05 November 2009

Mellow Pumpkin Buns

I heart mellow pumpkin buns! I buy them at the Oriental Supermarket in Durham, NC. I have not been cooking much lately because of school crunch time and not feeling well, so when I need a quick snack I pop one of these in the microwave for 50 seconds, cut it into fourths, and enjoy with tea.

One of the things I love about Mellow Pumpkin Buns is that they actually aren't pumpkin buns. They are kabocha squash buns—you can see it in the picture. I much prefer cooking with kabocha than pumpkin; in fact I've never cooked with pumpkin because I've been too intimidated. Kabocha (or their practically identical cousins, Buttercup squash) are small and easy to chop up. Their skin is thin and peels off easily, and the flesh is moist, not stringy, with a beautiful, vibrant orange. To my mind they taste way better than acorn or butternut squash. Someday in the distant future I plan to make a pumpkin pie with freshly puréed kabocha.

The Japanese love kabocha squash as much as I do and one of their favorite ways to cook it is to simmer peeled chunks of it in heavily sugared water until tender. Then they'll serve about 3 or 4 chunks as a side dish. If this is your first time with kabocha or buttercup squash, you should definitely try cooking it this way.

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