When preparing for Thanksgiving it’s always tempting to go back to old family favorites. About five years ago, I decided that after nearly 30 years of eating the same meal every year, it was time for a change.
To keep things fresh, I started picking a new theme every year to base my Thanksgiving dinner around. Last year my theme was chocolate, the year before it was Mediterranean. This year I’ve really fallen in love with Kabocha pumpkins and have decided to have a pumpkin Thanksgiving this year.
To give you some ideas for your table, I’m going to be posting a Kabocha recipe every week until Thanksgiving.
Kabocha’s are a Japanese variety of pumpkin with green skin and orange flesh. They are sweeter and milder than regular pumpkins and have a texture similar to sweet potatoes. While they tend to show up in most grocery stores around this time of year, if you can’t find one, you can substitute butternut squash.
What sweeter way to get this series started than with a pumpkin dessert? The vibrant pumpkin not only adds a beautiful color, it add an earthy flavor that compliments the rich creamy pudding.
This dish can either be served steaming hot as a creamy soup, or you can chill it to make a luscious pudding.
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup small pearl tapioca (not quick cook)
- 13.5 ounce can of coconut milk
- 1 cup kabocha pumpkin, roughly cut into 1/4" cubes
- Bring the milk and sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Add the tapioca and stir continuously for the first five minutes to prevent clumping. Continue cooking, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the tapioca pearls are almost completely translucent and the mixture is very thick.
- Add the coconut milk and turn down the heat to low. Continue cooking until the tapioca pearls are completely translucent.
- In the meantime, steam the pumpkin until soft enough to mash. Mash the pumpkin. When the tapioca is done, stir in the mashed pumpkin. Serve hot or chilled.
- You can garnish the pudding by using a vegetable peeler to peel thin cross sections of the pumpkin and deep-frying them until crisp.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.