Kabocha is a Japanese winter squash that is very similar to pumpkin. In fact, it is so similar, it is sometimes referred to as “Japanese pumpkin.” Kabocha can be used in all the same ways pumpkins and other winter squashes are used. You can use it to make soups, stews, casseroles, pies, and of course, curries. The squash is highly nutritious and an excellent source of beta carotene, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. It also contains small amounts of calcium, folic acid, and B vitamins. One of the interesting things about Kabocha that sets it apart from many other veggies, is that it is still technically growing after it has been harvested.
I was fortunate enough to come across a beautiful Kabocha at my local farmers market. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it at first, but as I was putting it in my fridge, I remembered I had a fresh bag of kaffir lime leaves from my previous trip to the market that I needed to use, so I decided to make curry. I was saving the kaffir leaves to make panang – which I still plan on doing – but I need a few other hard-to-find ingredients before I can do that, so I figured why not try using the kaffir leaves in a red curry. That’s what I did, and the results were great.
I’ve been making curries for years, so I felt comfortable basically just winging it and coming up with my own recipe. Every curry starts with a masala – a complex blend of spices – that is then added to a liquid and simmered to create a sauce. The blend of spices and the liquid that you use are entirely up to you, but most curries contain coriander, garlic, and chilis, either fresh, ground, or paste. Curries seem complicated at first, but once you’ve made enough of them, they’re actually quite simple to concoct.
Please let us know how it turns out for you in the comments. Enjoy!