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Roasted Kabocha Squash, Thai-Style

This easy kabocha squash recipe yields tender kabocha cubes with savory, Thai-inspired flavors! Simply chop, mix, and roast for a super simple yet delicious dish. 

Roasted Kabocha Squash Cubes, Baked Kabocha Squash

Roasted kabocha squash is one of the easiest and most flavorful ways to make this vegetable! Kabocha squash is often used in Asian cuisines, such as Japanese, Korean, and Thai. I really enjoyed a kabocha and egg stir-fry at a Thai restaurant a few years back. So, I’ve enjoyed replicating that same taste at home but simplified the process by roasting the kabocha in the oven.

Roasting vegetables is a cooking method that is more generally found in western cuisine. However, by including ingredients common in Thai cuisine (such as oyster sauce, fish sauce, and lime juice), this savory kabocha squash recipe has an Asian twist! Even with these additions, this is still an easy kabocha squash recipe that only requires chopping, mixing, and roasting.

Kabocha Squash

Kabocha, sometimes also referred to as Japanese pumpkin/winter melon, has characteristics that make it unique compared to other squash varieties. The most noticeable difference is that the kabocha skin is edible. With enough cooking (or roasting in this recipe), the skin becomes soft enough to eat. 

Kabocha is also sweeter and contains less water than butternut squash. This results in a firmer flesh that holds up well to any cooking method: grilling, pureeing, stir-fry, and more. So, it works well in both sweet and savory dishes! It’s also surprisingly low in calories, which is great for healthy foods

Notes

  1. Kabocha Rind: The entire kabocha is edible, even the seeds! If you separate the seeds from the inner fiber, you can roast them until golden brown. This way, you get an extra snack and reduce your food waste. 
  2. Cutting Kabocha Squash: The hard outer rind of the squash can make it extremely hard to cut into pieces. If you microwave/steam the whole kabocha for 2-3 minutes, the squash will become much easier to cut. Make sure to use a sharp chef’s knife or cleaver to cut the squash. 
  3. Garlic: The garlic can burn in the oven if cut too small. If you would rather have minced garlic, you can add it to the kabocha squash halfway through the baking time. 
  4. Roasting: Spread the kabocha pieces out evenly in one layer on your baking sheet to ensure even roasting. Overcrowding the pan traps the moisture underneath the vegetables, causing them to steam and turn soggy. 

Roasted Kabocha Squash, Thai-Style

This easy kabocha squash recipe yields sweet, tender kabocha cubes with savory, Thai-inspired flavors! Simply chop, mix, and roast for a super simple yet delicious dish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: baked kabocha squash, easy kabocha squash recipe, roasted kabocha squash, roasted kabocha squash cubes, savory kabocha squash recipe
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 55kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 medium kabocha squash about 2 pounds
  • 5 cloves garlic crushed and cut into large chunks (Note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • white pepper to taste
  • fresh lime juice or 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

Garnish (optional)

  • cilantro roughly chopped
  • peanuts roughly chopped
  • fried shallot

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • (Optional, makes the squash much easier to cut) Microwave or steam the whole kabocha for 2-3 minutes to soften and make it easier to cut. Note 2
  • Cut the squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fiber inside. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes (you can leave the outer skin on).
  • Add the kabocha and all the remaining ingredients (except for the lime juice and garnishes) to a bowl. Toss so that the kabocha pieces are coated evenly in the sauce.
  • Prepare a large baking sheet with some parchment paper.
  • Transfer the kabocha to the baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure to leave some space between the pieces to allow them to roast evenly and not steam.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through baking. The kabocha should be tender, and both skin and flesh of the squash should be easily pierced with a fork.
  • Take the roasted kabocha squash cubes out of the oven and top with lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  • Plate and optionally garnish with ingredients of your choice.

Notes

  1. If you want the garlic to be minced into smaller pieces, you may. However, you might want to add the garlic to the kabocha halfway through baking to prevent it from burning.
  2. Use a very sharp chef’s knife or cleaver to cut the kabocha. I highly recommend microwaving/steaming the kabocha to make the cutting easier.

How to Make Roasted Kabocha Squash, Thai-style

Begin by preheating the oven to 400°F.

(Optional step, but highly recommended) To soften the hard outer rind of the kabocha squash, microwave or steam the whole kabocha for 2-3 minutes. This extra step will make the squash much easier to cut. 

Cut the squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fiber inside. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes (you can leave the outer skin on).

Cutting the Kabocha Squash
Kabocha Squash Cut into Cubes

Add the kabocha and all the remaining ingredients (except for the lime juice and garnishes) to a bowl. Toss so that the kabocha pieces are coated evenly in the sauce. 

Prepare a large baking sheet with some parchment paper. Transfer the kabocha to the baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure to leave some space between the pieces to allow them to roast evenly and not steam. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through baking. The baked kabocha squash should be tender. Both skin and flesh of the squash should be easily pierced with a fork. 

Kabocha Squash Seasoned
Roasted Kabocha Squash

Take the roasted kabocha squash cubes out of the oven and top with lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Plate and optionally garnish with ingredients of your choice. 

Roasted Kabocha Squash Cubes, Baked Kabocha Squash 3

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