Remove the skin and seeds from the kabocha, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Place the kabocha in a heat-resistant container, wrap in plastic wrap, then microwave for about 5 minutes. Leave in the microwave to steam in residual heat, then mash with a fork.
The microwave time is an approximate for about 1/3 of a kabocha squash. Adjust according to the amount of kabocha you use.
I mashed the kabocha squash and mixed it in with the other ingredients in order to color the buns, but you can also chop the kabocha into 5- 8 mm cubes and toss into the batter.
Prepare the steamer.
Beat an egg in a bowl, add the milk, and mix.
Add the Step 6 batter to the bowl, add the steamed kabocha and mix well.
Fill the muffin cups 60 - 70% full with the batter.
Once the steamer starts to steam, arrange the muffin cups in the steamer, steam for 10 to 15 minutes, then they're done when a skewer inserted in the middle of the buns comes out clean.
For children who are still too young to have milk, substitute with baby formula.
The proportion of batter (egg, milk, and pancake mix) to kabocha squash should be 1/4 of the batter per 25 g of kabocha.
I also recommend dividing the batter into several portions before adding the kabocha, and substitute different ingredients, that way you can get a variety of buns from a single batch.
Story Behind this Recipe
This is a variation of my steamed banana buns.
Since the steaming time varies depending on the size of the muffin cups and/or how much you fill them, check on them after ten minutes and adjust the time accordingly. One 200 g bag of pancake mix makes about 8 buns. You can freeze the leftovers, so they're convenient for a quick breakfast or snack.