The Miracle of Kabocha

Written by Juan Antonio

The Miracle of Kabocha’ tells a story about a young man who suffers from an overactive bladder problem, and the stress which follows. However, his life changed for the better after one fateful meeting. This is a final project for the Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals course in the Food Science and Nutrition study program in Indonesia International Institute for Life Sciences (i3L).

Overactive bladder, also known as OAB, is a condition in which the patient experiences a frequent and sudden urge to urinate that can be difficult to control. This condition leads to numerous negative side effects such as embarrassment, stress, anxiety and self-isolation. Fortunately, we can easily circumvent this problem through different behavioral strategies, such as timed voiding and bladder-holding techniques. However, one easier proven solution is by changing our dietary intake alone.

The Kabocha pumpkin is a type of winter squash derived from the local Japanese variety of the species Cucurbita maxima, thus it is better known as the Japanese pumpkin in Indonesia. The Kabocha has a very sweet flavor with texture and flavor similar to pumpkin and sweet potato. Thus, it is very suitable for making sweet-based soup and other desserts alike. Not only that it is tasty, it also comes with proven health benefits due to its nutritional composition.

The Kabocha pumpkin contains a natural rich source of pumpkin seed oil which is abundant in vitamins, minerals (such as iron, zinc, magnesium) and essential oils (such as linoleic acid, oleic acid), amino acids and microelements. Nishimura et al. (2014) reported that the sitosterols contained in the seed oil are responsible for alleviating OAB disorders. The Kabocha pumpkin also has one more trick up its leafy sleeve, and that is its high source of L-tryptophan amino acid. Specifically, this amino acid has been characterized for its ability to improve mood by decreasing stress and anxiety measures (Hudson et al., 2007).

From the video, we have learned that food is not just a calorie fulfilling substance but it can also have extra benefits to improve our health. Now, we would like to share with you our secret recipe for the Kabocha pumpkin soup so that everyone can taste its delicious flavor and get the health benefits it provides. We hope that everyone can enjoy this little tasty dessert treat amidst this rainy season. Last but not least, stay healthy, stay miraculous, and stay Kabocha!

The ‘Kabocha Soup with Rice Balls Toppings’ homemade recipe can be found below:

Ingredients:

Kabocha soup (w/ pumpkin seed oil):

  • 120 g kabocha
  • 10 g kabocha seeds
  • 40-60 g water
  • 30 g maple syrup/honey
  • a small pinch cinnamon powder
  • 1 grain cardamom

Rice balls:

  • 50 g rice flour
  • 50 g tofu

Procedure:

  1. Cut the pumpkin into bite-sized pieces. Boil the pumpkin in a pot of boiling water until it is soft. Drain the pumpkin completely and crush it with a fork while it is still hot.
  2. Next, blend the pumpkin seed into a paste texture, heat the paste in a bowl in a hot bath, and strain the oil from the pumpkin paste using cheesecloth.
  3. Add water to the crushed pumpkin to the desired consistency and put the pot on the stove to heat (use small heat). Add maple syrup or honey, cinnamon powder, cardamom, and pumpkin seed oil into the pumpkin mixture.
  4. To make the rice balls, mix the rice flour and tofu in a bowl by hand and divide the mixture into small balls. Boil the shaped small balls in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes. After it is soft and perfectly cooked, place the rice balls in cold water.
  5. Pour the Kabocha soup into a bowl and place the cooked rice balls in the Kabocha soup.
  6. Kabocha soup is ready to serve (best served while warm!).

 

References:

Hudson, C., Hudson, S., & MacKenzie, J. (2007). Protein-source tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for social anxiety disorder: a pilot study. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 85(9), 928-932.

Laseter, E. (2017). What is Kabocha Squash (Japanese Pumpkin)?. Cooking Light. Retrieved 4 March 2021, from https://www.cookinglight.com/food/in-season/what-is-kabocha-squash.

Nishimura, M., Ohkawara, T., Sato, H., Takeda, H., & Nishihira, J. (2014). Pumpkin seed oil extracted from Cucurbita maxima improves urinary disorder in human overactive bladder. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 4(1), 72-74.

Overactive Bladder: Symptoms and Causes. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 4 March 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/overactive-bladder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355715.

Vegetable Notes for Vegetable Farmers in Massachusetts. (2017). UMASS Extension, 18(4), 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2020.

The Miracle of Kabocha.

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