Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mixed Rice Stuffed Kabocha Squash | Kabocha no Takikomi Gohan Zume

Takikomi gohan (rice steamed with chicken stock, dashi, or other stock, and other ingredients) stuffed kabocha squash. Before I get to that, though, first I just want to mention an encouraging article:

A Brief Interlude
NPR has a short story about how popular food blog Smitten Kitchen's author manages to do all her cooking in a tiny 3'x6' kitchen by being very organized. I haven't looked at Smitten Kitchen much, but I find the article encouraging because it's another reminder that we don't need fancy equipment and facilities to make great food. I anticipate moving from my current healthily sized kitchen to probably a tiny one next year, and will have to get used to cramped cooking conditions once again. I did it before in an even smaller kitchen when I was in Japan, but it's really inconvenient and limiting.

And now back to our regular programming 
I think I've mentioned before that I have a bit of a fascination with stuffing vegetables. So with a kabocha on hand and chicken stock left from trying out a black chicken (silkie) Chinese herbal soup, it popped into my head that these two dishes, baked kabocha and takikomi gohan, already great on their own would go together marvelously--like...rice in a bowl...ahem.

And I was right! Pictured above is my finished takikomi gohan, fluffed after steaming. Takikomi gohan is really just steamed rice using a stock of some sort with other ingredients and seasoning tossed in. If you have some harder ingredients, like carrots, gobou (burdock root), or lotus root, you may want to parboil or pre-stir fry them a bit before steaming to make sure they've softened enough to your liking. Once your rice is ready, you can stuff your (halved and seeded) kabocha and bake it. You will want to cover the halves in foil, though, to avoid a hard, crusty top.

Pictured above is the stuffed kabocha, cooked. You can see the holes in the squash, above, where I prodded them to test for doneness. The photo at the top of this post is before baking.

And below, packed up for lunch, a nice bento. Not so eyecatching as these ones, though.

Takikomi Gohan 炊き込みご飯

2 cups (the smaller cup that comes with a rice cooker, 1 rice cooker cup = about .75 cups) rice [traditionally sticky rice but other rices work fine]
2 medium carrots, julienned
~9 oz. fried tofu, julienned
[and/or try cooked chicken, turkey, or other protein]
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked 30+ minutes, sliced
[other ingredients to try: bamboo shoots, gobou/burdock root, konnyaku/konjac, soybeans, other legumes, fried gluten, anything]

Flavoring Ingredients
enough chicken stock and/or dashi [or vegetable stock for vegetarians] to fill rice cooker pot to the 2 mark (with rice in pot also)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 TBS rice wine

Optional Garnishes
Scallions, chopped
Snow peas, julienned
Cucumber, julienned
  1. Soak, cut, and cook ingredients as needed.
  2. Add rice to rice cooker pot. Pour in stock up to the 2 mark. Add in the remaining Flavoring Ingredients and stir to distribute.
  3. Toss other ingredients (carrots, mushrooms, tofu, etc.) together and add to pot over the rice and stock, distributing them evenly over the surface.
  4. Let the rice cooker do its thing on the normal cook setting. Once the cooker signals it’s finished, let the rice sit several minutes before opening up the cooker to fluff and mix the ingredients together. Use rice paddle to distribute in individual bowls, add optional garnishes, and serve.
--of course, don't serve it quite yet if you want to stuff some squash with your rice.

Stuffed Kabocha

1 medium kabocha
stuffing ingredients (in this case the takikomi gohan)
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Wash, halve, and seed the kabocha. Place halves hollow-up on a foil lined baking tray.
  3. Fill kabocha halves with your cooked stuffing (the rice) and cover with foil to keep top from drying and hardening.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until kabocha is easily pierced with a fork. Kabocha is a soft-skinned squash, so once it's cooked you can just dig right in, skin and all.


  1. STUNNING! There are few things I love more than takikomi gohan, but it never would have occurred to me to do this. So lovely.

    1. Thanks, Lola! It's brilliant, I tell you.