Winter Squash, by Kai Chan

There are at least ten types of winter squash, with different colours and shapes. I like to have a collection of them in the house to cheer me up, especially in the gloomy winter days. Most of them could be used to make soups or pies.  I also like to have them as vegetables.

Butternut squash has tan skin colour with a slim neck and bulbous bottom and is one of my favourites. Peel the skin until the bright orange flesh appears. Cut crosswise into 1/4 inches slices, remove the pulp and seeds and fry the slices in olive oil, about a couple of minutes each side, until tender. Salt and pepper to taste, squeeze some lemon juice over and garnish with cilantro.  It has a nice zingy light sweet taste.
Buttercup squash (Kabocha, the Japanese squash is similar to this type) is the first squash I was introduced to by a friend in Toronto.  I was taught to cut the squash in half through the poles, remove the pulp and seeds, add some sugar and butter, and bake at 375 degrees (F) for about 45 minutes. Eat the flesh and discard the skin. I like its rich nutty taste very much.

Recently I have adapted a cooking method for Kabocha squash from my Japanese friend. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds and pulp. Randomly peel about half of the skin to expose the flesh leaving the rest of the skin intact. Cut the squash into small chucks about 1 inch square. Put a little vegetable oil in a cooking pot, add the cut up squash parts and some salt. Cover the pot with a lid and cook with medium heat for about 5 to 6 minutes, stir a couple of times. When it is tender enough to bite into but still al dente, it is done.The colours and the texture of the flesh and the skin taste wonderful together, as well as looking very beautiful.



The Raw and the Cooked, MYTHOLOGIQUES is a new column on the culture of eating and cooking, with contributions by various authors. The column name is borrowed from the title of a book by Claude Levi-Strauss. It is spontaneous, a little amusing but serious at the same time.

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