I’ve been delaying this for years, but one thing Japanese people surprised me in winning in is their phenomenal kabocha. Kabocha sounds super hipster and still strange to me, but it’s basically a Japanese squash. I love it because it’s more savory ingredient than of sweet potatoes and it’s so nutritious. (Please don’t ask me the differences between squash/pumpkin/potatoes/yams. I still confuse all.)
I’m no way a mayonnaise person nor a kewpie person, yet my first kabocha salad was back in 2015 when my senpai took me to a AYCE Japanese buffet that featured this at the salad bar. Idk about you, but salad and fresh vegetables usually aren’t the best…and my senpai insisted I try it. Since then, the Japanese kabocha salad has become a personal favorite Japanese appetizer to me. No matter how creepy/weird the kewpie character looks (seriously, who thought that thing is cute and profitable for branding?!)
- I started interning as a UX/UI Designer and Product Designer and Interior Designer at Roomster. Yes, being an intern sounds and feels so weird to me. But hey- we all gotta start somewhere when switching careers. And So far, it’s been awesome figuring out what I could learn in this whole new tech/startup culture, while receiving some perks like poke bowls, ceviche, etc. (it’s been bittersweet not needing to make any bentos.
- I’m visiting Tokyo and Kyoto in less than a month….. LESS. THAN. A MONTH.
- It’s fall season – which means that leaves are turning all sorts of colors here in NYC and the weather is as perfect as NYC weather can be.
So, here you have it. Kabocha salad or as I like to call it – Japanese style pumpkin salad in celebration of a new internship, visiting Tokyo, and it’s fall.
Kabocha salad with Bacon
- 1 kabocha (Japanese pumpkin, about 1 lb)
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 tbsp kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise)
- 2 bacon slices
- 1 persian cucumber
- 1 tbsp pepper (or lemon pepper)
- 1 tbsp salt
- a bunch parsley
Scoop the kabocha seeds with spoon and discard them and cut into 1 inch slices.
Remove the kabocha skin and cut into 1 inch cubes.
Put the kabocha in saucepan and cover with water. Steam the kabocha for about 10-15 minutes. Allow them to cool
In a frying pan, cook bacon slices over medium high heat until crispy. Drain excess oil on the paper towel and then chop the bacon into small pieces.
Thinly slice the cucumber. (optional: peel the cucumber if preferred)
Combine the kabocha, sliced cucumbers, and chopped bacon together in a bowl.
Add about 2 tbsp of Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie) and freshly ground black pepper or lemon pepper to taste. Mix to desired consistency. Serve immediately with chopped parsley, or refrigerate.