Fall is here and warty, colourful squashes are suddenly things we want to eat and decorate our homes with. But they taste amazing, so who can blame us? Try changing it up from the usual pumpkin and butternut with the sweet and nutty kabocha. Japanese kabocha soup, aka kabocha potage (カボチャポタージュ), is a wonderful way to enjoy this delicious pumpkin variety.
What is kabocha?
Kabocha is a sweet Japanese pumpkin. The flavour is described as nutty chestnut crossed with purple sweet potato. And the texture is somewhere between a pumpkin and a sweet potato. A suitably ripe kabocha will be deep green in colour, hard, and feel quite heavy.
It is in season from late summer through early autumn. And you can find it in Asian markets, though I’ve seen it at farmers’ markets and supermarkets as well.
Health benefits of Kabocha:
Kabocha’s bright orange flesh is an excellent source of fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, and smaller amounts of of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and some B vitamins. A single serving of kabocha gives you 70% of your daily recommended vitamin A! This is great for healthy skin, hair, and vision.
Substitutes for Kabocha:
The best substitute for kabocha is the buttercup squash. Alternatively, acorn squash is a decent substitute as well.
How to make Japanese Kabocha Soup
For this recipe that serves three (or four small), you will only need a quarter of a kabocha (or double the whole recipe to make a bigger batch). Kabocha is surprisingly hard, so be careful of your fingers when cutting it into quarters.
Remove the seeds from your quarter of kabocha, then wrap it in plastic wrap. Microwave it for four minutes to soften the squash and make it easy to remove from the rind. (If you would prefer to make this recipe without using a microwave, see the note at the bottom of the recipe card below).
Be careful handling the hot kabocha. Cut it off of the rind and into roughly equal sized pieces. (The rind is edible, but let’s remove it for this recipe to get a beautiful orange colour.) Set the kabocha aside for now.
Cut the onion into small slices.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until they begin to soften.
Stir in the kabocha and sauté it with the onion for another minute.
Pour in the consomme. Bring it just to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Allow it to simmer for twenty minutes.
Use an immersion blender to purée the soup. Or, use a blender to purée it in batches.
Pour in the milk.
Stir while you wait for the soup to get hot. Don’t allow it to come to a boil. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Optionally, drizzle with a touch of cream and garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Your Japanese kabocha soup is ready to enjoy! I recommend dipping some warm, crusty bread into it.
Some other wonderful fall recipes to try:Print
Delicious and creamy soup featuring sweet, nutty kabocha squash. Packed full of vitamins, this is a wonderful switch up from the standard pumpkin or butternut!
1/4 kabocha squash (about 500g)
1/2 medium onion
1 tbsp salted butter
350 ml beef consomme*
350 ml whole milk
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
drizzle of cream
chopped fresh parsley
Be careful cutting the kabocha into quarters as the squash is quite hard. Remove the seeds from the quarter of kabocha and wrap it in plastic wrap. Microwave it for 4 minutes to soften and make it easier to remove from the peel. (See the note section below to see how to prepare this recipe without a microwave if you prefer.) Carefully remove the hot kabocha from the wrap, cut off the rind, and cut into roughly equal size pieces. Set aside.
Cut onion into thin slices. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until they begin to soften. Stir in the kabocha and sauté for another minute.
Add consomme. Bring just to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Use immersion blender to purée soup, or move to blender to purée in batches.
Pour in milk and stir while heating it up. Do not allow it to come to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour into serving bowls. Optionally, drizzle with a touch of cream, garnish with parsley, and serve with bread for dipping.
* You can substitute the consomme for beef or vegetable stock, though it won’t have as intense of a flavour
Start the recipe by slicing the onion, and seeding, peeling, and cutting the kabocha into bite size pieces. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and sauté the onion until it begins to soften. Stir in the kabocha and sauté for another 8-10 minutes until the kabocha is soft. Continue by following along with the above recipe from where you add the consomme.
Keywords: Japanese kabocha soup