Friday, January 22, 2010

Seoul Cooking: Hobak 호박 (Pumpkin) Chili

Here's my recipe for hobak chili. I invented this one evening when we were having a vegetarian coworker of M's over for dinner. It's very similar to other squash chili recipes that I've made in the past, except that I prefer this one because of the chestnutty taste of the hobak. It also thickens up the chili nicely.

My understanding is that "hobak" is a general term for squash and thus includes zucchini, but here it refers to kabocha.

Hobak chili

2-3 cups kabocha squash, cubed (you can leave the skin on)
one large onion, chopped
one carrot, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can stewed tomatoes, chopped, with juice
3 "regular size" (15.5 oz?) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
chili flakes, to taste (I used gochu karu, Korean dried ground red chili)
2 generous spoons (I used regular spoons) ground cumin
salt to taste - generous teaspoon?
ground black pepper to taste
garnishes: chopped scallions; sour cream

In a large pot, sautee the onions and garlic until soft. Add the carrot and sautee. When the carrot is half cooked or so add the squash, stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the seasonings: red pepper powder, cumin, salt, black pepper. Finally, add the tomatoes and a couple cups of water (?) to cover the ingredients. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is soft, the chili thickens up and the flavors meld. Taste and adjust for seasonings.

Serve with sour cream, green onions, and saltines, if you like.

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