Cut the pumpkin (kabocha squash) into quadrants. Remove the seeds and stringy bits with a knife and/or spoon.
Place the pumpkin into a steamer and steam them over rolling boiling water until the pumpkin is tender and soft. Cool down the pumpkin until it’s easy to handle. Cut the skin off from the flesh and discard. Chop the pumpkin into smaller chunks.
Place the pumpkin, water (3 cups), sugar and the salt into a blender. Blend it until pureed. Pour the liquefied pumpkin into a medium size saucepan and boil it over medium high heat for 10 mins. Stir it often to avoid it burning.
Combine and mix the sweet rice flour and the water (3 Tbsp) in a small bowl. It should be a sticky gluey texture. Gradually pour it in to the pumpkin porridge and stir it consistently to avoid lumps. Simmer the porridge over low heat for a further 3 mins. Remove it from the heat and serve. (Optionally, garnish with some rice cake balls.)The porridge can be served warm or cold. The unused portion can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for a month. It reheats well in a microwave but make sure you cover with a microwaveable lid to avoid a messy clean up afterwards.
HOW TO MAKE RICE CAKE BALLS
Combine the sweet rice flour and salt. Gradually pour the hot water over them and start kneading with your hands. (Watch out for the hot temperature. Though it cools down fast. You can use a mixing spoon initially until it’s safe to handle with your hands.) Make a big dough then turn it into a long thin cylinder shaped dough. Break the dough into smaller pieces (allow to make 30 small balls) then roll them on your palm, making small rice cake balls. (You might be tempted to make bigger balls to save your time and labor, but small balls taste better and it balances out well with the porridge quantity.)
Boil some water in a small pot. Once the water is rapidly boiling gently drop in the rice cake balls. Boil them for about 2 minutes. (They will sink to the bottom at first then they will float as they are cooked.) Scoop out the rice cake balls using a strainer then transfer them into a bowl with (cold) water then set it aside until needed.