You could find kabocha squash in many Asian cuisines including Filipino. In fact, kabocha squash is the only kind of squash I knew growing up in the Philippines. If you haven’t tried eating it yet, kabocha squash tastes sweet (sweeter than butternut squash even sweeter than pumpkin). Which dishes can you find it in? Kabocha squash goes great in stews like Pinakbet and Ginataang Kalabasa, and soups like Nilaga. But preparing kabocha squash may not be as easy as cooking with it. Kabocha’s skin could be tough even with a sharp knife. Luckily I’ve learned a more efficient way. I’ll share with you my trick to cutting kabocha squash easily.
The trick is to soften the tough skin. You may do so with a microwave or oven. Second is to cut the squash into smaller pieces before removing the skin. You could also just leave the skin on; it’s completely edible. Less fuss!
First things first, choose a kabocha squash that seems heavy for its size. You could buy kabocha squash at most Asian grocery stores, Filipino grocery stores, health food stores, and some farmers market.
To prepare, make sure that you have a sharp knife (cleaver knife works best) and a good chopping board (preferably softwood). If you don’t mind using the microwave, heat the squash for 3-4 minutes. If you rather not use the microwave, roast the squash in the oven for 400 degrees for 20 minutes. The skin should soften. Add more time if necessary. Let it cool for a minute or two.
Cut the softened kabocha squash in half using a cleaver knife in a rocking motion. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Then cut the squash into wedges then cut into squares. This is the part where you could remove the skin if you want. Now your kabocha squash is ready to be put in soups and stews.
If you need the squash in strips, thinly slice the kabocha chunks. Stack the thin slices horizontally (about 2-3 pieces), then cut into strips.
To further explain how I did it (after all it’s easier if I just show it in action), here’s a video:
I hope this post and video will persuade you to add kabocha squash to your meals. Now please go give it a try and make amazing soups and stews with kabocha squash. You’ll find out why Filipinos love it so much!