Kabocha friendly recipes


I troll Pinterest every day. I look in three sections and three sections only. Geek (because I am one), food and drink (no explanation needed) and women’s fashion (for research purposes as I have no sense of style but feel I should look respectable). Now that it is colder in North America, there is a plethora of pumpkin recipes. Sadly, it is still t-shirt and shorts weather here so I can’t quite start making something kabocha-y every dinner. But I’m going to torture myself, and possibly you, by posting some promising recipes I have discovered in the last little bit. If you are on Pinterest please check out my board “Also could be made with kabocha”. Please note that I have not tested these recipes but by looking at them, I’m pretty sure they would taste great.

Kabocha Squash Friendly Recipes and Suggested Changes to Make Them Japan-Friendly

Pumpkin, Barley and Sage Soup at Better Homes and Gardens

  • use dried sage which is easier to find (try upscale supermarkets or import shops)
  • use kabocha puree that has been watered down to canned pumpkin consistency
  • quick cooking barley is called oshimugi 押麦in Japanese and is located in the rice section
  • The Meat Guy sells andouille sausages but I would probably just get any smoked sausage I could find

Pumpkin Pesto at Better Homes and Gardens

  • use kabocha puree that has been watered down to canned pumpkin consistency

Pumpkin Spice Latte Popsicles at Purple House Cafe

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip at Recipe Critic

If you are looking for other kabocha ideas check out some of my recipes:

Do you have any pumpkin recipes that work well with kabocha squash? Please share them below in the comments section.

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Green Pepper Maki


I love veggies wrapped in meat. My favorite is asparagus wrapped in pork but an honorable mention must go to eringi wrapped in beef. I tried something new the other day. I had some fast fry pork chops and some green peppers in the house so I search on Cookpad.com with those two ingredients and found a few pictures of sliced green pepper wrapped in pork. I was sold. I didn’t actually look at the recipes but I knew what I wanted  then and there.

Green pepper maki

4 shabushabu cut pork slices (thin fast fry pork chops) or the equivalent of shaved pork
2 green peppers (Japanese sized)
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon cooking sake
salt to taste

At least thirty minutes before you want to start cooking, mix the cooking sake and miso together and spread over both sides of the pork. Let sit until you are ready to cook. Cut the green peppers lengthwise into thin strips. Roll half of a green pepper’s worth of strips in each piece of pork. Cook in your fish grill for 7-10 minutes, or fry on medium, until the meat is brown and crispy. The green peppers will be cooked but still crispy. Sprinkle a bit of salt (keeping in mind miso is about 30% salt) and serve.

fried rice balls yakionigiri

Freezing Yakionigiri

fried rice balls yakionigiri

I think one of the first frozen foods I had in Japan was frozen onigiri. The hubby bought them one evening and I was skeptical. I don’t really like frozen food and these seemed to simple to be good. I loved them. Haven’t bought them since but they did inspire me to explore the world of yakionigiri. There have been terrible results in the past but now all is good. I haven’t perfected them but they are pretty good. I usually use the frying pan but I tried them in the riceball plates of my waffle iron and was pleased. It’s so easy. Since I need to have some food prepped in the freezer for work day breakfasts, lunches and dinners, freezing riceballs seemed to be perfect. You can just reheat with miso soup for a quick meal. They are best heated in a toaster oven so they don’t get too soggy. I use the grill setting in my microwave but keep the pan on a lower level than when actually grilling.

Basically, lightly salt the rice and make riceballs. If you need a tutorial, check out this one on Just Hungry. In a small bowl mix a bit of soy sauce and grated ginger. Lightly oil a frying pan and heat up the pan on medium. When the frying pan has heated up, place the rice balls and fry until they are just starting to turn golden. Turn over and either brush or sprinkle with a spoon the ginger soy sauce mixture on the cooked side. Just a little at a time so the riceball doesn’t fall apart. When the other side has started to change color turn over again and repeat with the sauce. Now you can fry them until they turn a deeper color. If you are freezing them, cool them completely before putting them in the freezer. Either thaw at room temperature or microwave for about 30 seconds and then put them in the toaster oven until they look nice and toasty.

Pita sandwich

Sprout Love


Has anyone else never really checked out the sprout section of the Japanese supermarket? I’ve passed by and noticed the variety but didn’t actually take a look. I think I accidentally bought mustard sprouts (I hate mustardy things) a while back and was too scarred to go back. I had a craving for a tuna sandwich on Sunday and suddenly remembered that alfalfa sprouts exist and had to have them in my tuna sandwich. Good choice as the sandwich made me feel nostalgic. I kid you not. Anyhow, I also picked up some broccoli sprouts to try and discovered that I love them. I added both types of sprouts to my lunch pita pocket today. Yum.

You can sprout your own seeds in a glass jar. This could be fun. Instructions here.


Coconut Chicken Strips and Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Cups

coconut Chicken strips and quinoa cups

This is the best picture I could manage the night I made these. The chicken strips reflect way too much light. I guess I should have been patient enough to brown them under the broiler. After the success of the tofu version of these I made, I couldn’t wait long enough. I came accross both of these recipes via pinterest and they immediately went to the top of my do make list. You can find the chicken strip recipe here on Budget Bytes. And the quinoa cups here on Iowa Girl Eats. Both of these recipes you don’t actually have to follow as they are flexible. Just look for inspiration and go with what you feel like.

Changes to the chicken strips:

  • added coconut milk powder to the coating mix instead of coating them in coconut milk
  • baked them at 170C for 25 minutes instead of frying

Changes to the quinoa cups

  • used steamed broccoli and shredded gouda (cheap supermarket stuff) as the addins
  • used a bit less quinoa so only used two eggs, no egg whites

 Where to find shredded coconut: in the cake baking section of your supermarket (very small bag for about 130 yen).

Where to find coconut milk powder: in the Asian food section of your supermarket near the Thai curry mix or an import shop. The spice maker S&B now makes small (about 30g) bags as addins for curry and they are located in the curry section.

Where to find quinoa: sometimes you can find small bags in import shops, health food stores, online at Rakuten, Amazon, etc. – it is called キヌア kinua in Japanese.

Where to find Thai Sweet Chili Sauce: the below pic is the only brand I’ve ever seen. It used to have English on it as well but the last bottle I bought doesn’t. It is in the Asian food section of supermarkets and should be readily available as it is used for spring roll dipping sauce.