Quick Asian-Spiced Kabocha (Winter Squash)

Recently I professed my first trials of what seems to be the most popular new food among healthy bloggers, kabocha squash. This hearty winter squash is sold with the others … acorn, butternut, spaghetti … but it of course has its own nuances. And with all of those squashes on sale (the organic versions even!) for just $.49 a lb, how could I pass this opportunity up!

After I gained my bearings with the flavors and cooking times of kabocha, I decided to experiment a bit with the original Japanese Style Simmered Sweet Kabocha recipe I mentioned testing in a prior post. Though I liked that recipe, it lacked a little spice in my opinion, and it seems my cooking technique was a bit amiss, as I ended up with far too much liquid once my kabocha was cooked.

After many changes, the recipe I came up with offers a wonderful side dish (or breakfast as I like to eat it) that is slightly sweet and spicy, and is a breeze to cook up. From start to finish, I had the kabocha ready in 20 minutes, and that was with minimal monitoring required. It was definitely a nice change from my usual roasting or steaming techniques with squash …

asian-spiced sweet kabocha (vegan and gluten-free)


Quick Asian-Spiced Kabocha (Winter Squash)

Like most other winter squashes, kabocha is a bear to cut, but, on the bright side, no peeling is required! The skin offers a pleasant and unique texture to the dish. For efficiency, I cut up all of the kabocha at once, and store any leftovers in baggies to use or freeze at my convenience. 

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Low Fat, and optionally Gluten-Free.

  • 3/4 lb Kabocha Squash Smallish Chunks (cut to about 1-inch in size, skin on)
  • 1/3 Cup Water, plus additional if needed
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari (for gluten-free)
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons Evaporated Cane Juice, Brown Sugar, or Granulated Palm Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Ginger, minced (feel free to use more if you like your ginger)
  • 3/8 Teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice Powder (available in the spice section of most grocers)

Place all ingredients in a skillet and heat to boiling. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let it simmer for 10 minutes.  

Remove the lid and continue to cook (stirring occasionally) until the liquid is pretty much gone / thickened, and the squash (and peel) is nice and tender. This takes me about 5 minutes, but if the liquid evaporates and your squash isn’t yet done to your liking, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. Serve.

Note: I have been devouring the entire batch within a day, but if you do put the leftovers in the refrigerator, the flavors seep in nicely and offer more of an infused flavor the next day. Feel free to enjoy it cold or warmed.

Yields 2 to 3 spiced servings

Asian-Spiced Kabocha Squash (Vegan and Gluten-Free

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32 thoughts on “Quick Asian-Spiced Kabocha (Winter Squash)

  1. I still have yet to find kabocha squash around here!

  2. Thanks for the info. I wish I could find kabocha here but I don’t think I have seen it. Unless they get it in at the commissary I think it is a lost cause for now.

  3. Hi, Alisa,

    that looks yummy, I love that it’s very simple and easy to make and very healthy too..:)

  4. Fabulous. I’m sure I’d prefer it for breakfast, too–it looks amazing!

  5. Looks delicious! I have not found kabocha here…

  6. The Asian Flavor and the sweet and spicy would rock on this one! Great job and the seasoning blend could work on so many diff things.

  7. I’ve never found this type of squash around here, but this looks like a great way to cook any type of winter squash!

  8. Mmmm i can totally see myself making this recipe using pumpkin. It looks fantastic and authentically Asian. I really do love my kabocha’s just plain and steamed though because i find them sweet and yummy by itself. Thank you for your recipe!! This Asian loves it!

  9. This sounds like a really good way to prepare squash. Now, if only they weren’t so hard to cut I might be more enthusiastic about using the stash sitting on the dining room table!

  10. Looks delicious! I have two in my pantry. I agree – HOLY WOW are they hard to cut! I usually have J help me b/c I’m so afraid w/ all my struggling I’ll slip and cut off an extremety.

  11. Great recipe!

  12. This looks SO yummy. Can you believe I have not tried the variety yet? I’m so obsessed with the acorns and golden acorns right now, they’re all I want to buy. Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

  13. Yah! You won the Red Velvet Cake Candle from the Holiday Food Fest.
    Email me your address!

  14. Kabocha is one of my favorite of the winter squashes! I love what you’ve done with it in this recipe, it looks even better than your previous version. I like your cutting method of doing mass amounts at once. I guess once you get into a zone…

  15. yeah kabocha is my favorite food for years now, I can’t get over it! usually I just steam it but this recipe sounds really delicious… I can imagine the sweet and spicy flavor plus its unique texture… oh… so good! 😀

  16. What a great flavor combination with the squash. This is a fantastic recipe! Thanks!

  17. this sounds so good and what a unique recipe…all those flavors together sounds so delicious!

  18. Wonderful pics. I have just recently discovered kabocha squash – it’s so sweet, creamy, and delicious! This sounds like a wonderful way to eat it.

  19. i need to get me some chinese 5-spice! this sounds delish, and i also need to stock up on squash…

  20. I only recently started making kabocha. This recipe sounds great; I love ginger in anything and everything! 🙂 If it were just easier to cut the kabocha….

  21. Shanes

    I’m glad some of you mentioning that this would be good with pumpkin too because I have a TON of it at home. Thanks for the tip and the recipe! Looks great!

  22. Sounds awesome 🙂

  23. Looks wonderful. I have a kabocha sitting on the counter. They are very popular here. I think my is going into the soup pot. 😉

  24. Looks delicious! Love the idea of combining Asian flavors with the squash!

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