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Kadoo borani — braised pumpkin with yogurt dressing — from Parwana.
Parwana: Recipes and Stories from an Afghan Kitchen by Durkhanai Ayubi.
Our cookbook of the week is Parwana by Durkhanai Ayubi. Over the next three days, we’ll feature more recipes from the book and an interview with the author.
Onion, garlic, red chilies and tomatoes melt into a luscious sauce in this kadoo borani (braised pumpkin with yogurt dressing). In Durkhanai Ayubi’s household, the dish is a firm favourite — served with naan to swipe up the garlic-infused yogurt sauce.
“Afghans do really amazing things with pumpkin and kadoo borani is one of them,” she says. “The heat of the chili, and then the coolness of the yogurt and its slight acidity do really beautiful things to the pumpkin.”
This winter squash version — which Durkhanai’s mother Farida grew up eating in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan — joins an eggplant (banjaan) borani in Parwana .
A staple in Iran, parts of Turkey and the Caucasus as well as in Afghanistan, the word borani refers to any braised vegetable dish layered with yogurt, says Durkhanai. “Boranis are a huge part of Afghan food. We love cooking things with an onion, garlic, chili base, and then layering it up with yogurt.”
Braised Pumpkin with Yogurt Dressing
1/4 cup (60 mL) sunflower oil, plus 1 tbsp (15 mL) extra
1 lb 2 oz (500 g) pumpkin or winter squash, such as kabocha or acorn, peeled and cut roughly into 1 1/2 in (4 cm) cubes
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1-2 moderately hot fresh red chilies, sliced lengthways
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tomatoes, sliced into rings
1 tsp dried mint
For the yogurt dressing:
1 cup (250 g) Greek-style yogurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat and fry the pumpkin, turning occasionally, for 6-8 minutes or until golden all over. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
Clean the pan of the excess oil and return it to high heat. Add the extra oil and fry the onion, garlic and chilies, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until the onion has softened and caramelized. Add the turmeric and 1 teaspoon salt and mix to combine. Spread the mixture evenly over the base of the pan and arrange the tomato slices on top. Layer the pumpkin over the tomatoes, cover the pan with a lid and cook, gently shaking the pan back and forth occasionally to prevent sticking, for 10 minutes, or until the tomato and onion base is cooked and the flavours have infused the pumpkin.
Meanwhile, to make the yogurt dressing, whisk the yogurt, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl until smooth.
Spread half the yogurt dressing over the base of your serving dish with the back of a serving spoon. Arrange the pumpkin and onion and tomato mixture over the yogurt. Decoratively drizzle or spoon the remaining yogurt dressing on top and serve hot, sprinkled with dried mint.
Recipe and image excerpted from Parwana: Recipes and Stories from an Afghan Kitchen by Durkhanai Ayubi. Published in 2020 by Interlink Books. Used with permission from the publisher.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021