Soy Glazed Kabocha Squash with Japanese Sesame Seasoning

Soy Glazed Kabocha Squash with Japanese Sesame Seasoning recipe by

It takes the strength and sharpness of a Japanese knife to cut through the dense, raw flesh of a Japanese pumpkin, but only the gentle touch of a Japanese seasoning to compliment its creamy, sweet, moist flavor.

kabocha squash japanese pumpkin

Japanese pumpkin カボチャ(南瓜) – better known as Kabocha squash here in the US – has the texture of chestnuts after roasting, and the sweet flavor of its cousin, the butternut squash. 

I like to cube Kabocha squash and roast it with just a light coating of oil.  Then when it’s done, I mix it with a simple soy glaze made of Japanese pantry essentials – Shoyu, Mirin, Honey, and Toasted Sesame Oil.  And finally, for a layer of texture and savory elements, I sprinkle on our Japanese Sesame Seasoning – a blend of toasted sesame seeds, wild-harvested nori seaweed, Aleppo chili flakes, black sesame seeds, and Himalayan pink salt. 

This simple, seasonal dish of Soy-Glazed Kabocha Squash with Japanese Sesame Seasoning goes well as a side with fish or roast chicken, or as part of a Japanese meal.

Soy Glazed Kabocha Squash with Japanese Sesame Seasoning by
Japanese Sesame Seasoning available at

We picked up a couple of Kabocha squash from our local co-op last week and I have been on a Kabocha kick lately.  It’s fantastic in soups - I’ll be sharing a Thai soup recipe shortly. 

It’s also great in traditional Japanese recipes like tempura, when it’s battered and deep fried, and Kabocha no Nimono, when it’s simmered in a seasoned broth (dashi).  If you’re interested in the latter, try Nami’s recipe for Simmered Kabocha with Shio Koji, on her site Just One Cookbook.  And for even more ideas on how to use Kabocha squash, check out MJ’s recent post, A Collection of Kabocha Squash Recipes, on her site MJ’s Kitchen.

Soy Glazed Kabocha Squash with Japanese Sesame Seasoning recipe by

Soy glazed Kabocha Squash with Japanese Sesame Seasoning 
Serves 3-4 as a side

Half a medium kabocha squash – cut into 1 to 1.5 inch cubes*
Neutral tasting oil (I used sunflower oil)
1.5 tbsp Season with Spice's Japanese Sesame Seasoning, or more to taste

To make the glaze:
2 tbsp shoyu, or reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp honey
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1. Preheat oven to 400F. 
2. Place the cubed squash in a baking dish and toss it with a little bit of oil.
3. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden (flip them halfway).
4. When the squash is almost done roasting, mix the soy sauce, miring, honey, and toasted sesame oil in a saucepan, and bring it to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat.
5. Place the kabocha squash in a serving dish, dress it with the soy glaze, and top it with our Japanese Sesame Seasoning. Enjoy!

*If you prefer to serve the squash in large pieces and to reduce the cutting time, you can also slice the kabocha squash into thin boat shapes, as I did in my recipe for Roasted Spiced Oriental Squash.
-The peel of kabocha squash is edible.