Thai Kabocha squash stir fry is a tasty dish and can be eaten as a complete meal all on its own. The ingredients are minimal and can be found at your local market without visiting your Asian grocery store. It's a healthy and tasty dish with scrambled eggs for added protein!
Check out my popular Red Thai curry with chicken and kabocha squash with full instructions and pictures on how to cut the squash. For dessert, make this Kabocha squash coconut dessert with coconut cream. Both are tasty recipes that use kabocha squash!
Kabocha squash is a type of winter squash with dark green skin, and the flesh of the squash is a bright, beautiful yellow color. They are best around late fall and winter. Once cooked, the squash is sweet with a rich, velvety texture and a sweet and lightly nutty taste.
They are also called Japanese squash and are used in many recipes in Japanese cooking. In Thai cooking, they are used for making curries, desserts, soups, and stir-fries.
When introducing my Western friends to Thai food, I like using kabocha squash in curries like this red curry. The sweet and creamy texture of the squash helps the heat from the chili peppers, making them the perfect pair to temper the spicy food of Thailand!
They are sold at farmers' markets, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods stores.
Why this recipe works
- It’s simple, and all the ingredients are easy to find!
- Kabocha squash is healthy and a great source of carbs! They are one of the best healthy foods for cooking.
- It’s perfect as a side dish for a large holiday gathering. Think Thanksgiving or Christmas!
- This dish is perfect as a breakfast dish. It’ll keep you full for a while!
- For a vegan and vegetarian version, substitute oyster sauce for miso paste and firm tofu for eggs.
Ingredients for Kabocha Squash Stir Fry
Oil. Use high-smoking oil that can handle high heat well, like avocado, vegetable, coconut, or canola oil. My favorite is the coconut oil for this recipe. They are so fragrant together! No olive oil.
Eggs. Chicken or duck eggs will work.
Garlic. Minced but not too finely
Kabocha squash. Substitute butternut squash or Cinderella squash. The flavors will change slightly, but it will work if you can't find kabocha squash.
Water. Use unsalted mushrooms, chicken broth, or vegetable broth for extra flavors.
Oyster sauce. I used my Thai oyster sauce, Maekrua, but any brand you have is fine, too.
Soy sauce. I used light soy sauce, a Thai brand. Substitute fish sauce or golden mountain sauce if you have gluten allergies.
Sugar. White, brown, or coconut sugar will work great. Honey, agave, and maple could also work, but I haven't tried using them in this recipe. Let me know if you do!
Ground white pepper. Substitute with black pepper if you are unable to find some.
Thai basil. Substitute Italian basil, but add a few extra leaves for a strong flavor.
How To Make Thai Kabocha Squash Stir-Fry
Step one. Cut the kabocha squash in half, scoop out the interior parts and another thin layer before the firm flesh. Cut the large pieces into thin, long pieces about 1-2 inches. The skin is edible and soft once cooked, but you can peel off the skin if you want to.
Step two. Make the sauce by combining oyster, soy, sugar, and white pepper. Set to the side until ready.
Step three. Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl and set aside until ready.
Step four. Heat a large skillet, a wok, or a large frying pan at medium-high heat. Once hot, add oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook until light golden brown and fragrant—30 seconds or so.
Step five. Add the kabocha squash, stir well with the garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes until some kabocha pieces are lightly browned.
Step six. Move the kabocha to the sides of the pan, like a volcano crater. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the whisked eggs to scramble.
Step seven. Once the eggs are lightly scrambled, stir and add the sauce. Stir again.
Step eight. Add ½ cup of water, stir lightly, turn the heat down to medium heat, then cover with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add the rest of the water as necessary.
Step nine. Check the stir fry a few times to ensure enough water in the pan not to burn the squash in the pan. Add more water as necessary, up to 1 ¼ cups. Cook the squash until its fork is tender. Taste the squash to see if it’s done. It should be soft but not mushy.
Step ten. Add basil, stir in, and turn the heat off. Serve warm as a side dish or as a main course with Jasmine rice. Enjoy!
Helpful Kitchen Notes
- The smaller and thinner you cut the squash, the quicker it will cook. They have a similar texture to sweet potato, so the smaller pieces will cook better in stir-fries.
- Add crumbled tofu for a vegetarian version.
- Add crispy bacon with the basil for an extra crunch and flavors! So good with it!
- Add pieces of roasted rotisserie chicken or turkey for extra protein.
- Add more ground peppers, chopped Thai chilis, or chili flakes for a spicy flavor!
- Squeeze fresh lime juice or apple cider vinegar for a bit of zing after plating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! The skin of Kabocha is edible, especially for the younger ones. If your squash is older, the skin will be a darker shade of green. You can peel the skin off before cooking.
Yes, you can, in small doses, but not recommended. Eating raw squash in large quantities can cause an upset belly. If eaten raw, wash it well, peel the skin off, and cut it into thin, long strips before eating it.
Yes, they are the same thing, but they have different names.
More Thai Recipes You'll Love
- Authentic homemade Thai red curry paste
- Authentic Thai red curry recipe
- Authentic homemade Thai red curry paste
- Red Thai curry with chicken and kabocha squash
- Easy red curry green beans with shrimp (Pad Prik King)
- Thai green papaya salad
- Kabocha squash coconut dessert
- Mango Sticky Rice dessert
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