sautéed kabocha squash

chinese food, side dish

My grandmother makes the most wonderful steamed buns and water dumplings, and an amazing wok-fried squash dish. She uses kabocha squash, a lovely japanese variety, with a vibrant golden flesh that in my opinion, is much sweeter and creamier than butternut, acorn, calabaza, or other varieties. Its texture is drier, much like a potato or sweet potato.

The beauty of this dish is the wonderful simplicity in its preparation. (The skin is left on to cook.) The integrity of the flavors of the kabocha are preserved and beautifully highlighted. My grams taught me step by step how to clean the kabocha and cook it. We had the sweet starchy dish, along with smoked tofu, and steamed buns for lunch one day.

Sautéed Kabocha Squash

one 2-lb kabocha squash, scrubbed clean
1/4 – 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 stalk scallion, white parts only, thinly sliced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp MSG**
oil, for frying

1. Scrub the squash clean under running water. Split open and clean out the seeds and fibers. Cut the squash into 1″ pieces and set aside.

2. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a wok over high heat. Add the squash and stirfry vigorously to coat all sides with oil to lightly sear. Add in the garlic, scallion, salt, pepper, MSG, and water or stock. Stir to combine.

3. Cover the wok with a tight lid, and let cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the squash is soft and creamy. Serve hot.

**MSG is commonly used in China. However, it’s completely optional.

3 thoughts on “sautéed kabocha squash”

  1. I looove kabocha squash. I actually make my pumpkin pie with it because it is so much creamier and sweeter than plain ol’ pumpkin.

  2. Thanks for the recipe! I just harvested a kabocha and am trying to figure out how to cook it. We’ll have to try this recipe tomorrow.

  3. That (pepper & MSG) doesn't sound too good. Much better: pumpkin soup made with kabocha & milk & pumpkin pie spices. See _The Art of American Indian Cooking_, by Yeffe Kimball & Jean Anderson

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