Kabocha are Japanese pumpkins that are by far my favorite of all autumn pumpkins and gourd-fruit.  I first discovered kabocha when I lived in Japan back in 1995.  It is pervasive in Japanese cuisine year-round but particularly so in the late summer and autumn when pumpkins are in season.

It’s hard to describe the taste of a Kabocha but, if I had to, I’d say it has the texture of a sweet potato and the flavor of a regular pumpkin, but sweeter and milder.  Most people find kabocha to be sweeter than butternut squash. Kabocha are often served in stews in Japanese cuisine.  They are also popularly served as tempura that is placed over rice (donburi) or in soups.  Kabocha are rich in beta carotene, iron, vitamin C and potassium. They are also loaded with tons of fiber.  Like most pumpkins and squash, kabocha are tough to cut, so make sure you have a good and sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board.  It’s a bit of a workout to prep, but so worth the effort!

This is a simple recipe that really celebrates the kabocha, using just a bit of veggie broth to deepen the flavor and some soy sauce to add that desirable umami. 


Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 10-12 minutes
Servings: 4 servings



* One medium sized kabocha
1/3 – 1/2 C  low sodium soy sauce
1/2 C vegetable broth (or stock)
* Water (changes based on size of kabocha)


1. Scrub the outside of the kabocha and wash it very well.

2. Cut the kabocha in half and scoop out all of the seeds and stringy material that holds them together.

3. Continue to cut the Kabocha into small 0.5″ x 0.5″ cubes. You can choose to remove the rind though I personally like it, and there are a lot of nutrients and fiber in the rind.  (Incidentally, a recent study showed that pumpkin rinds have a protein in them that helps to fight off fungal infections by inhibiting their growth. )

4.  Put the cut cubes of kabocha into a large pot and add 1/2 cup of veggie broth.

5. Add  enough water to raise the liquid level to an inch and a half to two inches from the bottom of the pot. You are NOT trying to cover the kabocha.  Then, bring it to a boil.

5.  Add 1/2 to 1/3 of a cup of low sodium soy sauce. Mix well and cover the cover the pot and boil on medium high to high for 10 to 12 minutes until the squash is tender and can be easily broken through (including the rind) with a spoon.

6. Enjoy!