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Kabocha Pumpkin Yokan

This bright orange kabocha yokan is a Japanese treat made with kabocha and agar-agar. This dessert is healthy, quick, easy, vegan-friendly, and gluten-free.
(1) Ingredients for kabocha yokan: kabocha, agar-agar powder, and sugar. (2) Mashed kabocha and boiled agar-agar. (3) Kabocha yokan mixture from mashed kabocha and boiled agar-agar. (4) Kabocha yokan poured into a loaf pan to set.

(1) Ingredients for kabocha yokan: kabocha, agar-agar powder, and sugar. (2) Mashed kabocha and boiled agar-agar. (3) Kabocha yokan mixture from mashed kabocha and boiled agar-agar. (4) Kabocha yokan poured into a loaf pan to set.

Do you know that kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) is sweeter than your average pumpkin, even sweeter than butternut squash, and therefore, perfect to be turned into sweet treats? One of my favorite wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) is yokan, and today we’ll be making some kabocha pumpkin yokan. :)

What is yokan?

Yokan (羊羹) is one type of Japanese traditional confectionery/sweets (wagashi) made from a paste, agar-agar, and sugar. Most yokans are sold in a block and then cut into small slices/cubes to be enjoyed.

Some of the popular ingredients in Japanese yokan:

  • red bean/azuki (小豆). This is the most common yokan you will find in Japan. Most often added into yokan as red bean paste, though some yokan also contain sweetened whole beans. I have previously shared my recipe for mizu yokan
  • white bean (白いんげん豆). Probably the second most popular yokan ingredient. This will naturally have a white color and is the reason why many flavorings are added to this, such as green tea (緑茶, or 抹茶), black tea (紅茶), coffee, and even white miso (白みそ).
  • chestnut (栗). Mostly scattered into red bean yokan.
  • sweet potato (サツマイモ)
  • pumpkin/kabocha (カボチャ)
  • persimmon (柿)

As you can surmise from the ingredients, yokan is vegan-friendly, and completely gluten-free too. So this is a perfect treat that almost everyone can enjoy. :)

A loaf of kabocha pumpkin yokan.

A loaf of kabocha pumpkin yokan.

What are the ingredients for a kabocha pumpkin yokan?

You will need:

  • 500 gram kabocha pumpkin meat
  • 1 teaspoon agar-agar powder. I use Now Food agar powder.
  • 100 gram (12 cup) sugar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • 14 teaspoon salt

If you need help to prepare a whole kabocha pumpkin, please read my detailed guide from this simmered kabocha in shio koji article.

Cut fully set kabocha yokan into serving slices.

Cut fully set kabocha yokan into serving slices.

How to prepare yokan?

1. Kabocha puree.

First, steam kabocha meat until soft enough to be mashed. Use a fork, or a food processor, to turn the steamed kabocha into kabocha puree.

2. Prepare agar-agar.

Boil together water and agar-agar in a small pot, then add sugar and salt and boil until sugar is completely dissolved.

3. Mix kabocha with agar.

Remove the pot from heat, then stir in kabocha puree into the agar-agar mixture until smooth.

4. Let the yokan set.

Pour the mixture into a loaf pan (I use an 8”x4” loaf pan), use a spatula to smooth the mixture, and then chill in the fridge until set. About 1 hour.

Slices of kabocha yokan. Yokan is the perfect healthy treat for a cup of Japanese hot tea.

Slices of kabocha yokan. Yokan is the perfect healthy treat for a cup of Japanese hot tea.

Serving yokan

When you want to serve the yokan, gently run a thin blade around the loaf pan to loosen the yokan, then cover the pan with a plate and flip. The yokan become loose and drop on the plate.

I cut one loaf of yokan into 16 pieces, and serve each person with a hot cup of tea and two pieces of yokan.

Any leftover yokan can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Kabocha Pumpkin Yokan

5.0 from 4 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Serves: 12

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 500 gram kabocha pumpkin meat
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • 1 teaspoon agar-agar powder
  • 100 gram (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Kabocha puree. First, steam kabocha meat until soft enough to be mashed. Use a fork, or a food processor, to turn the steamed kabocha into kabocha puree.
  2. Prepare agar-agar. Boil together water and agar-agar in a small pot, then add sugar and salt and boil until sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Mix kabocha with agar. Remove the pot from heat, then stir in kabocha puree into the agar-agar mixture until smooth.
  4. Let the yokan set. Pour the mixture into a loaf pan (I use an 8”x4” loaf pan), use a spatula to smooth the mixture, and then chill in the fridge until set. About 1 hour.
  5. Serving. Gently run a thin blade around the loaf pan to loosen the yokan, then cover the pan with a plate and flip. The yokan become loose and drop on the plate.
  6. Storing. Any leftover yokan can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • elena elena says:

    Delicious and easy to make!

  • Whitney Zamiar Whitney Zamiar says:

    It makes a beautiful presentation and I can't wait to try it out. Where do you usually find a kabocha pumpkin?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Whitney, if you live in the US, kabocha is usually available in the Asian/Chinese/Japanese grocery stores in the fresh produce section. I've also spotted kabocha in more mainstream grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

  • Cathleen Cathleen says:

    Wow, I love how smooth this looks!! And with only 5 ingredients? Count me in for sure!!

  • Alisa Infanti Alisa Infanti says:

    This looks really intersesting and a great new way to eat pumpkin!

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