Winter Squash: Quashing Questions – Winter Sweet Kabocha Squash

👨‍🍳 Cooking in the Time of COVID 👨‍🍳

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I know kabocha as a dark green, firm-fleshed squash often reputed to taste like a blend of pumpkin, chestnut, and sweet potato, and it’s another of my favorites (most Japanese squashes garner high marks from me). But one crate at the farmers’ market bore a sign that read “winter sweet kabocha” and another was identified as merely “winter kabocha” so I inferred that they were two different varieties. I bought one of each (see the pair side by side in this photo) and decided to pass on the standard green variety – I mean really, how many kabochas can I use? Since the pair tasted pretty much the same (I suspect it was a labeling issue), I’m pretty sure in retrospect that purchasing both winter versions had been unnecessary and it would have been wiser to compare winter sweet kabocha to the more common green one (which I didn’t do) or the orange variation (which I did do).

Since kabocha of any color holds its shape commendably when steamed or simmered…

…I couldn’t resist making Kabocha no Nimono (かぼちゃの煮物), a classic Japanese treatment that simmers chunks of kabocha in dashi (Japanese soup stock) seasoned with sake and/or mirin, soy sauce, sugar and salt; the garnish is fresh ginger sliced into matchsticks. Very satisfying.

Next up, the aforementioned orange kabocha squash.
(For those who are just joining us, the saga begins here.)
Stay safe, be well, and eat whatever it takes. ❤️