Soy Glazed Kabocha with Ground Chicken


Hi. I’m happy that we made it to Wednesday. I’m excited that it’s almost half-way through December. Especially since that means the shortest day of the year is just around the corner.

Soy Glazed Kabocha with Ground Chicken |

That means from there on, longer and warmer days ahead. To help us prepare (at least mentally) for the summer. Wanted to share a song.

Today’s song of the day is by Behrouz. It’s called ‘Endless Summer‘.

If this doesn’t get you feeling like summer when you close your eyes and listen. Not sure what will. But send me your favorite tracks if you have something better. Always looking for new music.

The other thing that I’m always looking for is good food. I was a little skeptical of this dish when I first came across it, but have made it a couple times since.


Soy Glazed Kabocha with Ground Chicken (かぼちゃのそぼろ煮)

I like this dish because:

  • it’s a pretty straight forward and delicious dish
  • close to my ideal ratio is 3:1 carbs to protein, especially if you are eating it with rice
  • the sauce has a very delicate and refined flavor.
    • And it’s thick. If you like a thinner sauce, you can add a bit of water or just not reduce it as much as I did.
    • the not so secret ingredient is ginger.
      • Ginger is not by anymeans overpowering or the star of this dish.
      • it does add a nice spicy and fresh flavor to counter the sweet and salty happenings in this dish
  • The kabocha gives you a subtle hint of sweetness as well as a nice soft texture with each bite. It’s very close to being a boiled potato in terms of consistency.
  • The ground chicken tastes just like chicken. As it should!! It adds it’s own little chewy texture to the mix.
    •  You can substitute the ground chicken with pork or turkey. Not sure that I would use beef since that flavor might be a little too strong here.
  • If you like butternut squash you’ll probably like kabocha; not sure that I would substitute since the flavors are a little different.

Cooking Tip

To soften kabocha, or any pumpkin, really, did you know you can microwave it to soften the flesh? I usually throw a whole pumpkin in the microwave for about 5-6 minutes on high. Be careful, though, not to let it get too hot!

Here is a video I made showing how to make it:

YouTube player

I hope that is proof enough, how easily this dish can be made. Just like my previous post for sunomono

Lastly, if you’re curious what else you can make with kabocha, you could use the other half for kabocha soup (the one I made).


For those keen on getting started cooking Japanese food, I’ve put together a quick reference on Japanese Food Supplies that can help get you started! Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet!


Soy Glazed Kabocha with Ground Chicken

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 1 pound kabocha (cut into wedges ~ 1in. Roughly 3.5 cups)
  • 1/4 pound ground chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger (grated)


  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons mirin
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup water


  • 1.5 teaspoons katakuriko (potato flour starch or corn starch)
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Wash and microwave the kabocha to soften it. ~ 5-6 minutes for a full size kabocha.
  2. Cut in half. Cut and measure out about 1 pound of kabocha. Roughy 3.5 cups worth. Set aside.
  3. Using a large skillet on medium heat add olive oil and ginger. Cook for about 20-30 seconds and add ground chicken. Cook until chicken is mostly cooked. A little pink is okay.
  4. Add in all of the sauce ingredients, kabocha, and mix. Cover and let cook for at least 15 minutes, mixing at least once half way through.
  5. Check to see pumpkin is cooked through using a fork or chopstick. (It should go all the way through the flesh) If not cook a few minutes longer.
  6. Using a slotted spoon remove all the pumpkin and most of the chicken out of the skillet onto a serving plate.
  7. Add in the dissolved thickener and cook for another minute or so. Ensure the starch is mixed thoroughly, you should see the sauce thicken up.
  8. Once it has thickened pour over the kabocha and chicken on the serving plate. Eat with rice!

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6 thoughts on “Soy Glazed Kabocha with Ground Chicken”

  1. Nice recipe, I am planning to try it this week: I just happen to have a kabocha squash in my pantry (funnily enough in France we call it “shiatsu squash”). Two questions:
    1) I understand microwaving the squash will make cutting it easier, but is it absolutely necessary ?
    2) I do not have mirin at hand. Difficult to find where I live. I would have to order it… or wait for my Japanese daughter-in-law to bring some back for me ^^. I can’t really substitute it with alcohol because of sulfite issues, except rum. Will it drastically change the taste if I do without?

    1. Hi Joelle, thank you. I wonder how it got that name!! Microwaving the squash is not necessary, just be careful cutting it. It can be very hard. Microwaving only cooks it slightly, but allows your knife to slide right through without much pressure.
      I did some research and probably wouldnt recommend trying to substitute mirin. it seems like people use a sake/sugar mix, but flavor wise its definitely not equivalent. if possible I would hold off until you can get the real thing! it can be used for all kinds of dishes so wont just be sitting in your pantry !! 🙂

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Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, checkout some of the newestorganic japanese teas now in stock!!

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