Friday, December 17, 2010

Kabocha Squash

Posted by PicasaOne of my new favorites, Kabocha squash!  I brought it home, it was dark green, knobby, scarred up and squat, my husband thought it looked like it was garbage.

I tried to explain how delicious it would be and explained that it is that wonderful, creamy textured squash that they use when you get tempura. He laughed and said "well of course it's good, it's breaded in panko and deep fried!"

That would not be the case in this house I am afraid!

Kabocha is commonly called Japanese pumpkin, especially in Australia and New Zealand. In Thailand, it is called Fak Thong and is also called kabocha squash in North America. In Japan, the word kabocha may refer to either this squash or to the Western-style pumpkin.Some consider it an aphrodisiac.

Today many of the kabocha in the market are of the type called Kuri kabocha, which was created based on Seiyo kabocha (buttercup squash). It's popular for its strong yet sweet flavor and moist, fluffy texture, which is like chestnuts. It's found in the market under such brand names as Miyako, Ebisu, Kurokawa, Akazukin, etc.

Kabocha is hard, has knobbly-looking skin, is shaped like a squatty pumpkin, and has a dull finished deep green skin with some celadon-to-white stripes and an intense yellow-orange color on the inside. In many respects it is similar to the Buttercup squash, but without the characteristic cup on the blossom end. It is a member of the species Cucurbita maxima, along with the Hubbard and Buttercup squashes.

An average kabocha weighs 2-3 pounds but can weigh as much as 8 pounds.

It has an exceptional naturally sweet flavor, even sweeter than butternut squash. It is similar in texture and flavor to a pumpkin and a sweet potato combined. Some can taste like Russet potatoes.

I cut mine into wedges and roasted it in a 400 oven for about 30 minutes, until it was very tender when pricked with a knife.

You can eat the skin if you like, it's a little too much for me, so I cut it out of the tough skin after it has cooled a bit, it only takes a few minutes.

So what makes this squash so special besides its flavor and texture? The nutrient content! Check this out:

3/4 cup (85 grams)

30 calories
7 grams carbs
3 grams sugars
1 gram fiber
1 gram protein

It is also very high in vitamins A and C

So if you are in competition prep, and shooting for a great deal of fat loss, the sugars in this would not be a good idea, but if you are not, then this is a super good food, the mouth feel of a starch with the carbs of a vegetable!

I found an amazing looking recipe for Sweet and Spicy Kabocha from a food blog called JustHungry, which I plan to make in a couple weeks. I think it will go great with chicken....
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