Pick up any food magazine or newspaper in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and you will be confronted with a barrage of recipes and ideas for putting on a stellar Thanksgiving spread. Yet so much of it is more of the same: cornbread stuffing, creamy mash, candied yams. I figured we should put our own little stamp of Afghan flavors on Thanksgivingwith a dish that fits in just right amongst the traditional favorites.
Apparently the pilgrims and their native guests had some pretty interesting foods at that first Thanksgiving feast, many of which have not stood the test of time. Quahog anyone? However, pumpkin has survived as a Thanksgiving staple, although it was unlikely served in the form of pie the first time around given the fact that the pilgrims had no ovens, and not much in the way of sugar.
This recipe for Afghan pumpkin is one we’ve posted before. But since it seems to be America’s favorite Afghan dish, and being America’s favorite holiday, I thought it fitting to share for Thanksgiving. The recipe below is for conventional cooking, you can also find our slow cooker version on the blog as well.
Called Kadoo, it’s pumpkin (or butternut squash) that is braised with ginger, a little hot pepper and finished with a spoonful of garlic-seasoned yogurt. It’s got an addictive balance of sweet, savory, hot and tart, so good, you may never look twice at a candied yam again.
Sweet and Savory Pumpkin with Yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 3 to 4 lb. sugar pumpkin, or 2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3-inch chunks
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded and diced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. ground turmeric
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and diced
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ to 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Yogurt sauce (recipe below)
Heat the oil in a 14-inch sauté pan or large casserole over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Once the onion is tender, add the garlic, jalapeno, tomato paste, turmeric, ginger, sugar and 1 ½ cups of broth. Stir and bring to a boil. As soon as the mixture boils pour the sauce in a bowl.
Arrange the squash pieces in the saute pan, tucking them snugly in the pan. It’s fine if the pieces overlap somewhat. Pour the sauce over the squash, cover with a lid or foil and simmer over low heat. Every few minutes, gently move the squash around so all the pieces cook evenly and the bottom of the squash doesn’t burn. Add more broth if the pan gets dry. Cook until the squash is fork-tender but doesn’t lose its shape (30 to 40 minutes).
To serve, arrange the pumpkin in a large shallow bowl. Spoon the yogurt sauce over the pumpkin and pour any remaining yogurt around the outside edges of the pumpkin. Serve with nan or pita bread.
1 cup plain yogurt
1 ½ tsp. dried garlic
1 tsp. salt
In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients.
Serves 4 - 6
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