Bright Orange Kabocha-Miso Soup

Kabocha is a Japanese squash similar to American “buttercup.” It’s
become available in the U.S. and it seems sweeter and smoother. Kabocha,
cut in wedges, simmered in a bath of dashi, sugar, mirin, salt, and shoyu is
delicious, but today’s soup is even easier. The squash is steamed then
pureed with a vegetarian broth, spiced deliciously, and enriched with
sweet miso and soy milk to make a simple satisfying soup.Japanese Kabocha Squash SoupMs. Shimbo notes that kabocha came to Japan from it’s native South and
Central America by way of the Portuguese. The Spaniards brought the
pumpkin (and its promiscuous family) to Europe. The Portuguese, who also
had vast worldwide connections (empire aspirations?) opened trade with
Japan. Among the many other things/ideas they introduced to Japan was
this squash. The Japanese asked the Portuguese what the name of this
vegetable was, and understanding the question to be about where the
squash was from, they answered Kampuchea (Cambodia). The Japanese
heard “kabocha,” and so this mis-named vegetable found its way into
the language and cuisine of Japan. A simplified history of the vegetable
used to make this easy but delicious, soup!

Kabocha Squash

Bright Orange Kabocha-Miso Soup

Kabocha no Miso-shiru
serves 4
page 229

  • 12 ounces kabocha squash or buttercup squash,
    seeded but not peeled (about 2 cups?)
  • One 4-inch square kombu,
    soaked in 3 cups water for 1 hour in a medium pot
  • 2 ounces of Japanese long onion (naganegi)
    or leek (about 1/2), sliced
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground coriander (or nutmeg if you like it)
  • a pinch of cayenne, optional
  • 3 Tablespoons Saikyo miso (sweet white miso), or white miso
  • 1/2 cup unflavored soy milk (or cow’s milk)


  • Minced chives

Have a steamer with plenty of water at hit steam production.
Steam the squash until the flesh is soft, about 20 minutes. Use a spoon to
remove and discard any stringy inner flesh. Scrape out the soft smooth
squash and reserve.
Remove the kombu from the pot, and add the long onion slices.
Bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to low, and cook until the leek
or onion is soft.
In a food processor, or with an immersion blender, blend the stock
with the squash to a nice smooth puree. At this point, you can cover
and refrigerate to serve later in the day.
Bring the soup base to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Add the miso,
and heat and stir to dissolve. Add the spices to taste. Add the milk and
heat the soup. Do not boilsoy milk curdles very easily!
Serve in individual bowls garnished with the chives.

Other Soup Recipes from Tess

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Soba Sushi Crisp Chuka Soba with Vegetables and Seafood

3 thoughts on “Bright Orange Kabocha-Miso Soup

  1. This looks lovely. I always use kabocha for pureed pumpkin soups because it’s pretty much the only squash available here (not that I mind), but it’s always a western style soup–never thought of adding Japanese ingredients. The miso is an especially great idea but I wonder if regular miso wouldn’t be better than white. Kabocha itself is plenty sweet so adding white miso, the sweetest type of miso, seems a bit like overkill.

  2. Amy,
    When I’m cooking from my book, I try to use the exact ingredients and measurements the first time I make a recipe. I don’t have a sweet tooth and this soup did not seem overly sweet to me. Sometimes salt makes “sweet” taste sweeter, but it’s worth experimenting. I think Ms. Shimbo really likes Saikyo miso because she calls for it in lots of her recipes!

    (Sometimes I don’t manage to follow the recipe exactly, but I try to note my substitutions and changes… and now re-reading my recipe, I see that it’s not clear that the coriander is my idea because I really hate nutmeg)

  3. Im eating miso soup at this moment.
    It is an already made one that you only need to add water haha.

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