Fall is coming. Pumpkin spice lattes are already here. And guess what showed up in my local grocery store (not to be confused with butternut squash) Kabocha!

rawkabocha  My sister-in-law once made me this incredibly delicious dish where she pan-roasted thin slices of kabocha squash until they were brown and sweet and caramelized in sesame oil and garlic and ginger. Yum!

I regularly make an oven-roasted version (Michiko doesn’t have an oven or I’m sure she’d do it that way too, easier to make bigger batches).   You should try it too! The special ingredient here is the star of the show: Kabocha squash. I”m assuming you already have soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and mirin (sweet sake flavoring) from other recipes in your pantry 🙂

First, get yourself a kabocha, preferably smaller sized. Rinse it in running water. Marvel at the fact that you don’t have to peel it! The green rind softens with roasting and you know Japan has been eating it that way for like 100 years. That’s the best part as far as I’m concerned. Get a big, honking knife and cut that darn thing in half. Scoop out the seed guts. Now slice it up.  Carefully.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, pour in the following ingredients and mix.

  • about 4 tbspns sesame oil
  • two-three minced cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbspns soy sauce
  • 2 tbspns mirin

Optional: about an inch of grated ginger, finely sliced green onions, 1 tbspn sriracha or sambal oelek, a couple shakes of 7 pepper seasoning

Put your sliced kabocha in the bowl and toss until coated. Arrange slices on a baking sheet (I use parchment paper for easy clean up) and then do a quick dash of regular old salt on top.  I also added sesame seeds in the picture above, but you don’t necessarily need that.

Roast for about 20-25 minutes until the edges curl and brown and everything is nice and soft.  Snag one from the tray and eat it. Try to walk away without eating another one, I dare you.

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