Peel the kabocha squash, remove the seeds, and cut into bite-size pieces. Put the pieces in a bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave for 6-7 minutes until soft.
Dissolve gelatin in water.
Put the ● ingredients in a pot and heat, but do not let it come to a boil (Just until the sugar melts). Turn off the heat, add gelatin from Step 2, and mix well.
Combine the kabocha from Step 1 and the mixture from Step 3 into a mixer. Add vanilla essence and beat well until smooth. Pour the pudding mixture through a strainer.
Pour into cups and chill well in the refrigerator until firm. You can serve this pudding with caramel sauce if you want (the photo shows it with the caramel sauce added).
(Easy Caramel Sauce) Put 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water into a heatproof bowl. Microwave for 2-3 minutes. When it reaches the color you desire, add 1 tablespoon of boiling water and stir quickly.
The kabocha pudding will be glossy soft-textured, and rich.
Story Behind this Recipe
I always make pudding when kabocha squash is in season. I usually make this pudding in the oven, but I wanted to try making it with gelatin to reduce the time and effort.
If you will be pouring caramel sauce into the bottom of the cups, pour in the sauce while it's still hot and refrigerate the cups until well chilled. Then pour in the pudding. You can also pour caramel sauce over the pudding and eat it that way. Of course, it's delicious without caramel sauce. The amount of kabocha you use doesn't have to be exact.