Our younger son’s sweet friend came back from the market in Kauai with a Kabocha squash. She said we would make pumpkin stir-fry. “But that’s a squash.” I said, “Pumpkins are orange.” Wrong.
She knew her mind. Dark green this pumpkin may be on the outside, but inside the flesh is deeply orange and when cooked – it’s the best of both worlds – pumpkin and squash. (Bittman says, Halloween makes some people (me) think pumpkins are orange and only for pie or soup. Edible orange pumpkins can be used in lots of squash recipes.)
I asked for the recipe to share here. These directions call for a wok, but our adaptable Thai friend made this in an ordinary skillet – with crowd-pleasing results.
Peel the pumpkin, leaving some green. Cut in half, remove seeds, and cut into pieces an inch long and half an inch thick (you need about 2 cups). Chop a (medium-sized) shallot and a bell pepper. Tear basil leaves.
Heat the wok (or what you have), add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and the shallot, and stir-fry till the shallot begins to brown. Add pumpkin, stir, add a cup of water and stir.
After about five minutes, when the pumpkin is soft, add two tablespoons each fish sauce and oyster sauce and two or three teaspoons of sugar. Add the bell pepper and stir for about two minutes.
Turn off the heat, add the basil leaves and mix well. The squash should be a little mushy. Serve over hot rice. Delicious!
And here’s something else – Kabocha pumpkin or squash, whichever you call it, makes terrific pie! Just when we had resigned ourselves to the end of pie season – a reprieve.
Squash – pumpkin – it’s orange inside and terrific to eat!