This is a followup post to the Kabocha Mochi Cake I wrote about yesterday.
Kabocha squash is very easy to roast in the oven. In fact, the most difficult part is cutting it up, but as long as you have a sharp knife (a heavy cleaver is best), some muscle, and careful fingers, you should be able to finish prepping in about ten minutes.
Kabocha may not be the prettiest squash-squat and sometimes pimply-but it’s flesh is a lovely shade of sunset orange and tastes like a sweet potato crossed with pumpkin. It’s sweeter than the butternut squash and quite succulent. Also, unlike the butternut, there is no need to peel the skin. The skin is completely edible.
I learned to cook kabocha from my mother, who braises and serves it with a side of sweetened azuki beans. While that method of cooking it is dear to my heart, I do love the depth of flavors and textures one gets from roasting kabocha.
As you bite into the slightly caramelized crust it gives way into a creamy, sweet, somewhat nutty and…dense flesh. Dense is probably the best way to describe it as even roasted butternut is still somewhat watery.
I have to say after all that muscle used to cut through the squash, what you get is completely worth it! But please be careful when cutting, and be sure to cut the squash when it’s laying down on it’s flat side!
One kabocha squash
2 – 3 tablespoons of mild tasting olive oil (enough to fully coat the kabocha squash when tossed together in a bowl)
A big pinch of fine sea salt
A heavy cleaver or a very sharp knife
A large sturdy table spoon
A large mixing bowl
Two baking sheets lined with parchment paper (optional)
Tongs, spatula or chopsticks (whatever you can use to flip the kabocha with halfway through the roasting process)
Place your oven racks on the upper middle and lower middle positions in your oven. Preheat your oven to 400F.
Cut your kabocha squash in half and de-seed both halves by scooping out the membrane and seeds out with a large spoon.
Take one of the halves, lay it down on its flat side, and cut the kabocha into half inch slices. If you can’t get your slices that small, it’ll just mean a longer roasting time for your kabocha squash to get soft.
There is no need to remove the skin as it is edible. But, if it creeps you out, you are more than welcome to peel it off.
Repeat with the second half of kabocha.
Add your kabocha slices to a large mixing bowl and add 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil; just enough to get all the pieces coated when tossed together.
Throw in a big pinch of fine sea salt, and mix everything together your hands.
Place the kabocha slices on your (lined) baking sheets in a single layer and roast in the oven for about 25 – 35 minutes. About 15 – 20 minutes in, remove the baking pans out of the oven, flip the kabocha slices over, then place back in the oven (putting the sheets back on different racks) to roast until the slices are very soft.
Serve the kabocha warm with a bit of freshly ground pepper or, you can make a puree for your Kabocha Mochi Cake. The squash should be so soft that it can be easily mashed up with a fork, including the skin. Again, if the skin creeps you out, you are more than welcome to remove it.