Who decided breakfast was something you pour out of a box? Or some sort of bar you unwrap and gobble down in three bites? I suppose the early morning rush most of us seem to find ourselves in gave rise to these so-called meals, but I don’t like it. I want something with substance.
Eating breakfast is a habit I have always had, but lately, I have been been delaying meal time. I am not hungry soon after I wake up, and forcing myself to eat just does not cut it. When I am ready to eat, I want something more than what amounts to a snack.
Egg and cheese sandwiches I make at home have been a fairly good solution, but I was getting a bit worn out on them. Grits with butter are in the rotation now that it’s getting cooler, yet still, I was looking for a breakfast meal.
Found it! In this stir-fried kabocha dish, the squash is flavored with a bit of garlic and fish and oyster sauces before it is scrambled with some eggs. Kabocha squash, also called the Japanese pumpkin, has a mild flavor that is not as sweet as a butternut squash and a dense yet fluffy texture.
This was the first time I had worked with a kabocha squash, and almost immediately I was left wondering what I needed to cut the thing open. What do people use to split these open? An ax?
Investing in a good knife is one of the best kitchen purchases I have made, but it was no match for the squash. The knife was immediately stuck, and I had to smash the whole thing down on a piece of tile a few times to get it open. Breaking into a bank might be easier.
Once you get past the squash prep, the rest of the recipe is a breeze. Just cook up the squash with the garlic and sauces, scramble in some eggs, and breakfast or dinner whatever meal you please is served.
In case you are wondering, this Thai dish is also known as phat fak thong sai khai. I think I’ll stick with stir-fried kabocha with eggs. Enjoy!
Stir-Fried Kabocha with Eggs
Yield 4 servings
- 1 kabocha squash (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons olive or other vegetable oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- Prepare the squash by cutting it into quarters, scraping out the seeds and fibers, and cutting the quarters into 1-inch cubes. Kabocha squash skin is edible, so it is not necessary to peel the squash, but you may if you like.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet (use a wok if you have one!) over medium-high heat.
- Add the garlic and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Next add the chopped squash, fish sauce, and oyster sauce to the skillet.
- Add enough water to just cover the squash, then bring to a boil and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is soft and the water has evaporated. This may take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
- When the squash is tender and there is little to no liquid remaining, create a well in the center of the skillet and pour in the eggs.
- Scramble the eggs until just set, then stir everything together so the eggs and squash are evenly distributed throughout the dish.
You can substitute 2 tablespoons of thin soy sauce for the 1 tablespoon of fish sauce if desired. The wide range of cooking time (10-30 minutes) is based on the original recipe (10-15 minutes) and my experience (30 minutes).