• Rutabaga, Celery, Dill, & Smoked Chicken Soup
  • Matcha Whoopie Pies with Sakura Buttercream Filling
  • Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Portobellos, & Napa Cabbage
  • Mushroom Chicken Pie
  • Pistachio Wasabi Beets
  • Sichuan Chili Oil, and variety of cold-chicken-based lunches
  • Lemony Pea and Radish Salad with Mint
  • The Fort Greene
  • East African Sweet Pea Soup
  • Lazy, Rustic, Haphazard, and Amazing Sour Cherry Pies
  • Malaysian Chicken Satay
  • The Wildman’s iPhone App
  • Welsh Cakes with Dried Apricots and Candied Ginger
  • Farmhouse Pork with Black Beans and Green Peppers (and Trotter Gear)
  • Black Pepper Tofu with Pork
  • Peposo
  • Toasted Hazelnut Chai
  • Kentucky Coffee Spread
  • Banana Guacamole
  • Spicy Shrimp with Wine Rice
  • Double Ginger Chocolate Chunk Scones
  • Artichoke and Blood Orange Salad (with frisee, parsley, and cardamom)
  • Chevre Truffles
  • Clementine Sassafras Ice Cream
  • Jack is Closed (but you can vote for our pie on Sunday)
  • Our Wedding
  • Pecan Mole
  • Son-in-Law Eggs
  • Saffron Turmeric Cake with Meyer Lemon Sorbet, Argan Oil Whipped Cream, Almond Brittle, and Thyme
  • My Triumphant Return, with a Book Giveaway!

« | Main | »

Kaddo Bourani (Pumpkin with Yogurt and Meat Sauces)

Perhaps the best Afghani restaurant I have ever been to is Helmand in Cambridge, MA. Bamiyan in NYC has a special place in my heart, because we discovered it when Dave was trying to keep me fed while I was taking the bar exam, but Helmand won me over with their Kaddo Bourani.

The way Bamiyan makes their Bouranee Kadu, it is sauteed butternut squash with this perfect mint garlic yogurt sauce. I love it, and order it every time I go there. But when I went to Helmand, I found that they called their version Kaddo Bourani, and it was translucent caramelized sugar pumpkin with both that perfect yogurt sauce and a meat sauce on top of that.

Bamiyan’s version is incredibly good; Helmand’s version is a transcendent experience.

I found Helmand’s recipe in the SF Gate archives, and to be honest, I followed it exactly. I couldn’t bring myself to risk disappointment by experimenting too much the first time around.

It worked out perfectly. This is a dish so good it made me shift my Afghani restaurant allegiances. So good that I will probably serve it at my next serious formal dinner. So good that we may have to get a second freezer just so that we can make this dish after pumpkins go out of season. This goes on my shortlist of favorite recipes of all time.

Kaddo Bourani
For the pumpkin
2 Sugar Pie pumpkins, each about 3 pounds
6 tbsp corn oil
3 C sugar
For the yogurt sauce
2 C plain yogurt (we used lowfat, which was fine)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried mint
1/2 tsp salt
For the meat sauce
1/4 C corn oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 large tomato, seeded and finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/3 C water

Make the pumpkin:

It helps to have a serious vegetable cleaver for this bit.

Preheat your oven to 300º.

Wash off the outside of the pumpkins. Cut them in half. Scrape out the stringy stuff on the inside. Cut the halves into 3″-4″ pieces or so. Peel them – you can actually use a regular peeler for this, though it helps to have a sharp paring knife to get the stem and hard-to-reach rind bits off. Peel it deeply enough that you get rid of all the green and rind.

Find a baking pan large enough to hold all the pumpkin pieces in a single layer. Use multiple pans, if need be. Cover the pumpkin pieces in the oil (yes, really, use all of it), and place them hollow side up in the pan(s). Pour the sugar evenly over the pumpkin pieces (yes, really, just grit your teeth and use all of it; if you have a small child, you may find it easier to have them do this part for you, and you can look away until they’re done).

Cover the pan(s) with aluminum foil. Bake for 2 1/2 hours, then baste the pieces with the pan juices, cover them up again, and bake for another 45 minutes.

The sugar will all melt away and end up partially absorbed. The pumpkin pieces will turn dark orange and translucent. They will have a stunningly novel texture. It is a beautiful thing.

Make the yogurt sauce:

Mix all the ingredients together. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Make the meat sauce:

Brown the onions in the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the meat and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until it is broken up into small pieces and the pinkness is almost entirely gone. Add all other ingredients (except for the tomato paste and water) and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes or so. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the water and bring to a boil. (Really, it will probably boil as soon as it touches the pan.) Lower the heat and let simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.


Hot pumpkin, topped with cold yogurt sauce, topped with hot meat sauce.

Post a comment

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

39 Responses to “Kaddo Bourani (Pumpkin with Yogurt and Meat Sauces)”

  1. Stephanie says:

    Wow! I’ve always wanted to try that recipe but was a little freaked out by the sugar quantity (alas, I never got around to going to Helmand while I lived in SF). Good to know it’s a keeper! I’ll definitely try it out this pumpkin season.

  2. shreyas says:

    Thanks for the recipe! This is going on my Thanksgiving menu.

  3. novalis says:

    This comment contains a capital U for URL

  4. Michele says:

    I tried this with just one little change – switched ground quorn for the ground meat since im veg. Absolutely delicious! I think we will add it to the thanksgiving-table-of-too-much!

  5. Danielle says:

    Stephanie – It is pretty scary! But it doesn’t taste nearly so sweet as you’d expect.

    shreyas – Enjoy!

    Michele – I’ve never heard of quorn before. I’m glad to hear that worked out for you! I’ll have to recommend it to my vegetarian friends as a safe alternative.

  6. Kelli says:

    I made this tonight, despite being a bit wary (it doesn’t quite sound like something that would be my style), and it was a huge hit. I was really amazed at how well all the flavors came together.

    Actually, it was “orange food a la Danielle” night; we also had carrot cake. Scrumptious :)

  7. Danielle says:

    Kelli – This comment really made me smile. Thank you for trying the recipe out even though you were wary of it, and thank you for letting me know how it all worked out! I’m so glad you enjoyed everything.

  8. Tom K says:

    I’m eager to try this recipe. Can you suggest some possible sides to go with it for those of us not familiar with afghani cuisine? No need to suggest recipes, just what did/would you pair it with?

  9. Danielle says:

    Tom – It actually works best as an appetizer, so you’d probably do well to match an entree with it, rather than a side. My current favorite Afghani main dish is Fesenjan, which is chicken in a thick, intense pomegranate walnut sauce. Or, I quite like lamb with couscous and caramelized onions. It’s so versatile, though – this could even be an appetizer for a traditional American turkey dinner this Thursday.

  10. nina says:

    My husband & I were in Boston Oct 5th and went to Helmands by accident. We had the Kaddo appetizer with the Dwopiaza entree (Lamb sauteed with yellow split peas,onions garlic mushrooms and pallow (rice)vinegar marinade?) and loved it! Thanks for publishing the recipe! We can’t wait to try it! Also we will go to Helmand next time we go to Boston!

  11. michelle says:

    Helmand’s in SF is my favorite Afghani recipe. After taking my husband there for the first time, and ascertaining that he would like it, I tried the recipe from SF Gate. It’s always surprising how well it turns out every time! I even cheat and use pre-cut sweet potato fries that I drizzle with honey before baking. :)

  12. mox says:

    If you ever get ot the South Bay – try Kabul Restaurant
    in Sunnyvale. They make a fabulous Kaddo.
    Thanks so much, I had been looking for this recipe-
    it is really perfect. Try ground lamb with it, if you’re
    into lamb. I think that’s what Kabul uses.

  13. Danielle says:

    nina – What a very lucky accident!

    michelle – That’s a fascinating cheat. Thanks for the idea.

    mox – Thank you for the recommendations, I’ll definitely check out both the restaurant and the lamb variation.

  14. rachael says:

    the kaddo is my favorite dish serverd at helmand in cambridge, ma. i’d love to make it at home, but pumpkin isn’t always available. has anyone tried butternut squash as a substitute, and if so what adjustments needed to be made/what were the results? thanks!

  15. Danielle says:

    rachael – Why not give it a try? It sounds like it would work.

  16. [...] Appetizers and Snacks French Onion Soup Dumplings Garlic Scape Tartlets Kaddo Bourani (Pumpkin with Yogurt and Meat Sauces) Onion Jam Thumbprint Cookies Roasted Red Pepper Chipotle Egg Rolls with Tzatziki Dipping Sauce Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms (Cheese) Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms (Duck) Sweet Roasted Káposzta Töltött Paprika (Cabbage-Stuffed Peppers) [...]

  17. Lyra says:

    My Afghani colleague (originally from Kabul) makes this recipe in a frying pan, with the raw pumpkin cut up into smaller pieces so it will cook quickly. She also uses substantially less sugar-but then it isnt going to become as transluscent. You can eat it without the meat, and she says that its fine to use acorn squash, but that sugar or pie pumpkins taste best.

  18. Joel says:

    Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I went to Helmand in Cambridge for the first time recently, got the kaddo, and immediately thought, “Wow! How can I make this?” Thanks for answering that question.

  19. Janet says:

    Thank you for publishing this recipe. It’s a quirky wonderful dish-and something we periodically crave (Helmand’s in Cambridge being our supplier). I prefer it without the meat sauce, and with fresh mint in the yogurt. You can also add a touch of cilantro and onion, and ramp up the savory/sweet connection. pomegranate seeds on top add additional color and flavor. With toasted walnuts, a side salad it’s an ample main dish. I also think it’s a wonderful side dish with simple grilled lamb and roasted greens

  20. Rebekah L says:

    What a great recipe! There’s an amazing Afghani restaurant here in the Silicon Valley that my husband and I go to every so often and I always end up wanting more and more and more kadu! I had a big beautiful butternut squash sitting in my kitchen today and I decided that it was time I tried making it into kadu. This was a perfect recipe and my husband and I were duly impressed with the result! It went really well with basmati rice, garlic naan and sauteed brussel sprouts in browned butter. Delicious!

  21. KW Crosby says:

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I can’t wait to try it! We just went to Helmand in Cambridge last weekend and loved it. How great would it be to replace that icky sweet potato/marshmallow gunk with this at Thanksgiving?!

  22. Kai says:

    I made this for our annual family pumpkin spree yesterday, and 19 out of 20 people say it was absolutely delicious.

  23. Dorothy says:

    If the sugar freaks you out, substitute 3.5 cups of bulk splenda for the sugar. Works just as well!!

  24. Marge says:

    I have made this as a side dish for Xmas, part of an Indian buffet to focus on my daughter-in-law’s favorite cuisine. It may well wind up the glorious main dish. It is so tasty and different. I used veggie crumbles in place of meat since I my son and DIL are vegetarians. I can’t wait to enjoy the left overs. I have planned this with a tofu briyania, cumin scented samosas and veggie korma and am very pleased with the variety of flavors.

  25. Marge says:

    I entered this recipe into the NYS Fair culinary arts contest under “favorite ethnic recipe” and won the division with it and am going to the finals Monday. We don’t have pumpkins yet so I used butternut squash. I did tone down the sugar and fat slightly

  26. Danielle says:

    Marge – Wow, congratulations and good luck!

  27. Marge says:

    Hey guys, it won the Grand Prize!!!!

  28. Alice says:

    I made a good vegetarian version of this with french green lentils in the place of ground beef. It was FANTASTIC! Everyone raved about it. I made the beef version too which was wonderful. And I used buttercup squash which is my favorite. Thanks!

  29. Marilyn says:

    I first had this dish in Kabul in Afghanistan in 1975. My son lives in Cambridge, and we just went to Helmand for dinner in October. I live in the US Virgin Islands, and we cannot get pie pumpkins ever, so I stock up on canned pumpkin in October and we have this year round. Canned pumpkin works very well in the recipe although it tends to be a little “wet”. We use this as our main dish for dinner, adding garlic naan (we prefer plain when we can get it), and a grated carrot and raisin salad. Yum!

  30. Wokintime says:

    Yes, I had this dish in Boston and it was unforgettable. I went home and tried to make up my own recipe for it. Almost as good, but not quite. I’m so glad I found this.

    I can never find the right pumpkin so I make it with Kabocha Pumpkin, which works, but still not as good as the real thing.

  31. nancy says:

    Hello! Was referred by a friend to this yummy looking recipe–I made
    the pumpkin part tonight–it is very cooked but not translucent (do you think the pie pumpkins I got are a different variety?) There is lots of sugar thick syrup at the bottom of the pan. I would like to make the rest tomm. and serve for
    dinner–what is the best way to reheat the pumpkin?

  32. [...] Kaddo Bourani [Habeas Brûlee] A traditional Afghani dish of sweet, caramelized pumpkin topped with savory meat sauce and a swirl of garlic–mint yogurt. Phenomenal. [...]

  33. [...] Kaddo Burani from here Spinach with Dried Cranberries & Pinenuts from here Whole Wheat Pasta Shells Turkey Meatballs [...]

  34. Marissa says:

    I looooooove this dish and your recipe is almost identical to the ones I’ve tried. Last Thanksgiving, instead of bringing pumpkin pie (which often doesn’t get eaten cause there’s just too many from other ppl), I brought this and it was a hit. I think I’ll be making it again this year.

  35. Tru says:

    Looks delicious, eager to try it! For those who have made it, how many servings would you say this recipe makes?

  36. Jean says:

    Thank you for this recipe! My mate said it was
    as good as Helmand’s version. I wish!

    Tru, it could easily be a main course for four
    to six people with reasonable appetites, but could
    stretch for ten or more when served as one of two
    side dishes. It goes very well with basmati rice.

  37. Jean says:

    Do I dare ask if nutrition facts are available for this delicious meal?

  38. Marcy says:

    wow . ..my buddy and I just made this tonight. .with ground lamb …oh, sooooooo good! Thanks for the recipe …

  39. […] Adapted from SFGate and Habeas Brulee […]

Leave a Reply

October 2006
« Sep   Nov »