Kabocha is naturally sweet with a smooth velvety texture, which makes it perfect for making Korean pumpkin porridge (hobakjuk). This porridge is so comforting that it makes me think of lazy days spent in a warm and cozy bed. It's especially satisfying to cook and eat on cold fall or winter days. Sweet rice balls (known as tang yuan in Chinese or Taiwanese cuisine) are typically served with this pumpkin porridge. They add a chewy but soft texture to the dish and are super easy to make. When hobakjuk and tang yuan meet, I can't resist.
If you'd like to take part in some Chinese New Year fun, you can use beet juice or food coloring to add color to 1/4 of the sweet rice flour dough before shaping them into balls.
To reheat the porridge, heat the kabocha squash puree separately in a saucepan on low heat, stirring every so often. You can gently heat already cooked sweet rice balls in hot water before adding to the porridge or freeze uncooked rice balls for a later date.