The Helmand's great pumpkin appetizer recipe

Gathering background for next week's Taste story following up on last year's pumpkin shortage, The Sun's Susan Reimer contacted chefs and restaurateurs around town who love to work with the big orange gourd. Among them, of course, was Qayum Karzai, the owner of The Helmand.

And to her surprise, Karzai was willing to share the recipe for this beloved, multi-award winning appetizer.


Karzai said it reflects Afghan cooking traditions: A lot of reliance on vegetables, especially squashes, and long, slow cooking because of limited refrigeration.

The sugar and the tiniest hint of cinnamon contrast smartly with the sharp taste of garlic in the yogurt. It's served with a peppery flat bread.

Here's a taste; look for the full article next week:

Kaddo Bowrani (Baked Pumpkin) from The Helmand Restaurant in Baltimore

Makes: 4-6 servings


For pumpkin:

1 small pumpkin (baby or spookies work best)

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil


For Yogurt Sauce:

1 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon fresh-cut diced garlic

Dash salt


Slice pumpkin and remove seeds. Peel outer skin. Slice 2-inch pieces lengthwise. Place oil in skillet pan and heat to medium heat. Add pumpkin. Cook on medium heat covered for approximately 10 minutes, turning once. Remove from pan and place in small roasting or baking pan. Sprinkle the pumpkin with the sugar and cinnamon. Cover tightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minute or until soft. Time may differ according to the hardness of the pumpkin.

For yogurt sauce, stir ingredients together until smooth.

Serve pumpkin warm with yogurt sauce.