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I recently bought a wooden Obento box from Japan and started to take nutritionally balanced Obento for lunch and made this Japanese Kabocha squash salad for a side dish to pack.
Japanese kabocha squash is different from the common pumpkin called “Jap pumpkin” or “Kent pumpkin” here in Australia. I have found real Kabocha pumpkin or squash at a local grocery store about 5 years ago and was so excited to see Kabocha is available from a supermarket. But then they stopped to sell them for some reason. Last year I saw them again at a local organic market and they were calling it “Gem Pumpkin”. Why do I fuss about the Kabocha squash? Because Kabocha squash is sweeter than butternut pumpkins and it has a chestnut or purple sweet potato like texture. So when it is cooked, they are like a combination between purple sweet potato and chestnuts and they are not soggy. They are in season in late summer and was expecting to see them at the same market this year again, but I did not so I bought a frozen packet from a Japanese grocery store in Brisbane.
This Kabocha squash salad is a very popular side dish that you can buy from department stores in Japan. I miss those “Depachika” in Japan, which means underground floors of department stores. Japanese meals are typically made up by “Ichi (1) jyu, San (3) sai”, which are 1 bowl of soup and 3 side dishes. Depachika underground deli department is a great place to get those side dishes for busy working Japanese mothers to fill up the table with ichijyu sansai. I wish there is a similar deli here but there isn’t so I made “depachika Kabocha salad” myself. Result? I was a little reluctant to use frozen Kabocha squash but the packet I bought from a Japanese grocery store said “they are harvested in season and are rapidly froze”.
Using the frozen packet made making Kabocha squash salad easy and convenient because Kabocha squash skin is very hard and takes a little bit of effort to cut and then have to deseed it. I made this for a quick side dish and also used for Obento next day. Hope you can enjoy this department store underground floor deli food without going to Japan 😀
- 325 g Frozen Kabocha squash
- 250 g purple sweet potato
- 1/3 cup 40g rasin
- 1/3 cup 60g walnuts
- 50 g cream cheese
- 3 tbs Japanese mayonnaise
- Microwave the frozen Kabocha squash in a microwaveable container for 5 minutes and set aside.
- Wash sweet potato and cut it into about 2 cm dice.
- Microwave the sweet potato for 5 minutes with a little bit of water.
- Combine the cream cheese and mayonnaise.
- Drain the water and place cooked sweet potato and Kabocha squash in a large bowl and mash them.
- Add raisin, walnut (leave a several for topping), cream cheese, and mayonnaise mixture.
- Mix them all together and top with leftover walnut to serve.