Halloween 2015 may be over, but it’s just the beginning season for my favorite pumpkin in the world…
The incredible, spectacula… KABOCHA SQUASH!
It’s no secret that I am obsessed with winter squash, this little green-skin pumpkin. 🎃
6 years ago, when I was first introduced to kabocha, I was hooked and literally ate it every single day for a couple months straight. Today, I am not as addicted, but still sort of am. 😂 Kabocha is one of my favorite foods, especially during the fall and winter seasons.
Unlike other squashes, kabocha is more starchy because of its lower water content, but it has less starch than a sweet potato. This make-up makes the squash dense, sweet, yet soft and pillowy at the same time! It’s indescribable if you never had it before.
I love kabocha cooked in any way. Steamed, baked, stir-fried, curried, pancake’d… 😉
You get the point. I’m a little kabocha head! 🎃
Another food love of mine is sticky rice. Particularly sweet brown rice, it’s just like your typical sticky white rice, but a whole grain. 🙂
So sticky rice + kabocha together = culinary perfection. 😛
The two pairs so well together! Sticky rice is, well, sticky, chewy, and slightly sweet. Kabocha is soft and tender. When eaten together in a bite, it’s a really yummy combination.
Which brings me to sweet rice stuffed kabocha.
This dish is especially great for Thanksgiving and Christmas! 🍴 Although this is completely vegan-friendly, stuffed kabocha is a delicious complement to a roast. (On another note, I’m not much of a meat eater myself, and I do have a delicious roast tofu recipe coming up that I’m going to share soon.) I personally love it because it’s not a typical holiday dish, and it’s also healthy and delicious.
But this stuffed kabocha isn’t just for the holiday dinner table. This is also a great meal prep dish.
Below 👇 is a picture of my breakfast that I had when I came back from a morning run and was sweaty and feeling voracious! All I did was slice a piece, throw the stuffed kabocha in a toaster oven to warm it up, and fry an egg and some veggies. 🍳 To serve the kabocha, I slathered it in black sesame butter and a side of hot soymilk foam. This combination is absolutely to die for! And having this for breakfast just makes me feel like a Queen. 👸
There are many ways to make this dish. You can experiment with different stuffings, make this sweet or savory, or steam or bake it. My favorite way it to bake it because the squash and stuffing gets all caramelized and delicious. That being said, steaming the squash makes this dish taste a bit lighter and is yummy as well. 🙂
Sweet Brown Rice Stuffed Kabocha
4 Servings // vegan, whole grain
1 small kabocha (~2.5 lbs)
1/3 cup dry sweet brown rice
1 tbsp dry forbidden rice (or more sweet brown rice)
Optional: sweetener of choice (honey, stevia, maple syrup, sugar, etc.)
.25 cups dry red adzuki beans
6 large dried jujube, de-seeded (Chinese red dates 红枣)
2-3 tbsp dried cranberries / goji berries
+ additional creative stuffings you prefer (see notes below!)
1. Prepare the rice
First, soak the sweet brown rice, forbidden rice, and adzuki beans at least 3 hours (or overnight!) before cooking. This just helps tenderize the grains and legumes, making it easier to cook and also more digestible.
Then, parboil the rice and adzuki beans. You’re not going to cook the rice and beans fully, but just enough. This is how you get a nice chewy texture and ensures that when you cook the stuffed kabocha, the rice and beans are fully cooked in the end product.
So, first bring 1/2 cup water to boil, add the rice and beans, cook on high for 5 minutes. Then, bring to a simmer and gentle boil it for 10 minutes, just until the rice has soaked the water. Keep an eye on it, so that it doesn’t overcook!
2. Cut the Kabocha
In the meantime, as that is boiling, you can cut your kabocha! With a sharp knife and careful attention, cut a medium size circle towards the top of the kabocha then core out the seeds with a spoon.
Be careful not to cut too small of a circle, otherwise you won’t be able to stuff your kabocha! But don’t cut too much or your stuffing will fall out. Also, don’t throw away the little kabocha head you just cut off!
3. Stuff the Kabocha
When the rice is done, you can sweeten the rice mix. I think that because the kabocha and the dried fruits are just sweet enough, and sweetener is not necessary. That being said, I sometimes sweeten the rice a touch, like 2 tsp honey or 10 drops stevia, etc.
Also, add in a pinch of salt.
Now you’re ready to stuff your kabocha! Add in half of the rice, layer on some dried fruits / nuts / etc. Finish it with the other half of the rice. Place the head back onto the kabocha.
4. Cook the Kabocha: bake or steam!
Bake: If you’re baking the kabocha, you can preheat the oven to 400*F when you’re stuffing the kabocha. Bake the kabocha for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
Steam: Place your stuffed kabocha in a steamer, and steam the whole thing for 25-30 minutes. Depending on the size of your squash, you may need shorter/longer time!
When it’s done, let it sit in the steamer for a few minutes. Once it’s just cool enough, you can remove it with some oven mitts.
5. Serve and enjoy! Yum Yum. Transfer onto a serving plate! Then cut it into wedges and serve! Delicious!
Additional stuffing ideas:
• In place of the red adzuki beans, you can also use red bean paste! Just layer it in between the rice layers.
• You can also put in chestnuts, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts. They’ll be soft but add a nice texture.
And here’s a roast dinner that I served with the kabocha. It’s roast organic chicken with root veggies and a massaged kale salad with pumpkin seeds and apples. This actually is a #throwback pic. I don’t eat meat that much anymore, and now, I’d probably serve this with my newest recipe, roast tofu (coming soon!), but you get the idea! 🙂
I hope that you enjoy this recipe and that you give it a try for Thanksgiving this year! Let me know how it goes. Snap a pic and share it with me @vivanttang! ❤