A simple way to prep your pumpkin or kabocha squash for fast main dish cooking, or a way to freeze up large portions for future cooking or baking.
Once there is steam going within the pot, place a half pumpkin or kabocha squash (or large wedges) into the steamer pot, and let it cook (with the pot lid on) for 15-20 minutes or until just cooked through. You may turn down the stove heat setting to medium-low, as long as there is adequate steady heat to cause continuous steaming inside the pot.
Check at the 15 minute mark to see if the pumpkin or squash is cooked through. You can use a knife to pierce the skin of the pumpkin or squash to see if it goes through easily (the flesh should still be slightly crunchy and not overly soft). If still hard, steam another 5-10 minutes, checking periodically to see if the pumpkin or squash is cooked through.
If you are rushed for time, you can use the high heat setting, but check more frequently to see if the pumpkin or kabocha squash is steamed through just right, instead of being over-cooked and turning too soft.
The key is to not over steam your squash, especially if you plan to use it as an ingredient in another dish. After the 15 minute mark, keep checking every 5-10 minutes by inserting a knife into the flesh of the pumpkin or kabocha squash to see if it is just ‘al dente’ tender done. The knife or fork should insert and can be removed relatively easily. If you have a large pumpkin or kabocha squash on your hands and you only want to steam cook a portion of it, wrap the cut portion of the raw pumpkin or kabocha squash in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge. A freshly cut raw pumpkin or kabocha squash can be kept this way in the fridge for up to a week.