Sunday, September 22, 2013

My reason to grow butternut squash

The same genius friend who inspired me to make black forest cherry jam also pointed me towards this amazing recipe for Kaddu Bourani. We already know she can be trusted, so we're going to take this recipe for a spin. Disclaimer: I have never eaten the dish the way it's meant to taste, at a restaurant. But the first time I made it, I was hooked.

Here's my way to make it, including several alternative options based on availability

Candied pumpkin:
  • 2 medium to large butternut squash, or 2 sugar pumpkins. Really any type of yellow/orange pumpkin-ish thing I have thrown at this, such as acorn squash, has come out wonderful.
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 Tbsp oil
Thoroughly peel the pumpkin/squash, and slice in large pieces, no thicker than 1in in the 'thin' direction. Place in a baking dish, toss in oil, and liberally sprinkle with sugar. When I say 'liberally' I don't mean this politically, I mean it literally. With freedom. Freedom to eat food that makes you happy and provides your soul comfort in those cold winter months. Stop obsessing about refined sugar, you're eating a homecooked meal, entirely from scratch. That ought to be good enough.

Bake at 300F (with speedbake on), covered tightly, for ~2 hours, then baste with the syrupy juices, and bake again for another hour. I have tried to cut down the time required for this dish to come out right, only to fail miserably. Don't take a shortcut. It's not worth it.

For the yogurt mint sauce: 
  • 2 cups whole milk yogurt. I really prefer goat's milk yogurt here, I have no idea if that is more or less authentic though. 
  • a handful of chopped fresh mint, if available. 2tsp dried mint if you must substitute. 
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • salt to taste

Mix the ingredients while the squash bakes. Tastes better if it has incubated for a little while before serving!

For the meat curry sauce: 
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced 
  • 1 1/3 lbs. ground beef (just what Costco sells in one thing of organic ground beef!). I have also used lamb, which we love at least as much. 
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and finely chopped. I have substituted a small can of diced tomatoes, and used less water in the end, without ill effects. 
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground curry (I like the Maharaja's curry from Penzey's)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/3 C water

Heat a large stainless or cast iron pan. Cook the onion in the oil for a bit, add the meat and cook until the meat is done. The add the tomato and spices and cook a little more. Add tomato paste, followed by the water, which I add a little at a time to make sure I don't end up with too much liquid. Let simmer for 20 minutes on very low heat, to make the flavors mingle.


A slice of candied pumpkin, topped by cold yogurt sauce, crowned by a spoon full of meat curry. Welcome to heaven.

Manic Mother


  1. This looks amazing. I might have to give it a try, if I can commit to cooking the pumpkin for 3 hours. Ok, let's be honest... I should just go to the Helmand or Ariana....

    1. How about you DIY and go to Helmant and then report back? That would be swell! :-) Thanks for the visit!

  2. How interesting. I would never think to go anything like this. Way to go. I am so not creative cooking girl.

  3. I saw the name and just had to see what it was, my mouth is watering, pinning to my everything yummy board. Thanks for sharing on Tuesdays With a Twist.

  4. Made this tonight to rave reviews. Thanks for sharing the recipe!