Hearty, tender and bursting with natural sweetness, kabocha squash is a core element of Washoku. Zuccuri is a specific variety of kabocha which is likened to a chestnut (kuri) in its sweetness and texture. This versatile squash is packed with flavor and nutrition, from its vibrant orange interior to its edible dark green skin. Its soft consistency first crumbles and then melts in the mouth, a unique characteristic that comes from its starch content.
Kabocha squashes like Zuccuri are a winter staple in Japan and a reliable source of vitamins when vitamin- and carotene-rich vegetables are scarce, as they can be stored for upwards of three months in a cool, dry place. Traditionally enjoyed on winter solstice in Japan, Zuccuri is often prepared in a sweet soup with adzuki beans in the wintertime, as it is believed to help boost the immune system and prevent colds.
Cooking with Zuccurì
Enjoy Zuccuri simmered, sautéed, dipped in tempura batter and fried, or roasted for a saccharine, melt-in-your-mouth sensory experience. This sweet kabocha squash pairs well with warming spices like nutmeg, clove and sage, as well as pears, cilantro, spinach, and parsley.
Zuccuri holds its form well when cooked and can be added in cubes to soups, stews, curries and casseroles. For a very simple and fast preparation, try microwaving one-fourth of the Zuccuri (500g approx.) for six minutes.