Will you be my Buttercup [squash]? (Borani Kadu & Noni Afghani)

One of the things that I am really enjoying about my meat-free 2 days a week quest is coming up with different meal plans that don't center around a meat main course.  Certainly, one can always create a meal around a pasta dish; but I have been trying to up the ante and venture into cooking dishes that are not merely variations on the same old/ same old.  

Sometimes, inspiration comes from what seems like the most unlikely places.  Like this... Vegetarian, Afghani, stew...  Now where would one stumble across a recipe for that???

If you guessed King Arthur Flour's The Baking Sheet, you would be right.  Go figure?  How did my heroes over at King Arthur know about my quest?  Mind readers, I tell you. 

This post was supposed to be a few weeks out, but I was so excited by the concept of this dish that I nudged it to the head of the line - yep, it was line butting worthy in my book.

What first caught my eye was that this recipe called for either a butterCUP (you read that right, butterCUP not butterNUT) squash or a sugar pie pumpkin.  Since I had never even HEARD of a buttercup squash, I figured, why not?  Man, that little sucker was hard to peel.  I had to call in The Dude so that he could channel all of his brute, testosteroney strength into slicing the skin off (Funny how that works, I only have to mention "The Soup Incident" and suddenly I have help in the kitchen - must be that the thought of the emergency room and surgery is enough of an incentive to keep me away from sharp implements and unwieldy objects).

The other item that caught my eye was the technique of pureeing the onion.  It made sense, but I would not normally think to do that.  Overall, the stew was a very simple preparation - I did substitute vegetable stock for the chicken broth in order to keep the dish vegetarian - if I had foregone the yogurt sauce (but I didn't), this would have been vegan as well. 

By the time the squash cooked down, the liquids had thickened into a lovely sauce - perfect for bread sopping. 

Speaking of bread sopping...  KAF suggested serving alongside Noni Afghani - which is apparently an Afghan Naan. 


This is a VERY EASY bread to make - only needs one rise and the list of ingredients is not too involved.  The dough was everything that a good dough should be - smooth and easy to work with... Now if only The Dude were more like the Noni dough (just kidding?).


They just rolled out like a dream, I tell you. 

The recipe called for an egg wash - I did wash a couple of them, but I brushed flavored oil over most of the loaves (some with garlic oil and some with roasted chili oil) - and wow, did that ever make the kitchen smell good.

Since I knew the remainder of the house would not be joining me in my meat-free repast, I also roasted a chicken a'la Dorie style...  The stew and noni were good enough that I was only mildly distressed at not being able to devour the bread bed from underneath the roasted chicken - and I even had the fortitude to be gracious when The Karate Kid gobbled up all the crispy skin. 

The stew itself was sweet with a nice touch of spice from the jalapeno and ginger.  The Dude and The Little People turned their noses up at it - they were too busy inhaling Dorie's chicken.  Which was okay - their fussiness became my lunch for the next several days!  It's all good, right? 

Adapted from KAF The Baking Sheet Winter 2011

Borani Kadoo (Kadu)
1 large sweet onion, peeled and roughly chopped into large pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3-4 # buttercup squash (any orange squash or pumpkin should work if you can't get a buttercup)
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 small jalapeno - seeded & diced
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger (or ginger paste)
1/3 cup sugar (brown or white)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp miced garlic
Pinch Salt
Peel & seed squash.  Cut into ~1 inch chunks. 

Puree onion in food processor.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onions & pinch of salt - sautee until tender (you don't want to brown them).  Once the onion is tender, add garlic, jalapeno, tomato paste, turmeric, cardamom, ginger, sugar, salt & stock. Turn heat to high & bring to a boil.   Stir frequently.

Once liquid is boiling, add squash chunks and make sure all pieces are well coated.  Reduce heat to low and cover dutch oven.  Simmer ~30-45 minutes (depending on squash used) until tender and most juices have been absorbed.  Stir every few minutes to ensure even cooking. 

Combine yogurt, garlic and salt in a small bowl.

To serve, spoon yogurt mixture over stew.  Serve with warm noni or other pita style bread (the noni is great for soaking up the juices). 

Noni Afghani
The orignial recipe can be found here on AllRecipes.com
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbs sugar
4 cups unbleached A/P flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Flavored oil for brushing (I used garlic flavored oil on some of the noni and roasted chili oil on others)

In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and sugar.  Let rest for ten minutes, until foamy. 

Mix together salt and flour in bowl of stand mixer.  Stir in oil and sponge.  While operating the mixer at slow speed, slowly add water from the remaining cup until you have a soft, smooth dough that can be worked with (you will probably have extra water - this is ok, as long as  your dough seems to be the right consistency).  Switch to dough hook and knead about ten minutes. 

Place dough in greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk (~1.5-2 hours). 

Preheat oven to 350F - line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. 

Gently deflate dough and cut into eight pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball.  On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a flat disk (~6" long and 1.2" thick).  Place each disk onto baking sheet - leaving a couple of inches between them.  Use the edge of a fork to draw 2 - 3 lines across the top.  Brush tops of disks with oil.  Bake 20-25 minutes - rotating sheets halfway through baking time.  Bake until the breads appear slightly golden on top.   (Alternatively, you can use an egg wash & sprinkle with seeds of your choosing).


  1. I like using KAF, but I think I've overextended my use of gourds for the season. Great post, though!

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