I discovered kabocha squash about a decade ago at the then small Upcountry Farmer’s Market in Kulamalu. Since then it has nourished my family in soups, stews, stir fry, and salads.
Kabocha squash, also known as the Japanese pumpkin, is a sweet and velvety winter squash packed full of nutrition. An excellent source of the anti-oxidant beta-carotene, it’s great for boosting immunity and healthy skin, hair and eyes. It is rich in iron, Vitamin C and some B vitamins, all great things to help with a healthy pregnancy and the skin is an excellent source of fiber. Another winning quality of kabocha squash is it has just a fraction of calories compared to other squash varieties.
It can be baked, sauted, roasted, grated and pureed and can naturally sweeten a dish. Below is a recipe from Abby Langer, a registered dietician and a fabulous source for healthy, yummy recipes which we shared on our Hawaii Blue Zone Project Hawaii website:
Kabocha Squash Curry with Chickpeas
1 large kabocha squash, 2 cups
2 19 oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and dried
1 1⁄4 cups chopped onion
1 400 ml can coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass
1⁄4 cup red curry paste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1⁄2 cups cilantro, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 scallions diced (optional)
Lime juice to taste
Hot pepper to taste
• Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds.
• Roast squash in the oven until soft, around 50-60 minutes. Halve and scoop out seeds. Scoop the cooked flesh of the squash out into a high-speed blender.
• Add coconut milk and blend, increasing speed gradually until the mixture is silky smooth.
• In a large heavy pan on medium-high heat, brown the chopped onion in the oil.
• Add the chickpeas and red curry paste and cook, stirring to coat the chickpeas, for about 4-5 minutes.
• Add the squash-coconut mixture to the pan, along with the broth, lemongrass, cilantro, basil, and salt.
• If the mixture is too thick, use a little more broth. Cook the curry for around 20-25 minutes, stirring often, until it thickens.
• Add scallions and lime juice, adjusting for taste. Sprinkle with chopped hot pepper if desired.
Enjoy & Happy Holidays!
Image Credit: Blue Zone Project Hawaii