I first experienced Afghan cuisine when I moved to the D.C. area. There was a place on Route 1 in Alexandria that wasn’t fancy but the food was great. My favorite dish was the veggie combo – pumpkin, spinach and eggplant. All were amazing but I’ve had a soft spot for pumpkin all my life (long before it became trendy). So of the three dishes, I became partial to Kaddo.
I like to add the lamb for some extra flavor and protein boost.
4 cups of cubed and peeled pumpkin
2 tbl of olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup of coconut sugar (you can use white sugar but I prefer coconut sugar because its low glycemic index. Some recipes also call for more sugar – a lot more – but if you get a good pumpkin like the amber cup pictured in this post, you won’t need the extra calories).
For the yogurt sauce:
1 cup cashews soaked for an hour
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried mint
1/2 tsp salt
For the meat sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil or ghee
1 large onion, finely diced
1 pound grass-fed ground lamb (you can use ground beef but lamb is traditional)
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
1 tbl pomegranate molasses
- Preheat oven to 300º.
- Wash the outside of the pumpkin. Cut in half. Scrape out the stringy stuff and seeds on the inside.
- Cut the halves into 3″-4″ pieces or so.
- Peel the pumpkin pieces. Use a vegetable peeler for this, but keep a sharp paring knife handy to remove the stem and hard-to-reach rind bits.
- Place pumpkin pieces in a large bowl. Drizzle with the oil and then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Mix until all pieces are coated.
- Place the pumpkin pieces in a pan large enough to hold the pieces in a single layer. I line the pan with parchment paper to make for easier clean up.
- Cover the pan 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 pumpkin pieces should be dark orange and translucent.
Make the yogurt sauce:
- Drain cashews and blend in a high speed blender with lemon juice and a dash of sea salt until smooth.
- Add garlic and mint, pulse to mix.
- Cover and refrigerate 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 molasses) and cook, bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and let simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.
- Uncover, add molasses and let reduced.
- Add 2 tablespoon of yogurt sauce and mix thoroughly.
Hot pumpkin, top with yogurt sauce then hot meat sauce.