Pumpkin Kadu Recipe

It’s finally Fall again and even the air outside has an undeniably Fall smell. I absolutely love this time of year for just about every possible reason. I am excited for the holidays:  the bringing together of families, the decorations, autumn colors, and all the harvested vegetables and fruit Fall has to offer. I also can’t wait for our annual apple and pumpkin picking adventure at Apple Annie’s in Willcox, AZ, and all the inspired recipes that follow with that. This recipe, however, came from something altogether different. And since pumpkin is the quintessential Fall recipe ingredient, the timing was perfect.
There’s this Afghan restaurant that we go to with Mark’s family in Burlingame, CA called Kabul Afghan Cuisine. It’s where I took my first bite of kadu. Kadu is a simmered and seasoned pumpkin dish drizzled with yogurt or sour cream. It’s heavenly. I also tried chicken Lawang for the first time, which you’ll hear more about in the post to follow.
Back to the premise of this recipe. I haven’t had kadu for about a year. Then Mark flew off to San Francisco for the week and bragged how he and his family ate Kabul takeout and the leftovers lasted for days. My mouth watered. I needed my kadu fix. So when Mark flew back home from San Francisco – we went straight to a local Afghan restaurant in Tucson, Sultan Palace and I ordered some kadu… and I savored every bite. Then a few days later, I made it at home. And I will continue to make kadu until I get physically sick of it. It’s something I tend to do, make something I love, day in, day out, until I cannot stand the sight of it for at least a couple of years.
This recipe is amazing – I would have never thought to cook pumpkin like this, and it turned out so delicious. You can eat it as is, or with basmati rice or naan bread (I found some whole-wheat naan bread that worked well) – just don’t forget to top it with spiked garlic yogurt. So in celebration of Fall, I hope you get inspired to make this off the beaten-path pumpkin treat!
Ingredients I looked up numerous recipes for preparing kadu and found that they were all the same. What I changed was the oil. I used olive oil versus corn oil. I prefer the taste better and the health benefits of using olive oil, but it is completely up to you. I also cut back on the sugar used, and might even cut back on it more in the future because I found it to be a little sweet for my taste. The use of sour cream instead of plain Greek yogurt is an option also. For the choice on pumpkins, I love to use small sugar pumpkins – they cook up lovely.
VEGANS- this can be a vegan recipe by removing the plain yogurt ingredient. I’m not sure how or what substitute would work best in replacement for this particular ingredient, but I would suspect it’s even delicious without the sauce!

2 pound pumpkin, gutted, peeled and cut into cubes (butternut squash can be used if pumpkin is out of season)
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger root, finely minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt
4 ounces of tomato sauce
1/3 cup of organic evaporated cane sugar (regular sugar works too)
1 cup water
Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt, stirred until smooth
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
To start off you’ll want to get your pumpkin ready by gutting it, peeling the skin off with a knife or potato peeler and then chopping it into about 1 inch cubes. Once that is done, heat your olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. When hot, add cubed pumpkin (should sizzle) and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes, tossing pumpkin cubes every minute or so. Once pumpkin gets lightly browned on the edges, add 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander seed. Turn heat to low.
Now it is time to prepare your sweet tomato sauce – in a medium bowl, mix together tomato sauce, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of  minced ginger. Then stir in one cup of water.
Pour sweet tomato sauce into cooked pumpkin and give it a stir. Let all ingredients simmer over a low heat until all the liquid has cooked up – approximately 20 minutes.
Yogurt Sauce Directions
In a medium bowl, stir yogurt until creamy. Finely mince 2 garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and stir into the yogurt. Drizzle yogurt over cooked kadu. Top it off with finely chopped fresh mint leaves.
Enjoy hot, or cold!
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  • Fran
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    Sounds good, can’t wait to try some!
    (Don’t get sick of it before we come to visit – ha-ha)

  • Anna
    Posted October 17, 2010 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    I’ve had a sugar pumpkin sitting on my counter all week and I’ve been trying to find something to do with it. Think looks so yummy!
    The sauce can be easily veganized by using vegan sour cream. It tastes a lot like regular sour cream and that has a very similar taste to greek yogurt. That’s what I’m going to do this week when I make it.

  • Posted October 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Hi Anna – Wow! thanks for the sweet compliment in your email! Yeah, I’ve never tried vegan sour cream but I’m sure there’s some good stuff out there. You can opt to skip it, but it really does add to the kadu. Let me know how it comes out. I’m actually making another batch of it today :-) -Eliza

  • brian
    Posted November 27, 2010 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

    Yum, I made this last night. It’s also delicious cold the next day.

  • Lisa
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    I was at Kabul, in Burlingame, on Saturday night and ate kadu for the first time. Actually, it was my first experience with Afghani food and it won’t be my last. In looking for a kadu recipe, I found yours! Thanks for posting this.

  • Posted October 3, 2011 at 4:07 PM | Permalink

    Hi Lisa,

    Hope you like the recipe – it’s one of my absolute favorites! :)
    Thanks for stopping by,

  • Elizabeth B
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for the recipe! I love Kabul’s challaw kadu, so I was happy to find this page.

    (One thing: “pumpkin kadu” means “pumpkin pumpkin.” :)

  • Posted September 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    I did not know that, hahaha!:D Hope you enjoy the recipe.


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