I learned about kabocha squash for the first time at the farmers market in San Mateo where I picked up one and a recipe from a local vendor. I fell in love with the slightly sweet and subtly flavored yellow squash. I now make a number of dishes with it and even substitute it for butternut squash in a few dishes.
The kabocha squash is thought to have originated in Japan when the Portuguese traders, yes those guys again, gave the squash to the ruler of Oita Prefecture in Kyushu. The trade route passed through Cambodia, so kabocha was first called “Cambodia abóbora”, Portuguese for “pumpkin.” The words were combined to create the unique name “kabocha.”
This soup is simple to make but the results are delicious. The soup has the delicate aroma of turmeric and the roasted seeds add a nutty flavor to the soup. I ran out of pumpkin seeds so substituted some toasted sunflower seeds instead.
If you cannot find kabocha aquash, although it is available almost everywhere in the US no, you can substitute butternut squash, or sweet potatoes.
I have been working with kabocha squash for a few years now. It is a very hard squash and I have learned a few tricks. I always have trouble cutting it in half so always ask the grocer in the store to cut it for me. In addition, the squash has a very thin skin, so I find it easier to peel it with a good potato peeler or with my knife before I roast it. The skin is thin and edible, depending on the recipe I sometimes leave it on.
This is another amazing recipe from this cookbook. I have been cooking through this book and I am amazed how delicious each recipe turns out. This book is amongst my favorites in my collection.
For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
One 3-pound kabocha squash, roughly chopped and peeled
1-2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Small handful chopped chives
3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Cut the kabocha in half and scoop out and discard the seeds and the stringy
flesh inside. Wrap the cleaned squash in aluminum foil, add a touch of butter or olive oil and place in the oven. Roast until softened, about an hour. Set the squash aside.
Meanwhile, place the olive oil in a large, heavy pot set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring now and then, until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and coconut milk, bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, lower the heat and simmer while you prepare the squash.
Use half of the roasted squash and add the flesh to the soup. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree. Season to taste with salt.
Cut the remaining half of roasted squash into wedges and place them in the soup.
Serve the soup hot, garnishing each serving with toasted pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of chives.