Anko (sweet red bean paste, bought from the store)
about 100 g
about 3 tablespoons
Light brown sugar (or white sugar)
a full 1 tablespoon
Remove the skin and seeds from the kabocha squash and cut it into bite sized pieces. Put the pieces in a heat resistant bowl.
Heat the kabocha squash in the microwave for about 5 minutes at 600w. After heating, it turns out best if left to rest in the microwave for a bit (without letting it cool).
While the kabocha squash is still warm, mash it with a fork. Add in milk and sugar and continue to mash.
Add the milk a little at a time and adjust the amount based on how juicy the kabocha squash was. Also feel free to adjust the amount of sugar based on your personal preferences.
Once the kabocha squash pieces are completely mashed, flatten it all out to let it cool down.
Prepare the anko (sweet red bean paste). Split your anko into two bowls, one with the anko to be put inside the sweets and one with the anko to be used as a decoration on top. Note: I used koshi-an (smooth sweet red bean paste) in this recipe.
Once the kabocha squash has cooled, divide it into 12 pieces.
Flatten the kabocha squash pieces into a circle using your hand and place a ball of anko in the middle. Wrap the anko in the kabocha squash.
Form into nice balls.
Place each ball in a piece of saran wrap and twist the top.
Open the saran wrap slowly and carefully. You should have nice lines on the ball like in my picture!
Use your pinky to make a little indent in the top of each ball and place a small 5 mm ball of anko in the indent.
Now you're all done!!
If you place the sweets in containers made for Japanese sweets they'll look like a real traditional sweet sold in stores!!
You can enjoy the kabocha squash flavor even more by leaving out the anko filling and they still are delicious. Plus it's healthy!
These can be saved in the freezer! Split them into small groups and place them in the freezer. You'll look like a great host with fresh Japanese sweets even when you have surprise guests!
In winter: Defrost at room temperature.
In summer: Defrost in the refrigerator .
Story Behind this Recipe
Lately I've been really into using vegetables to make healthy sweets. After seeing a lot of different recipes I tried making my own. And that's how this cute pumpkin shaped Japanese sweet came to be! It turned out looking a bit fancy thanks to the details on top so I decided to post the recipe.
Heat the kabocha squash until it is soft all the way through Add the sugar and milk while the kabocha squash is still hot When wrapping the kabocha squash in saran wrap, twist the wrap until there are nice clear lines in the kabocha squash. You can use koshi-an (smooth sweet red bean paste) or tsubu-an (coarse sweet red bean paste), whichever you like. Any extra anko can be stored in the freezer.