Borani Kadoo – Kaddo – Afghan Pumpkin

written by Mirriam Seddiq
2 · 25 · 21

Some people are surprised when they hear that one of the most popular dishes in Afghanistan is pumpkin. Borani Kadoo – Kaddo is a delicious mix of roasted pumpkin (or other squash) mixed with creamy yogurt and rich fried onions.

How could that go wrong? No need to have the same old boring side dishes at dinner. Enjoy this pumpkin dish that you don’t even have to carve.

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The video is the best way to learn this recipe. The way the cool yogurt plays off of the crispy onions and smokey pumpkin is to die for.

I didn’t grow up eating this dish because, allegedly, my dad didn’t like it. But, I have to say, he must never had it made well because it is delicious and I’m a little upset that I went this long without making it. This dish is very popular at Afghan restaurants, and there are a lot of variations – some are sweetened, some fry the pumpkin first and others are made the way I make it here. Pumpkin grows in Afghanistan, but it is hard to get eating pumpkins in the States this time of year, but you can use any winter squash. I used butternut squash and it turned out really well, if I do say so myself. Make sure you have a batch of garlicy Afghan yogurt sauce because this dish needs it. 

Borani Kadoo is a dish you will make again and again. Check out our yogurt sauce recipe here.

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borani kadoo

Borani Kadoo – Kaddo – Afghan Pumpkin

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.3 from 6 reviews

  • Author: Mirriam Seddiq
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Diet: Vegetarian



1 winter squash or pumpkin, peeled and cubed

2 tblsp oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 tblsp ginger-garlic paste of 4 cloves garlic, minced and 2 tsp ginger, minced

2 tblsp tomato paste

about 1 to 1 1/2 cups water


black pepper

2 tsp turmeric

1 tblsp coriander

1 tblsp cumin

red pepper flakes or aleppo pepper

garlicky Afghan yogurt sauce


  • Heat oil in large saucepan.
  • When oil is hot, add onions and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and some start to brown. Stir frequently.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and ginger garlic paste. Cook and stir for another 3 minutes until the tomato paste gets a deep red color.
  • Add the turmeric, salt, black pepper, cumin and coriander. Cook for 1 minute stirring frequently. 
  • Add about 1/2 cup water and stir to combine all ingredients. You want to make sure the tomato paste is fully incorporated and there are no lumps of it in the sauce. 
  • Add another 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water to the saucepan. The consistency of the sauce should be similar to heavy cream or half and half. It should be thick but still easily pourable. Cover and let simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Check and stir frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t get too thick. If it does, add more water so it remains that same consistency. 
  • Cook until the tomatoes are completely broken down. 
  • Add squash. Stir so that all of the squash is covered in the sauce. Set on medium heat, cover and cook for about 25 minutes. Stir and check on it frequently. The squash is done when it is fork tender. You do not want it to turn into mush.

To Serve

  • Pour a thin layer of garlicky Afghan yogurt sauce on the bottom of a large serving platter.
  • Add the squash on top of the yogurt sauce.
  • Drizzle more yogurt sauce on top of the squash.
  • Top with chopped parsley or cilantro.
  • Serve with rice, Afghan bread or pita.



Borani Kadoo will win friends and influence people. If you make the dish, make sure you tell us on the Gram!

  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Category: Side dish
  • Cuisine: Afghan
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Mirriam Seddiq

I am Mirriam Z. Seddiq, the Afghan Cook. I was born in Afghanistan and came to America as a when I was 18 months old. I am a criminal defense, personal injury, and immigration attorney. I started the first Muslim American Woman Political Action Committee, once owned a coffee shop and a restaurant, and currently am the CEO of the Komak Foundation which focuses its efforts on helping Afghan refugees.

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  1. justin

    great recipe.

  2. Denys Beecher

    Made this with winter squash and it went over spectacularly with even a semi-picky 9-year old

  3. Elise Senkerik

    The video suggests msg, however, it is an allergen for some people. I actually get migraines from them. This ingredient is Not in my kitchen.

  4. YeLLik

    getting headaches, as the person wrote, from msg is not racist. Nonsensical accusations of racism come from racist people.

    • Mirriam Seddiq

      To be clear, I shared these articles because they helped me understand MSG and its history better. I am willing to listen to Asians and Asian-Americans, but not everyone has to.

    • Lala

      There’s zero scientific evidence for “msg allergies.” They simply do not exist.
      Do you know why? Because your brain runs on glutamate salts. People with glutamate allergies wouldn’t be alive, ffs.
      It’s the height of ignorance to claim any sort of msg allergy.

      • J

        Sorry, why would people with msg allergies/intolerances/sensitivities not be alive? Allergies and intolerances are not always life-threatening… think of people with lactose intolerance or sucrose intolerance or gluten intolerance. Glutamate is actually an AMINO ACID (protein) that is produced by the body – it is not the same as monosodium glutamate, which is a salt. And to share a bunch of racism-related articles because someone has an msg sensitivity is extremely disappointing! There are MANY other articles that explain the history of MSG without implying racism. MSG isn’t only used in asian cultures – ever heard of Aromat? It was invented in Switzerland and is mostly made up of MSG – it’s extremely popular in Switzerland and in South Africa. Everyone is different. bodies are different. Respect goes a long way. Came here to find a recipe to make tonight, but was completely thrown off by these unfortunate comments.

  5. Megs

    Just what i was looking for! Thank you.

    • Mirriam Seddiq

      Fantastic, Megs. How did you find us? Follow us on Instagram and tag me in a picture if you make it!

  6. Victoria

    This recipe is delicious! It’s a great introductory recipe for people who aren’t familiar with Afghan cooking because the steps are simple to follow and it doesn’t require too many special ingredients. I am amazed by the depth and complexity of the flavors. The sweetness of the pumpkin/squash shines through the savory tomatoes and tart yogurt sauce. I made this twice. The second time was with butternut squash, and it was deelish! The first time was with a jack’o’lantern pumpkin. Jack’o’lanterns look cool, but they’re not the best choice for cooking/baking because they have a watery flavor. This recipe was the perfect way to punch up the jack’o’lantern’s flavor without adding a whole bunch of sugar (like in a pie. . .). I will definitely make this again!

  7. Kimberly

    Made this for my sweetie and I. Really good! I was cooking seveal things at the same time, and realized I totally forgot to prep garl/ginger for this. Dried spices still worked well, but looking forward to making this again but being better prepared. My butternuck squash was not as tender as I’d like (compared to my local restaurant) but I’m unsure if because it’s not really butternut squash season, my technique needs perfecting, etc. but I didn’t want it to become mush.

    Rewarms well. We had it for lunch too!


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