Dark green with bright orange flesh, Kabocha pumpkins are sweeter, smaller and softer than the variety that we often use for Halloween Lanterns, as well as pumpkin pie and pumpkin soups in the UK.
Luckily, you can now very easily get hold of these in supermarkets and some farmers’ markets over here, and their fluffy texture, and taste (a bit like butternut squash mixed with sweet potato) makes them perfect for warm winter roasts, stews, and even tempura!
Another reason why these are so great to eat in winter is that they are filled with vitamins to ward off any ugly colds: vitamin C, potassium, iron, calcium, B vitamins, folic acid and beta carotene – which, so they say, will also help you to see a bit better during these dark nights!
One of my favourite winter recipes is roasted Kabocha with okra and almond. This is a little bit of a twist on a traditional Japanese Kabocha recipe, still drizzling with a rich sauce, but adding crunchy almonds and fresh green, aromatic okra.
(And, if you can’t get hold of Kabocha, this dish does work just as well with butternut squash! And, if you don’t have any almonds, just wash the seeds, and roast as you would the almonds! )
Roasted Kabocha Pumpkin with Okra and Almond
1 Kabocha pumpkin or butternut squash
4 tbsp sunflower or/and pumpkin seed oil
½ tsp sea salt
3 cups of dashi stock
3 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp soy sauce
30g ginger, thinly sliced
1 tsp konbu sprinkles
1 tsp corn flour with 2 tbsp of water
4 tbsp almond flakes
- Heat your oven to 180C. Cut the pumpkin or squash into two halves, then remove skin. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Roughly cut pumpkin or squash into 3-4cm chunks.
- In an oven tray, toss pumpkin or squash chunks with the oil and salt and then bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes, turn the pieces over, then bake for another 10 minutes.
- Place the almond flakes into another small baking tray (or even on a sheet of tin foil) and oven cook for 5 minutes.
- Heat dashi stock in a saucepan. Once it comes to boil, add mirin, soy sauce, thinly sliced ginger, konbu sprinkles, and simmer for few minutes.
- Cut okra into two diagonally and add to the stock, cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- Once butternut squash is cooked and almonds are lightly roasted, take both trays out from the oven and transfer butternut squash into a large serving bowl.
- Quickly turn the heat up to boil your stock with okra, and add your corn flour and water mixture, make sure to mix all the time until the stock becomes thicker.
- Pour the okra and stock mixture over the butternut squash and then lastly sprinkle almonds over the whole dish and serve.