Kubota and Pork Stir Fry

Oops… please disregard the dirty window. But there it is, a kubota squash. I believe this is sometimes called a Japanese pumpkin. If you haven’t had one before, I think it tastes a bit like a cross between pumpkin and acorn squash, if you can define a difference between them. Basically, it’s sweet like a sugar pumpkin, but a little buttery and nutty at the same time.

A squash is still a squash no less, meaning it’s irritating to prep and in over abundance during the fall, but this one I didn’t mind so much. Maybe it’s all due to the exotic name. I decided to follow its Japanese roots and tried to recreate a delicious dish that I once had where the pieces of squash were cooked with ground pork. Just imagine the contrast of the sweet, buttery squash with gingery, red pepper-flecked ground pork. I added more crunch and nutritional value by adding cabbage to this stir fry. Perhaps something that’d be even better? A generous handful of roasted peanuts in the end, and maybe a splash of rice vinegar for acid, but as it was, this was a nice, light, but still filling meal.

  • 1 medium kubota squash
  • 1/2 head nappa cabbage, sliced into 1 inch wide pieces
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 tsp sesame oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red chilis, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • canola oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half and clean out seeds. Cut each half into wedges about 2 inches wide. Roast the pieces on a foil lined baking sheet that has been lightly brushed with oil for about 30-40 minutes or until the pieces are tender. Cool the squash so that you can touch it, then separate the squash flesh from the rind and cut into pieces about 1 to 1.5 inches big. Set aside.

In the meantime, put the pork in a bowl with 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp rice vinegar, 1 clove minced garlic, 1/2 tbsp fresh minced ginger, and 1 tbsp corn starch with a little salt and pepper. Mix together and let it marinate.

In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tbsp of canola oil over medium high heat. When the oil ripples and is just about to smoke, add the onion, 1 tbsp ginger, minced red chilis, and the other 2 minced garlic cloves. Quickly stir fry until the oil is fragrant. Add the pork and cook until browned through, about 5-7 minutes. Toss in the cabbage and stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until the cabbage is slightly wilted. Add back in the squash, carefully stirring around to avoid mashing the squash, until the squash is heated through, about another 2 minutes. Add about 2 tsp soy sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish off the dish with a drizzle of about 1 tsp sesame oil.

CSA Count: 2

Kubota squash, garlic

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