Kabocha are Japanese squashes that
look like runty, dark green pumpkins. When you cut them
open, the insides are yellow-orange and, for a squash,
very sweet. It's also fairly versatile, turning up in
vegetable dishes, soups, tempura, and so on.
To steam a kabocha, first scrub it with
a potato scrubber so the skin is clean, then stick the
entire thing in a steamer and steam it on medium
high for about 10 minutes. Take it out and run a little
cool water over it to cool it just to the point where
you can handle it, then peel strips of its skin to give
it a stripy appearance. Don't peel all of the skin off,
as it's flavorful, not to mention that that would be
hard to do because of its rough surface.
After that's done cut the squash in
half, remove the seeds (which can become toasted
kabocha seeds!), and cut the squash into bite-sized
chunks, which for me is about a cubic inch. Put 'em
back in the steamer and steam them on high for another
two minutes, then lower the temperature and continue
steaming for another 10 minutes or so. It's done when
the pieces are tender enough to stick a fork into.
You can season the squash as you like
before or after the final steaming. I've seen recipes
that involved salt, olive oil, pepper, et cetera - but
I think it's good just as it is, and I recommend making
it au naturel at least once so you can get a
feel for the flavor of the kabocha itself.