When kabocha squash came into my life several years ago, I was immediately hooked! Without a doubt, I can say that this Japanese pumpkin is my favorite squash variety. It is often described as sweet, fluffy, and velvety. When you taste it, you will understand why this popular winter squash sets itself apart from the rest.
If you are curious about the nutritional benefits kabocha has to offer, there are plenty of reasons why you should be eating it. First, it is loaded with Vitamin A, as well as being high in fiber. It also gives a boost to your digestive system and your immune system. Kabocha is low in calories which helps to aid in weight loss. At the same time, it provides complete satisfaction with its heartiness.
Kabocha is commonly used in Asia, particularly Japan and Korea. During my Japan travels, kabocha was commonly served. That is when I learned that by simply peeling the skin, scooping the seeds out, and slicing it into cubes, you can steam kabocha without adding a thing to it and the taste is incredible! If you have never tried that method while preparing this delectable squash, give it a shot! Kabocha prepared this way will show you just how delicious this Japanese squash is all on its own. A side note, the outer skin of kabocha squash is completely edible. But if you plan on steaming it, just lightly peel the outer skin. Why? Because that is what the Japanese do. Making a stew with kabocha is also very popular in Japan. But today I want to share with you my kabocha squash fritter recipe.
This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy kabocha in the winter. The fennel is a nice combination along with the balance between sweet and savory. You can prep the squash ahead of time which I highly recommend. Cutting and peeling kabocha can be a challenge so it's nice to just have that step done prior to starting the recipe. These fritters can be completely vegan with the use of flax eggs. If you wish to use regular eggs, start with 2 eggs. Add another egg if the mixture seems too dry. A lot of this depends on how dry your squash and the other ingredients are. Basically, you want this mixture to be molded into patties (fritters).
A nice variety of toppings complement these fritters quite well. Some of my favorites are cashew cream, avocado, sesame seeds, and green onions. Of course they can be paired with countless other things so pile on what sounds good to you.
3 cups grated kabocha squash
1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fennel, finely chopped
3 flax eggs (or regular eggs)
1/2 cup nut flour of choice (I used cashew flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp dried orange peel
1 tsp sesame seeds (I prefer black sesame seeds)
coconut oil for frying
Garlic Cashew Cream
1. Peel the outer skin of the kabocha squash. You can use a vegetable peeler, but I prefer using a sharp knife (use caution!). I find the knife method is a bit quicker. Once the skin is peeled, cut the kabocha in half and remove the seeds. Then cut the squash into large chunks. If you plan on using your food processor to do the grating, make sure the chunks are small enough to fit down the shute. You can also use your box grater if you are looking for a good arm workout! For this recipe, you will need 3 cups of grated squash. So you can either stop grating once you reach 3 cups and use the remainder of the squash for something else, or grate it all. Soon, I will be sharing a kabocha sweet bread recipe that you can use it for, or you can make more fritters and freeze them. This is by far the most time consuming part of this recipe, so you can do this a day or two in advance if time permits.
2. Get your flax eggs prepped first to allow plenty of time to gel up. In a large bowl, combine the grated kabocha, onion, fennel, flax eggs, nut flour, spices, and seeds. Please note, if you choose to use regular eggs, start with two. Once you have the ingredients mixed, if the mixture needs more binding, add one more egg. I don't find kabocha to have a lot of moisture to it, so sometimes an extra egg does the trick. If using flax eggs, definitely use 3.
3. Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes. This allows everything to absorb well. Once the mixture has had time to sit, mix it once again and form 1/4 cup patties with it. Preheat your oven to 200°F to keep the fritters warm while you fry them all up as you will work in batches. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt 1 Tbs of coconut oil. Then add about 3 or 4 of the fritters- whatever fits best for your pan. The fritters will cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Repeat the process until all the fritters have been cooked.
4. Top with avocado, green onions, cashew cream, sesame seeds, etc. and serve immediately. The fritters make great left-overs too! Makes 8 fritters.