Thursday, January 19, 2012

How is Kabocha Roasted in a Cooker?

The kabocha, a variety of winter squash from Japan, is the sweetest of all the pumpkins and winter squashes. It is dark green in color, with a flattened spherical shape. It has thicker walls than most varieties of squash, making it especially meaty for its size. Its skin is thin and can be eaten when cooked, so peeling is an esthetic decision rather than a culinary one. Kabocha can be baked whole or roasted in slices or cubes. It can be "roasted" quickly in a pressure cooker, if you are under a time constraint.

Step 1

Cut the kabocha in half with a heavy knife or cleaver. Scoop out the seed cavity with a tablespoon and discard the seeds.

Step 2

Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of your pressure cooker and insert the trivet that came with your pressure cooker. Place the two halves of the kabocha on the trivet and turn your stove to a high setting.

Step 3

Bring the water in your pressure cooker to a boil, then lock the lid in place. Monitor the pressure cooker until it reaches its cooking pressure of 15 psi on a gauge, or the second red mark on gaugeless models. Begin timing at this point.

Step 4

Pressure-cook the kabocha for 10 minutes, regulating your stove's heat to maintain pressure. After 10 minutes' cooking time, follow your pressure cooker's quick-release method to open the lid and check for doneness. Depending on the size and thickness of the squash it may require up to four more minutes.

Step 5

Re-pressurize the cooker if necessary by bringing it back to a boil and waiting until the gauge reads 15 psi before you begin to time the cooking again. Cook for a further three to four minutes, then remove the pressure cooker from the hot burner and let it cool until it is depressurized.

Step 6

Scoop the cooked flesh from the kabocha once it is cool enough to handle and use it as you would a roasted or baked squash.

Tips and Warnings

  • Roasting a squash caramelizes its sugars and creates more layered flavors than other cooking methods. To replicate this browning, place your cooked squash under a broiler for three to four minutes. Alternatively, place the squash cut-side down in a hot skillet with a small amount of cooking oil or clarified butter and pan-sear it until it is well browned. If you're in a hurry, you can also slice the kabocha into half-inch slices and cook them at 15 psi for three to four minutes.
  • Before using any pressure cooker, always check to ensure that the lid's seal is intact and that gauges and safety valves are working and free of any blockages or cooking debris.

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