A Thai-inspired veggie side dish for the holiday season or any time of year. The soy caramel glaze can be modified by using fish sauce or miso instead of soy sauce, and you can change up the squash too. This is also vegan and gluten-free if using gluten-free soy sauce. Be sure to watch the full video tutorial above before you start!
- 680g (1.5 lb) Kabocha squash (about half a medium squash)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp palm sugar, chopped
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp soy sauce or fish sauce
- 5-6 garlic cloves (or as much as you'd like)
- ¼ tsp ground black or white pepper
Thai Basil oil
- ¼ cup finely julienned Thai or regular basil
- 3 Tbsp neutral flavoured oil
- A pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Scoop out the seeds and fiber from the cavity of the squash with a spoon, then cut into 1-inch wedges (no need to peel it, and watch the video for safe cutting techniques). Place the squash on a large plate.
- Prep the garlic: Cut the root end off the garlic and crush the cloves with the flat of your knife until the cloves are broken into big chunks. Remove the peel, and tear apart or chop any chunks that are too big.
- Make the glaze: In a small pot, add the oil and garlic and turn heat on to medium low. Once the garlic is bubbling, cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until they start to turn golden. Turn off the heat and remove from the oil. Be sure to remove ALL the little bits of garlic otherwise they will burn in the next step.
- To the same pot, add palm sugar and cook until it melts. If you want (see note), keep the sugar cooking a bit longer until the colour darkens slightly (not too much, see video for guide) and then turn off the heat.
- Add soy sauce, (it will splatter vigorously so stand back), and once the splattering settles you can stir to mix. If it is thick, add about 1 Tbsp of water to thin out the glaze so it can be easily brushed onto the squash. Add the pepper, then throw the garlic chunks back in to coat in the glaze.
- Brush this glaze over the squash on both sides, then place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in one layer. Be careful to get as little glaze as possible on the baking sheet cuz it'll just burn in the oven.
- Put the garlic chunks inside the curve of the squash pieces, shaking off excess glaze before placing them down—this will protect them from over-browning.
- Roast for 10 mins, then take the squash out and brush with more glaze on both sides; then roast them for another 10-15 minutes or until fork-tender. If the garlic is starting to get too dark, you can take them out first. To check for doneness, pierce the thickest piece with a fork and it should go right through without resistance.
- While the squash roasts, make the basil oil: Add the basil, a pinch of salt and oil into a mortar and pestle and grind to bruise and blend the basil with the oil. You can also just blend everything in a small food processor, but you may need to make a bit more basil oil than you need to make it blend effectively.
- Assemble. Place the squash on a serving platter in one layer and scatter the garlic pieces on top. Brush or drizzle the remaining glaze on the squash, then drizzle with basil oil. Serve warm or room temperature.
If you chose to caramelize the sugar, then when you add the soy sauce it will splatter aggressively and you will likely need to add water to thin out the glaze. If you don't want to deal with the splattering, or if your palm sugar is already quite dark already, you can just add the soy sauce as soon as the sugar is melted, and you may not need to thin out the glaze at all.
Keywords: vegan, gluten free, holiday, side dish, roasted squash