Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kabocha Salad

So, Japan is really into using seasonal foods.  Much like we associate pumpkin pie and turkey with fall, Japan has their own autumnal favorites.

One of those is the kabocha, a green skinned pumpkin/squash which is quite delicious (especially in Thai curry, mmm).

While shopping for dinner in a department store basement one night (because that's where the food is), I found an interesting dish - kabocha salad.  Like potato salad, but with kabocha.

I bought it,  ate it, and liked it enough to want to try any make my own at home.
Look at me getting all fancy with the cucumber.

Want to try? It's easy!

- kabocha (I used 1/4 of the pumpkin but since it was small I should have used half or more)
- 1/8 to 1/4 an onion, depending how oniony you like things
- 1/2 a small Persian or Japanese cucumber..or whatever the small crispy kind are called
- Japanese mayo (kewpie or other brand) to taste

Dice up the veggies, and add a little salt to help draw out the moisture. You'll want them crunchy in your salad! Let sit while you deal with the kabocha, and later come back to dab/drain out the water.
Microwave the kabocha until it's soft, and then scoop it out and mash it up in a bowl.  Try not to mash it up too much if you want that chunky potato taste.  I pretty much creamed mine, which made the end texture a little too smooth for "potato" salad.
Add drained veggies and some mayo.  I added like, 4 tbsp, and it was way too much for the amount of kabocha I had.
I ended up needing more starch =_= So add the mayo slowly at a time until you find the consistency that you like.
Add some pepper if you like!
The flavor was really good, though next time I will add less-smashed kabocha and maybe cut back on the onions a bit..I had a big red onion and it was a little overpowering.

For comparison here's the kabocha salad I bought from the store in Japan:
I think it's the Japanese mayo that really makes the dish. I could eat that stuff straight, it's so good.

Kidding. I'm not going to eat spoonfuls of mayo straight up. That's gross. Though with a bit of vegetable matter mixed in it's totally okay though, right? Haha. >.>"

Also, if you don't like my made-up recipe, there's like a bajillion on the Japanese recipe site Cookpad. Don't worry, they have an english version. Just type in "kabocha salad" in the search and have at it!


  1. I think you needed to put a little slice of the pumpkin on top for the full effect. ;)

  2. Oh man, I love kabocha! My grandma used to make this delicious kind, it was kind of sweet? I have no recollection of what went into it since I was young. =( I wonder if I can even get my hands on kabocha in AZ...


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