The weather is getting cooler and the leaves are starting to fall. Fall has arrived and that means pumpkin and squash season upon us! Fall is my favorite season and I especially love all kinds of seasonal ingredients only available this time of the year in Japan. Kabocha squash, Matsutake mushrooms, chestnuts, Sanma (pacific saury), just to mention a few.
What’s Kabocha Squash?
Kabocha Squash is an Asian variety of winter squash. Japanese simply call it Kabocha (南瓜、かぼちゃ、カボチャ) and the word kabocha refers to all kinds of pumpkins in Japan. In Australia and New Zealand, kabocha is commonly called Japanese pumpkin and here in North America we refer to it as Kabocha Squash.
Kabocha has a dull-finished deep green skin (it’s edible!) and really bright yellow-orange color flesh on the inside. It has a naturally sweet flavor, even sweeter than butternut squash, and it’s often used for desserts and baked goods in Japan.
Be forewarned, even though it doesn’t look it, kabocha is really hard. If you are going to cut it for the first time, please be careful with the knife. Keep your fingers away from knife’s sharp edge.
Kabocha Squash’s has great health benefits!
Kabocha doesn’t just look pretty and tastes good, it is also an excellent source of beta carotene which can be converted to vitamin A in the human body. Vitamin A is important for healthy white blood cells and good immunity. Kabocha is also a good source of iron, vitamin C and some B vitamins and it has lots of fiber!
Over the past few years, I’ve seen kabocha squash available not just in Asian grocery stores, but they are also available at my local grocery stores during this season. If you love butternut squash and other vegetables similar to pumpkins, definitely try and make this easy soup recipe or other kabocha recipes.
For this recipe, I removed the peel to get the nice intense yellow-orange color for the soup, but you could include the (totally-edible) skin as well so you don’t waste the food AND extra nutrition!
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- ½ large onion
- 1.4 Lb. (640 g) kabocha squash
- 1 Tbsp. (20 g) unsalted butter (if you use regular butter, reduce the amount of salt)
- 2 cups (500 ml) chicken broth
- 1½ cups (350 ml) milk (any kind)
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream*
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Parsley for garnish
- Thinly slice the onion.
- Using a spoon, discard the seeds from the kabocha squash and cut into thin 6 wedges.
- Remove the skin and cut into small equal size cubes.
- Heat the butter over medium heat in a pot and cook the onion until soft and brown.
- Add the kabocha squash and sauté to coat with butter.
- Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes.
- Using a skewer, insert into kabocha and check if it’s fully cooked.
- Puree the soup in batches in blender or puree with an immersion blender** until smooth.
- Add the milk and heavy cream and stir till combined and do not let the soup boil.
- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir over moderately low heat until it is hot.
- Ladle the squash soup into bowls, garnish with the chopped parsley and serve.
** I have been using my mother-in-law's 20-year-old immersion blender, but finally upgraded to a new one!
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.