Saving pumpkin from dessert: Afghan Kadu Bouranee


It’s Fall!

I want to scream it from the rooftops. I love fall, and when you really love something you should celebrate it with food.

 So while I have given in to some of my favorite fall indulgences in the form of pumpkin spice lattes, candy corn (eaten one by one from the kid-proof bowl on top of the fridge) and two pans of apple crisp gifted to me by an apple picking partner-in-crime — eventually you have to get back to reality and make dinner.

Kadu Bouranee, Afghan Style Pumpkin with Sweet Tomato Sauce, is the perfect fall dish. Especially when you have indulged in too many Halloween candy-mini-apple-caramel-thingies-dessert-disguised-as-coffee treats.

It’s hearty, warm, comforting and vegetarian. It uses pumpkin or butternut squash as it’s base so it is a great source of fiber, potassium and vitamin A. It is delicately sweet so kids love it. And it uses delicious warm spices that that take chill off a crisp fall day.

Served with a yogurt sauce infused with garlic and mint and rice or naan it can be your new healthy fall indulgence.

Kadu Bouranee (Afghan Sweet Pumpkin)


  • 2 lb Fresh pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup corn or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, crushed (divided)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 oz plain tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, very finely chopped (a microplane is perfect for this)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 6 fresh mint leaves finely chopped


  • Peel the pumpkin or squash and cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan. Fry the pumpkin/squash pieces on both sides for a couple of minutes until lightly browned.
  • Mix together ingredients for Sweet Tomato Sauce in a bowl. (1.5 teaspoons garlic, water, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, tomato sauce, fresh ginger, coriander and black pepper.) Add to pumpkin mixture in frying pan.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the pumpkin/squash is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Mix together the ingredients for the yogurt sauce. (yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and chopped mint leaves)
  • To serve: spread half the yogurt sauce on a plate and lay the kadu on top. Top with remaining yogurt and serve with any of the following: cooked basmati rice, naan or pita bread.

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