No-Peel Kabocha Squash “Fries”
2012 is my year for making new vegetable friends. I’ve overcome my fear of strange root vegetables with odd or ugly outsides—for example, celeriac and yucca—which have all turned out to have mild and even sweet-tasting insides. And I plan to get to know chard and kale a lot better.
For this recipe, I ventured outside my squash “comfort zone”—butternut, acorn, pumpkin—and bought a round, yellow-and-green striped gourd called a kabocha. I put it on a kitchen counter, and there it sat for a long time. Occasionally we would stare at each other.
The kabocha seemed quite happy while I dithered. It’s interesting that trying out a new food is a lot like being compelled to learn a new software product. Denial is high, but resistance is futile.
And thank goodness for that because these fries are delicious—both peel and flesh. They are sweet and slightly salty with a flavour somewhere between butternut and pumpkin. And they’re versatile: good hot and cold; good as a snack or side dish.
- You can make these fries spicier by adding ¼-½ tsp. cayenne. I left this ingredient out because we’re not into “hot.”
- The original recipe called for 15 minutes of cooking, then turning the slices, and cooking for an additional 15 minutes. I found that my slices were done (a fork went into them easily) after the first 15 minutes.
- ½ kabocha squash
- 2 tbsps. brown sugar (I used Splenda Brown Sugar Blend.)
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- Cooking spray
- Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds.
- Then slice ½ of the squash into roughly ¼” slices.
- Pour sugar and spices in a plastic bag. Shake to mix.
- Add kabocha slices and shake so that the slices are coated with the spices.
- Add soy sauce and shake once again.
- Place slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Cook in 400° F oven for 15 minutes.
- Check for doneness with a fork. If not done, turn them over and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
- Eat whole (peel and flesh) hot or cold.