Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kaddo (Afghan Pumpkin with Yogurt and Tomato Sauces)

One of my favorite places to bring visitors to Boston is this Afghan restaurant in Cambridge called The Helmand.  Usually, it's the first time any of them have had Afghan food, and I love introducing them to the signature appetizer there, the kaddo.  It's a "pan-fried then baked baby pumpkin seasoned with sugar and served on yogurt garlic sauce, topped with ground beef sauce."  It sounds like a pretty strange flavor combination and is unlike anything else I've ever tasted, but it's absolutely delicious.

I've had kaddo at another Afghan restaurant before, and it was definitely less sweet, so my guess is that the version served at The Helmand has been "Americanized".  I found this recipe on Chowhound that gives a range for the amount of sugar to add and also suggests a vegetarian version.  I didn't add the dried mint to the yogurt sauce because I didn't have any, and I reduced the amount of onions for the tomato sauce.  Despite the changes, I was really impressed with how close this recipe is to what they serve at The Helmand.

Kaddo (Afghan Pumpkin with Yogurt and Tomato Sauces)
serves 4 as an appetizer

2 - 2 1/2 pound sugar pumpkin
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 -1 1/2 cups sugar (I used about 2/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried mint (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven at 350°F.

Cut the pumpkin into quarters. Remove seeds and strings, peel the skin with a vegetable peeler, and cut down into about 2-inch chunks.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a dutch oven.  Brown the pumpkin pieces, turning frequently, until golden brown.

Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over pumpkin. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender.

Mix together yogurt with the mint (if using) and crushed garlic in a bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and cook the onions until lightly browned. Add the garlic, coriander, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Mix well and cook until the spices are toasted and fragrant.  Add tomato sauce and water, mix thoroughly and bring to a simmer.  Lower heat and cook about 20 minutes until it cooks down to a thick sauce.

Serve the pumpkin with the yogurt and tomato sauces.

Next:  My Mom's Taiwanese Sticky Rice
Previously:  Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)
Last year:  Miso Marinated Black Cod

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