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First brought to Japan 500 years ago by the Portuguese, kabocha is a squash also known as the Japanese pumpkin. It’s characterized by a dark green edible rind — although for some uses the rind will be peeled — and yellow-y orange flesh.  Many describe kabocha as a cross between a pumpkin and sweet potato.

Kabocha has a sweeter taste and starchier mouthfeel than many gourds; because of this it’s a popular

squash variety for tempura, where its soft texture contrasts with the batter’s light crunch, and the sweetness holds up as the main flavor.  It is also common ingredient in sweeter foods like pudding, cakes and breads.

Along with tempura, kabocha is also popular in Japanese cooking in simmered dishes and soups or as a filling in korokke, the Japanese croquette.  In Korean cuisine, kabocha is used to make porridge, mashed salads and versions of the Korean savory pancake.

These squash contain many vitamins and minerals, including beta carotene which helps give them their color.

You can buy kabocha in Uwajimaya’s produce department alongside other fresh fruits and vegetables.