Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: Kabocha

A Japanese variation
We've seen it many times but only recently tried it out thanks to a sale at H Mart. This squash has an exceptionally thick and dark green skin with vibrant orange flesh on the inside. Kabocha is aka Japanese pumpkin. Japanese take kabocha slices and coat them in tempura batter and then fry them to a golden brown along with other tempura. Expect a semisweet taste from ripe kabocha. Mature Japanese pumpkin tends to be sweeter than other types of pumpkin. Kabocha lovers can buy immature kabocha at the grocery store then wait for it to ripen, which can take place between six weeks to three months after harvesting. Also, look for a corky or dried-out stems in ripe kabocha. Japanese pumpkin shares similar traits to buttercup squash. Food historians believe that the Portuguese introduced kabocha to Japan in the 1500s. Kabocha is a rich source of beta carotene, which helps prevent cancer and arthritis.

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