Chef Jazz Singsanong





Thai Pumpkin 3 Ways







For this special Halloween issue, Chef Jazz of Jitlada, the celebrated Southern Thai restaurant in East Hollywood, shares three ideas for how to cook with a Thai pumpkin, or Kabocha squash. Once your ingredients are prepped, each dish takes 5 minutes to make. “I have never measured anything in my life,” says Jazz. So don’t worry about precise measurements.

The starting point here is the pumpkin, so you want to get a Kabocha squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and cut it into one-inch cubes. No need to peel. Boil the squash for about 10 minutes or until it’s soft, and then drain it and set it aside. You can use it for any of the following dishes.



















Spicy Basil with Pumpkin and Tofu (vegan)


  • 1/2 medium Kabocha squash, prepared as described above
  • 9-10 ounces firm tofu cut into bite sized triangles, 1/2 inch thick, no need to press
  • 5-6 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons thai chilis, minced
  • 3 serrano chili peppers, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 4-5 kaffir lime leaves, rolled tightly and very thinly sliced
  • handful of Thai basil, plucked from stems
  • 3 ounces vegetable oil
  • 2 ounces thin soy sauce (Kwong Hung Seng Sauce or Happy Boy)
  • 2 ounces “Seasoning” sauce (Maggi or Golden Mountain)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar


Bring water to a boil and boil your squash for 10 minutes or until soft. Jazz suggests steaming your tofu, or plunging it into hot water for a couple minutes, to get it started. Be gentle with the tofu, and if you parboil it, strain it before adding to the wok.

Heat up your wok. Jazz says: “The pan has to be very hot!” At this point things move quickly.

Add the vegetable oil and when it’s hot, add your garlic and thai chilis to the wok. Jazz uses a soup spoon (like a ramen spoon) and puts two heaping spoonfuls of minced garlic and one heaping spoonful of minced Thai chilis into the wok. When it’s fragrant, add the tofu and give it a gentle toss with the garlic and chili. Then gently add your steamed pumpkin to the wok. Add the seasoning sauce + thin soy sauce (50/50 however much you use), the sliced serranos, and stir it all around. You can always add a couple spoonfulls of water to the wok. Add the sugar, stir, and then add your bell peppers for some color. Give it a toss and let it cook for 30 seconds. Add the kaffir lime leaves, toss, and finally toss in the handful of Thai basil. Give it a final quick toss and then plate the meal. Serve with rice. 







Spicy Basil with Pumpkin and Ground Chicken


Most of the ingredients in this dish are similar to the one above, except for this one you’re going to add chicken, thinly sliced lemongrass, and oyster sauce.


  • 1/2 medium Kabocha squash, prepared as described above
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 5-6 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons thai chilis, minced
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, very thinly sliced
  • 3 serrano chili peppers, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 4-5 kaffir lime leaves, rolled tightly and very thinly sliced
  • handful of Thai basil, plucked from stems
  • 3 ounces vegetable oil
  • 2 ounces thin soy sauce (Kwong Hung Seng Sauce or Happy Boy)
  • 2 ounces “Seasoning” sauce (Maggi or Golden Mountain)
  • 2 ounces of oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • white pepper

When your wok is hot, add the vegetable oil, give it a moment, and then add the garlic and Thai chilis to the wok, followed by the lemongrass. When it’s fragrant, add the ground chicken, spread it around the wok, and give it a toss. Add the thin soy sauce,  seasoning sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Stir to keep things moving. Add the pumpkin and serranos. Gently toss. Add a spoonful of water, shake the pan, and add your bell peppers for color. Give it a sec and then add your kaffir lime leaves and about ten dashes of white pepper. Gently stir. Finally, add a big handful of Thai basil, give it a final toss, and plate.  





Pumpkin in Sweet Coconut Milk


This one’s a dessert to serve in a bowl, and you can use the same pre-boiled Kabocha as above.

  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups coconut cream (some reserved for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Kabocha squash, cut into 1-inch cubes, boiled for 1omin


Reserve some coconut cream to drizzle as a garnish, and pour the rest into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the water. Add the two sugars, and the salt, and stir to dissolve. Cook for a few minutes. Taste for sweetness. Add the pumpkin, cook for a minute or two and then ladle into small soup bowls.

Drizzle with the reserved coconut cream. 





Love what you cook and cook with love.” — Jazz





︎