of beta-carotene–ha! With pumpkin, carrots, and b-nut squash, I’m already trying not to turn orange! This might be hard 😉

  28. Kelsey says

    I’ve always had the same problem! But I like my K, and I wouldn’t trade it for any other letter. 🙂

    Anyway, at the bottom of your post you mentioned kohlrabi, so I had to comment. 😀 We participate in an organic veggie co-op, and the other day we got a whole bunch of kohlrabi. I’ve never even heard of the stuff, let alone know what to do with it. I had to Google search a description of it to even come up with the name! lol. So, this is my question to you. What on earth do you do with kohlrabi?! haha.

  29. Tanya says

    Yay, just found this! I bought a Kabocha at my local Asian market just because I’ve seen so many people talk about it and I finally had some at a restaurant in Atlanta. Had no idea what to do with it. No paper towels here for the microwave. What if I just bake it longer in the oven? Does it take way too long?

  30. trajayjay says

    Hmmmm.
    Turnips, Tangerines, Tallow ,Tacos ,Tortellini, Tortillas, Tandoori chicken, Tea, Tomatoes, Tuna, Thyme, Tofu, all of which begin with T but none I am particularly fond of.

  31. Claire Elizabeth says

    Katie! You were the very first person to introduce me to this wonderful winter squash. Yesterday I picked up two cute lil kabochas at whole foods and reminded me to look on your site for how to cook and prepare it. You should revisit your kabocha love and maybe make a whole recipe round-up for this great squashy! Love ya, Katie! God bless! 😀

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