At the grocery store last week, I spied luscious looking danhobaks (Kabocha squash) in their perfectly round green skin. They were huge (more than normal) and so as I passed by them DrJuh encouraged me to take one. These are currently in season for the winter and so even extra sweet! I usually buy groceries knowing exactly what I’ll be doing with it but the danhobak was bought unplanned. We enjoyed some of it battered and fried but still had a lot left! And so, this danhobak salad came to the rescue.
Danhobak salad is a deliciously sweet but also savory mashed salad. Similar to other pumpkins in it’s family, when steamed, danhobak is soft and very sweet. The texture of the salad is be very similar to Asian style potato salads but will be sweeter and have added dried fruits and nuts for an extra crunch and chew. Danhobak salad can be spread between two slices of bread like potato salad or egg salad and is also often served as a sweeter banchan at Korean BBQ or stew restaurants.
Danhobak (kabocha squash) is a winter squash, often referred to as Kabocha squash, Japanese squash, or in Korean, danhobak and is most similar to butternut squash. It’s loved by Koreans all year round, particularly in the cold months. It’s very popular as a “diet” food because it’s filling, high in fiber and relatively lower in calories. According to wikipedia, danhobak is rich in beta carotene, with iron, vitamin C, potassium, and smaller traces of calcium, folic acid, and minute amounts of B vitamins.
This squash can be enjoyed on its own, steamed or roasted, as a snack, with the green peel on as the inside and peel will both soften when cooked! (The peel though, is often removed for the salad.) Danhobak is also often added to desserts, like the “kabocha pound cake” I made a few years ago. The squash brings a natural sweetness so less sugar can be used for desserts.
I think I’m going to turn a bit orange from all the consumption but hopefully I’m getting healthier too. Enjoy!
- ¾ lb (350-400 g) kabocha squash, about ½ a small or ¼ a medium sized kabocha squash
- 2 Tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 Tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp roasted chopped nuts (walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds)
- 1 ½ Tbsp sliced dried cranberries*
*raisins are often used but DrJuh doesn’t really like them and I found that dried cranberries work well in this recipe
1. Scoop and scrape the seeds out of the Kabocha with a spoon.
2. Cut the squash into about 2 inch slices so it will cook quicker. Slice off the green edges.
*In the pictures, I sliced them after I steamed the kabocha. After trying a few times, I’ve noticed that it’s easier to take off cleanly before steaming. It will work either way!
3. Steam the squash slices. My preferred way is to place the squash slices in a microwave safe bowl, fill it with about a cup of water and wrap it tightly with saran wrap. Microwave for about 8 minutes, or until the thickest part of the slices can be very easily pierced with a fork.
*Or, you can steam in a pot with a steam basket for about 15 minutes.
4. Drain the water from the bowl. Mash the squash similar to mashing potatoes. You can use a potato masher, or, just use a spoon and fork. Mash until smooth and creamy.
5. In the mashed bowl, add in the 2 Tbsp yogurt, 1 Tbsp honey, ¼ tsp salt. Mix well together until smooth.
*You can also taste and adjust here in the case the squash is more or less sweet than usual. Add in more yogurt for a creamier texture.
6. Add in the 2 Tbsp of roasted nuts and 1 ½ Tbsp of dried cranberries. Mix to combine.
Enjoy! This goes well on a sandwich (similar to potato salad or egg salad), and is also a great banchan for Korean food. You will find danhobak salad as banchan at Korean BBQ or stew restaurants and also as a great side for donkkaseu.