Kaddo Bourani

Posted by    |  January 10, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes


There’s a fantastic Afghan restaurant called Helmand’s with outlets in both Baltimore and San Francisco, fortunately for me.  While I’m sure there are other delicious items on the menu, everyone I know insists on ordering the sweet pumpkin with meat and yogurt sauces called Kaddo Bourani.  It’s simple to make, and surprisingly delicious given its few ingredients.

If your grocery store carries them, do try this with the pumpkins.  They really are wonderful.  Though you’re probably more familiar with butternut squash, the pumpkin is actually easier to peel and its sap isn’t as insidious as that of the squash.


For the pumpkin

About 2 pounds sweet pie pumpkins or butternut squash
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
2-3 teaspoons minced or grated ginger
salt and pepper to taste

For the meat sauce

1 pound ground beef or lamb
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup water or stock
salt and pepper to taste

For the yogurt sauce

1 cup (8 oz) plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, mashed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste
juice of a lemon quarter


Prepare the pumpkin

  1. Peel and halve pumpkins. Scrape out the seeds and stringy flesh.  Cut into 1-inch squares or triangles.
  2. In a medium sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add pumpkin and lightly brown.  Once squash has started to caramelize, add the sugar, spices, and water. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Cook until the liquid is syrupy and the pumpkin is cooked through, but not mushy.  Season with salt and pepper and remove to a bowl.

Step two

  1. In same sauté pan in which you cooked the pumpkin (don’t bother cleaning out the pan), add oil and onion  and sauté over medium heat.
  2. Turn the heat up to high and add the ground meat and cook until almost done.  Add the garlic, cooking for another minute.  Add the tomato sauce, water or stock, and salt and pepper and simmer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until meat is cooked down into fine-grained pieces.

Make the yogurt sauce

  1. While the meat simmers, combine the yogurt sauce ingredients in a small bowl, adjusting seasoning to taste.

To serve

  1. Plate a portion of the pumpkin, spoon over 1/4 of the meat sauce, and drizzle some yogurt on top of that.

Off Script…

Feel free to use banana squash, kabocha or calabaza in place of the sugar pumpkin.  In a pinch, precut squash from the grocery store works just fine!  Ground turkey, while less authentic, would make for a satisfying, lower-fat version of the meat sauce.

Comments are closed.