Sign In
Sign Up Now

Shaking Kabocha Squash

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Vegetarian
image for Recipe schema

Let Your Friends Try This Recipe!

Why we love it:

This dish is inspired by Charles Phan’s famous Shaking Beef from The Slanted Door in San Francisco. We’ve made it vegetarian and simplified it a bit for a reasonable weeknight meal. The combination of sweet soy sauce and creamy roasted kabocha squash is worth spending a few extra minutes in the kitchen once this week.


  • 1 Kabocha Squash (see substitutions, if concerned about cutting it)
  • 3 Tablespoons Canola Oil (divided)
  • 212 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice (White)
  • 114 cups Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Mirin
  • 1 teaspoon Fish Sauce (use vegan if preferred, or see substitutions)
  • 2 teaspoons White Sugar
  • 2 Limes (zest and juice of 1, the other sliced)
  • 1 Red Onion (small and thinly sliced)
  • 5 Green Onions (or up to 2x more, if you have more hanging around)
  • 2 Roma Tomatos
  • 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter (divided)
  • 3 cups Arugula

Cooking Instructions

  • 2. KABOCHA

    Using a very sturdy knife and stable work surface, cut it in half. You do have to get the knife wedged in and as long as it’s not rolling all over the place, you can use the heel of your hand to knock on the knife.

    When it splits, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Now, use a damp edge of a towel and wipe down the skin. Use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel off any knobby parts of the skin, but most of it you can leave on! The “knobby” parts look like cement attached. Seriously, these things are a fortress.

    One at a time, place the cut and scooped sides face down and cut into wedges. Aim for about 1-2” thick. Then cut into squares. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the other side.

    Toss with a Tablespoon or so of oil and a teaspoon each of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 17 minutes, stirring at least once.

  • 3. RICE

    Combine the rice, a ½ teaspoon of salt and the water in a small pot with a fitted lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, then stir well and reduce to low. Cover. Steam for 16 minutes or until the rice is tender and water is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let it sit until you’re ready to serve.


    Whisk together all of the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Zest and juice one lime into the sauce. Slice the other lime into wedges and reserve.


    Prep all of the vegetables and set out on a baking sheet or casserole dish by the stove so you’re ready to quickly sauté.

    Thinly slice the red onion (cut in half and place cut side down. Slice WITH the grain...not in to half-moon rounds, but into julienne strips from the top to the bottom of the onion).

    Chop the green onions into ½ inch long pieces, both white and green parts.

    Slice the tomatoes into about 6-8 wedges each.


    When the squash is just about done in the oven, it should be tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and get ready to sauté. Set a 9 x 13 baking dish near the stove to catch the first batch when it’s done.

    Use a large, heavy bottom pan, ideally with shallow sides - so a sauté pan, large cast iron skillet, or even a good wok if you have one.

  • 7. BATCH 1

    Heat the pan over high heat and add 1 teaspoon of canola oil to the pan. When it’s hot and shimmery, add ½ of each of the following - the red onion, green onion, tomatoes and garlic. Cook about 90 seconds, stirring as needed. Add ½ of the soy sauce mixture stir and shake the pan to coat the onions. Finally, add ½ the butter, and shake the pan to distribute evenly and melt.

    Transfer the onions and the sauce to the casserole dish.

  • 8. BATCH 2

    Add another teaspoon of oil to the pan and when it’s hot, add ½ of the squash. Sauté for 2 minutes, then flip and sear the other side. Remove from the sauté pan and place with the cooked onions.

  • 9. BATCH 3

    Repeat with a final teaspoon of oil and the rest of the squash. This time after 2 minutes, add the remaining onions, garlic and tomatoes. Cook for another 2 minutes and add the rest of the soy sauce mixture. Cook 1 minute. Add the rest of the butter.

    Toss everything back together in the sauté pan.

  • 10. SERVING

    Arrange the arugula on a platter or plates, and top with the squash and onions. Pour sauce over top. Serve with rice on the side and garnish with the lime wedges.

Check out our new features!


    be sure to use tamari instead of soy sauce
  • VEGAN:
    omit butter, finish with a dairy free butter or just leave it out. Look for vegan fish sauce or omit it entirely
  • RICE:
    if you don’t want to make rice again, serve with noodles or quinoa. Or serve the beef over a bed or roasted vegetables
    we’ll be honest - kabocha squashes are intimidating and something of a pain to break down. If you can find it pre-sliced, go for it! If you aren’t interested in wrestling it’s knobby, rock solid outsides to taste its unique and delicious insides, use butternut or delicata squash. Acorn squash works too! Raw butternut is usually the most available pre-cubed or sliced from the prepped food section
  • MIRIN:
    if you can’t find mirin in the vinegar or Asian food aisle (or try online) or don’t want to buy it, substitute ¼ cup sherry vinegar or rice vinegar combined with 1 teaspoon honey.

Kid Friendly Version

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Keep some squash outside of the sauce if you don’t have “sauce loving kids” and try it as a dip. Or try with some thicker, hoisin sauce for a dip
  • Serve with plain rice and fruit

For Toddlers

  • Fork mash the squash to serve toddlers
  • Serve with plain rice and fruit

For Choosy Eaters

  • Add tofu or shrimp (if pescatarian)
  • Or, try adding in something like broccoli or mushrooms - any other vegetable that they will also eat since just squash won’t quite be enough
  • Serve with plain rice and fruit

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Mix up the soy sauce mixture
  2. Roast the squash and store for up to 2 days. Warm it in the oven before stir frying the dish
  3. Make the rice
Rate this recipe:
0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Send us feedback

Meal Plans

save time and reduce food waste
Get Your First Meal Plan