Kaddo (Afghan Pumpkin with Yogurt and Tomato Sauces)

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

One of my favorite places to bring visitors to Boston is this Afghan restaurant in Cambridge called The Helmand. Usually, it's the first time any of them have had Afghan food, and I love introducing them to the signature appetizer there, the kaddo. It's a "pan-fried then baked baby pumpkin seasoned with sugar and served on yogurt garlic sauce, topped with ground beef sauce." It sounds like a pretty strange flavor combination and is unlike anything else I've ever tasted, but it's absolutely delicious! This is my attempt at recreating the vegetarian version of that dish, based on a recipe I found on Chowhound.

Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy

Food52 Review: WHO: The Cooking of Joy is no stranger to contest victory, having won Your Best Recipes with Tofu!
WHAT: Sweet, cinnamon-y roasted pumpkin meets garlicky yogurt and a fragrant tomato sauce.
HOW: Brown pumpkin in a Dutch oven, then toss with a cinnamon-sugar mixture and roast until tender. Mix together yogurt and crushed garlic (and salt and pepper, of course!) and simmer-down the coriander- and turmeric-tinged tomato sauce. Serve the pumpkin on a pool of both sauces and prepare for oohs and ahhs.
WHY WE LOVE IT: A vegetarian take on the classic Afghan appetizer, kaddo, this dish has a lot of things going on, but all the elements come together for one harmonious, sweet-meets-savory plate. Plus, it can be served hot or cold!
The Editors

Serves: 4 as an appetizer


  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds sugar pumpkin
  • 4 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more, to taste
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into quarters. Remove seeds and strings, peel the skin with a vegetable peeler, and cut down into about 2-inch chunks. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven. Brown the pumpkin pieces, turning frequently, until golden brown. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over pumpkin. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Mix together yogurt with the crushed garlic in a bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and cook the onions until lightly browned. Add the chopped garlic, coriander, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Mix well and cook until the spices are toasted and fragrant. Add tomato sauce and water, mix thoroughly and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and cook about 20 minutes until it cooks down to a thick sauce.
  5. Serve the pumpkin with the yogurt and tomato sauces.

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Reviews (28) Questions (0)

28 Reviews

Kristen November 28, 2018
I had this dish at the Helmand years ago and I have been looking for the recipe ever since. Thank you!
Author Comment
Joy H. November 28, 2018
You're welcome!
Linda S. November 20, 2018
I'm wondering if this could be made with Japanese pumpkin (kabocha).
Author Comment
Joy H. November 25, 2018
Yes, I believe so.
Austin B. November 2, 2018
Simply incredible.
Author Comment
Joy H. November 25, 2018
epicharis October 4, 2018
An incredible dish. The tomato sauce alone is worth raves but the pumpkin is fantastic!
Author Comment
Joy H. November 25, 2018
Trena H. November 8, 2016
This is delicious! My husband liked it so much that I saved some for my foodie neighbor and she loved it too. This is a keeper!
Author Comment
Joy H. November 8, 2016
Yay, I'm glad they both liked it so much!
dietjessg October 17, 2016
The Helmand is one of my all time favorite restaurants - I started going to the Cambridge location 15 years ago and now live in Baltimore (unfortunately the restaurant here is not nearly as good as the one in Cambridge)! I always order Kaddo, it's the best dish on the menu. I can't wait to try your recipe - I will be using non-dairy yogurt, I'm sure it will be delicious.
Emily |. October 13, 2016
Can't wait to try this! I have never been to Boston, but I was just in DC visiting my sister last weekend and we had brunch at an Afghan restaurant called Lapis which was delightful. We tried a pumpkin flatbread with cilantro and leeks and I bet this will hit those savory notes. I hadn't ever tried Afghan food prior but now I will definitely be craving it. Thanks for the recipe!
Author Comment
Joy H. October 14, 2016
You're welcome! That flatbread sounds amazing!
Diana P. October 12, 2016
Oh, The Helmand is delicious! And this recipe is perfect for what the garden is producing right now, thanks!
Author Comment
Joy H. October 14, 2016
You're welcome!
PHIL October 12, 2016
Can it be made with butternut squash?
Author Comment
Joy H. October 12, 2016
Yes! I just made this with delicata squash over the weekend, too!
beejay45 October 12, 2016
Yams/sweet potatoes, too. I, too, love the Helmand, only I've gone to one in Baltimore and another in Marin County, CA. ;)
Micki B. October 7, 2016
I too love the Helmand! And this dish!
Mia H. September 18, 2016
OMG I loved the Helmand. Has been a LONG time since I have been able to go there but I have great memories of the Kaddo. I can't wait to try this. Thanks for sharing!
Author Comment
Joy H. September 19, 2016
You're welcome!
susan G. August 12, 2015
Helmand was my introduction to this dish, and I have tried a few recipes. I don't remember it being that sweet, and I was able to get it made as a vegetarian version. I'm trying yours soon, and looking forward to reliving our visits to the restaurant.
Author Comment
Joy H. August 12, 2015
Please let me know how it compares!
clintonhillbilly August 5, 2015
I have had this dish at an Afghan restaurant and love it! Thanks for posting a recipe, I'll try it for sure.
Author Comment
Joy H. August 6, 2015
I've tried this dish at another Afghan restaurant before, and it definitely wasn't as sweet, so depending on how sweet you like it, you might want to decrease the amount of sugar. I hope you like it!
Shelley V. November 24, 2018
I’m going to use raw sugar, should I use the same amount? This sounds so good!
creamtea August 5, 2015
This sounds so good, Joy!
Author Comment
Joy H. August 6, 2015
Thanks, I hope you try it and like it!