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
Test Kitchen Notes
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
freshly ground black pepper, plus more, to taste
Kosher salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
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.
Mix together yogurt with the crushed garlic in a bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper.
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.
Serve the pumpkin with the yogurt and tomato sauces.