IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Chinese Kabocha Squash Cakes (Nan Gua Bing)

COOK TIME
35 mins
PREP TIME
10 mins
SERVINGS
12
RATE THIS RECIPE
(8)
Megan Zhang
COOK TIME
35 mins
PREP TIME
10 mins
SERVINGS
12
RATE THIS RECIPE
(8)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 kabocha squash, with skin, cut into 2-inch slices, deseeded
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • cups glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Chef notes

    In China, these cakes are a common sweet treat, with different renditions made from other texturally similar gourds or stuffed with fillings like red bean paste. But the ease and simplicity of this three-ingredient version that I've been eating since childhood makes them my go-to. Whip up a batch of these kabocha squash cakes for breakfast or dessert … or just because it's autumn.

    Technique tip: Depending on the moisture level of your squash or pumpkin, you may need slightly more or less flour than noted.

    Preparation

    1.

    Fill a wide pot with 2 inches of water. Place kabocha squash onto a steaming rack, skin-side down, then set the rack inside the pot. Over medium-high heat, bring the pot to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and let the squash steam for about 25 minutes, or until the flesh can be pierced effortlessly with a fork. Turn off the stove and remove the squash from the heat to cool.

    2.

    Remove the skins of the squash and discard. In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to mash the squash flesh into a paste. Add sugar and mix to combine. Add half the glutinous rice flour, using a wooden spoon to incorporate it into the squash mixture. When the mixture becomes resistant to stirring, use clean hands to bring everything together and form a dough. Continue incorporating a couple more tablespoons of flour at a time, until the mixture firms up into a consistency resembling playdough and pulls away cleanly from the edges of the bowl. Continue to knead by hand for a few more minutes to ensure the ingredients are well incorporated. Shape the dough into discs, approximately 3-inches wide and 1/2-inch tall. At this stage, you can optionally coat the cakes in breadcrumbs.

    3.

    To a nonstick pan over medium heat, add vegetable oil. When the pan is hot, add the cakes in a single layer and let cook for 4 minutes, or until golden-brown. Flip the cakes and cook for another 4 minutes on the opposite side, or until golden-brown. Transfer the cakes to a plate and enjoy while warm!