This is one of my favorite dishes at an Afghan restaurant…sweet/tart/spicy pumpkin and pulao. My version improvises with things I had in the house…
Ingredients for the pumpkin part
- 1 Acorn squash (butternut or actual pumpkin work too)
- 1 medium onion
- 1/4 cup water (add a little more at a time if you feel like you need it)
- 3 oz of tomato paste
- 1 Tbs of garlic paste
- 1 Tbs of ginger paste
- a dab of sriracha (really random but good)
- 1 Tbs of sugar/brown sugar/agave/honey (optional)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 t turmeric
- 2 t ground coriander
- 1/2 jalapeño
- 1 C yogurt
- 2 scallions
- 1/2 c cilantro
- 1/2 a jalapeno
- dash of berbere (or garam masala)
- 1 t cumin
- Wrap the squash in foil and toss into the oven/toaster oven until soft–you want it to still have some shape though (30 mins). Alternately, you can microwave it. I put it in for 5 mins at a time, about 2 or 3 times. You don’t want it mushy–you want to be able to cut it into pieces.
2. In a heavy bottomed skillet, saute onion in some olive oil. Add garlic, ginger, tomato paste, jalapeno, sugar, water, sriracha, and cinnamon stick. Simmer while the pumpkin is cooking. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it gets. Chop the cooked squash into pieces and add that to the tomato mixture. Simmer for a little while longer.
Before serving, blend together scallion, cilantro, a pinch of salt, cumin, berbere, and yogurt in the blender.
Top pumpkin with a dab of the cilantro-yogurt sauce.
the Challow/Pulao (I said “rice” because I used quinoa instead).
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 onion
- 1 cinnamon stick in pieces
- 2 pods of cardamom
- star anise if you have it
- 3-4 dates
- 3-4 apricots
- a handful of cashews
- salt, pepper to taste
Why quiona? it’s quick. it’s “healthier” than rice. we like it. Saute the onion in a saucepan. Add the quiona and boiling water. Simmer. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise. Cook til it’s cooked and fluffy (and the water is absorbed). Saute the cashews, apricots, and dates in olive oil or a dab of butter til the nuts turn brown. add to the quiona and tada!