Kabocha

  • Kabocha is a type of winter squash, Learn more about the health benefits, preparation, storage, and delicious recipes to cook with this sweetest squash.

    Kabocha | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    What is Kabocha?

    Kabocha (かぼちゃ, 南瓜) is a type of winter squash, a Japanese variety of the species Cucurbita maxima. It is also called kabocha squash or Japanese pumpkin in North America. It is a staple of Japanese cuisine, especially during the wintertime where there is a tradition of eating kabocha to stay strong and bring in good luck on the winter solstice.

    Recognized for its outstanding sweetness, kabocha has a rich texture and flavor that is almost similar to a sweet potato and a pumpkin combined. Some even describe the flavor as close to roasted chestnut. The green outer skin may be tough, but you’d surprised that it is edible and tender after cooking. We treasure the squash so much that it is used in Japanese cooking where it is simmered in dashi or soups, stewed, stir-fried, deep-fried into tempura, or desserts. You can also simply roast it in the oven and enjoy with simple seasonings.

    Health Benefits

    Kabocha Squash is much loved by the Japanese, not just its flavor, but also its numerous health benefits. It is one of those vegetables Japanese moms tell their kids to eat it all up. Here are just some of the health benefits it has to offer:

    1. An excellent source of beta-carotene, which is great for immunity, healthy skin, hair, and eyes.
    2. Rich in iron, Vitamin C, and some B vitamins.
    3.  Another winning quality of kabocha squash is it has just a fraction of calories compared to other squash varieties.  High in dietary fiber, kabocha squash is an ideal food to keep you feeling full.

    Kabocha | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    How to Buy and Store Kabocha

    • Look for the one that feels heavy and has hard, knobby dark green skin.
    • The squash should feel firm and the stem should be intact and fresh looking. Avoid the ones with any indentations.
    • You can store the whole uncut kabocha in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 1-2 months.

    How to Cut a Kabocha

    A complete guide on how to cut, peel, and cook a kabocha with helpful tutorial video and step by step pictures.

    Kabocha squash is notorious for its really tough skin. You’d need a large sharp knife and some arm strength to cut the squash. To show you how to cut a kabocha squash without a sweat, I’ve shared some important tips with a step-by-step video tutorial in this post.

    What is a Good Substitute?

    Kabocha squash is now widely available at many grocery stores. Look for it at your local Japanese or Asian grocery stores, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or some other local grocers. The best ones you can find are the organically grown types at farmer’s markets. If you really couldn’t find kabocha squash in your area, you can use a mix of sweet potato and butternut squash for certain recipes. But if you have a garden, why not try growing kabocha squash in your own backyard.

    Delicious Kabocha Recipes

    Kabocha squash is just as versatile as squash or pumpkin. Here are just some of the best ways to enjoy this delicious squash:

    Kabocha Miso Soup served in a black bowl.

    Kabocha Miso Soup

    Simmered Kabocha Squash in a Japanese square bowl.

    Simmered Kabocha

    Kabocha Gration (Baked Macaroni with Kabocha) served in gratin dishes.

    Kabocha Gratin

    Silky soft and creamy Instant Pot Kabocha Flan on a white plate.

    Instant Pot Kabocha Flan

    White plate containing a slice of Kabocha Pie topped with freshly whipped cream.

    Kabocha Squash Pie

    Mug cups containing kabocha soup served on a wooden tray.

    Kabocha Squash Soup

    Kabocha salad in a white Japanese ceramic bowl.

    Kabocha Salad

    A dark ceramics containing Oyaki, Japanese dumplings with kaboch and miso eggplant fillings.

    Kabocha Oyaki

    Simmered Kabocha | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Simmered Kabocha with Shio Koji

    Kabocha Pork Stir Fry | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Kabocha Pork Stir Fry

    A white plate containing ball shaped panko-crusted Japanese pumpkin croquettes and a silver fork with black handle.

    Kabocha Croquettes

    Related Posts

  • Just One Cookbook Essential Japanese Recipes

    Love Our Recipes?

    Gyoza served on a plate.
    Just One Cookbook logo
    Just One Cookbook logo

    free email series

    5 Secrets to Japanese Cooking

    Making flavorful Japanese food is

    EASIER than you think.

    Close