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Kobocha squash and its texture

I bought a kobocha squash this weekend. I know it's not really winter or squash season anymore, but I felt like having some and they seemed pretty good from the Asian market that I purchased from.

I peeled, cubed and oven roasted the squash until they are soft and carmalized. I thought I either make them into soup or some sort of vegetable lasgna.

But when I tasted the squash, instead of being squash-like, they were very starchy and potato-like. I have never bought kobocha squash before, so I'm not sure if that's how they are suppose to be. I mash them up and found it to be extremely dry and overall grainy.

So I thought maybe I can doctor it up, so I added cream, stock, butter, curry powder and some sugar. You know what I have afterwards? A big pile of starchy grainy squash puree.

I'd feel wasteful to throw them away, but I don't think I can eat this big pile of starchy baby food. So what can I do? Then again, should I "throw good money after bad" by adding more ingridents to it?

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  1. Mmmm, Kabocha is my favorite. I like it more than any other squash (it's really a pumpkin, hence the texture) and eat it throughout the winter. I like doing what you did ( the baby food quality doesn't bother me...hey, don't mashed potatoes have a similar texture?!) but I like it even more cubed and in a soup with chicken broth, coconut milk, a little green curry paste, diced onions, shredded fresh basil and sometimes enoki mushrooms. Yum.

    9 Replies
    1. re: isadorasmama

      ooo your soup sounds great! I just bought one of these squashes.... how much coconut milk do you put in?

      1. re: isadorasmama

        Are you going to blend it smooth or keep it chunky?
        I know I usually use a whole can of full fat coconut milk, but it depends on the size of the Kabocha.

        1. re: isadorasmama

          It is about 10 " x 6 inches. so like a couple cups of broth and one can of coconut milk? thank you for resopnding! :o)

          1. re: loveshoez

            once roasted kobocha makes a wonderful substitute in sweet potato or pumpkin pie recipes.

            1. re: HillJ

              OOOooo, thank you ! I appreciate the help you two! I live in Little Tokyo so this is the squash they sell the most here! I found all these awesome squash recipes but none were for kobocha. i wanna try this one: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipe...
              I mistakenly thought Kobocha was an acorn squash!

                1. re: HillJ

                  Thanks HillJ! I am so trying that one too! One more question, can you roast the seeds like you can in a pumpkin? Jennifer

                  1. re: loveshoez

                    You know I never have roasted the seeds. Wanna take one for the team and report back ? They are toast-able. http://www.spacelingcafe.com/archives...

      2. Kabocha is pretty firm and not like a zucchini or yellow squash. I would think cream, butter, and curry would make a nice pureed dish. If you don't like it at that point, I doubt there's anything you could add that would transform the dish into something you do like.

        We used to cut it up into chunks, steam it, and then add a sugar/mirin/soy sauce glaze to it. I like it simple, with some butter and salt.

        3 Replies
        1. re: leanneabe

          What is a out-of-season-old kobocha like? I just don't think the texture of my kobocha is correct. It's so dried up after it came out of the oven.

          1. re: OnceUponABite

            I'm not sure an out-of-season kabocha is any different than height-of-season one, considering most markets import veggies from all over. It could be that it was over-cooked? Kabocha is an odd thing - it's not moist and sweet like a squash, but it's not really mashable like pumpkin or potato. I think you either slice it or cube it. I would try steaming it the next time and see if you like it then. Cooked in a coconut/curry soup base sounds pretty tasty to me, too.

            1. re: OnceUponABite

              Yours may be older than most, but fresh kabocha does have a much grainier texture than, say, butternut which tends toward the silkier side. That's why where I would use butternut in a puree, I like kabocha in a blended soup. I'd suggest taking your puree and blending the hell out of it with some broth for soup. After that, you might try straining if the texture still bothers you.

          2. Buy a large squash at the peak of season. Cut it in half. Remove seeds, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast until soft. Scrape out insides and mix with mascarpone and white truffle oil. Beat into smooth paste. I use this to fill ravioli or angianotti that I serve with parmesan cream and drizzle with balsamic reduction, but it makes a great topping for shepard's pie instead of mashed spuds. A great squash!

            1 Reply
            1. I bought one and it's kind of chalky if you ask me

              1. "they were very starchy and potato-like"

                That's how I would describe it too although I've never oven roasted as you did. Sorry I don't have any fixes for you. I'm only familiar with kobocha in Filipino dishes such as Pinakbet or Diningding; soupy, stewy dishes.

                1. you can use it like potatoes, and it is a bit like sweet potato (by the way, another name of it is Japanese pumpkin). You can chop it further and make a beef hash. The suggestion of putting it into curry is great too.

                  Next time if you buy another one, it is probably better to steam it until it is soft and finish it by baking or roasting so that it won't dry up. You can actually steam it whole or half, then finishing it by:
                  - Steam as whole until it is fork tender soft, cut open the top nicely, and pour some curry beef into it. Not only does it serves as a container which always impresses your guess, they can scoop out the squash meat with the curry and potato which go really well together.

                  - steam it in half, then stuff if with ground beef (sorry, this squash really goes very well with beef), and cheese, and bake until golden brown. Sort of a stuff-potato dish

                  1. One of my favorite squashes. They are a dry pumpkin, and the simple baked approach you used does yield a "chalkier" texture (there are nicer words to use), but I like it and the depth of flavor, sweetness and nuttiness is great. Our differing reactions may, at least in part, due to our expectations.

                    My favorite way is simply to split, scoop the seeds, season (S&P, EVOO), and bake cut sides down (better carmelization) until very tender and sweet. It's hard to overcook; often I wait unitl it's just short of burning. I add lots of butter and eat right out of the shell.

                    I've often baked them while baking other savory dishes and scooped then froze or refrigerated them. Reheat or use in another recipe (such as pie).

                    Airwreck's approach sounds tasty. I have topped with small diced (1/4 or less) carmelized onions -- that's been great but it's more work...

                    On the sweet side -- such as for pie, or just as a side dish -- sweeten with maple syrup and add a little nutmeg.

                    IMO, don't add more stuff -- chuck it and try again. You may simply not like the texture.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Richard 16

                      I also love kabocha squash. I mainly cook it ala Jamie Oliver (with my own additions) - sliced into big wedges and slathered with a mixture of olive oil, coarsely ground pepper, crumbled bay leaves, some thyme and sometimes coriander and cumin, along with some garlic and salt.

                      Roasted in a hot oven until tender and browned in places. A truly deelish dish.

                    2. While I sometimes roast it (thin slices roasted with other vegetables are best), I usually cut it into large chunks, and steam them. Then I finish the steamed pieces in a variety of ways:

                      - they are good as is, without extra seasoning
                      - yesterday I diced the steamed pieces, tossed them with some ham and marsala, and combined that with pasta and manchego cheese (very good)
                      - pureed in pumpkin bread
                      - pureed with some added ginger and sugar

                      I believe thin pieces are cooked as tempura.