Afghan Spiced Pumpkin

Afghan Spiced Pumpkin

Yogurt in savoury dishes is one of the hallmarks of Afghan food; it’s common to use it to cook vegetable and meat curries as well as to spoon dollops of it over braised vegetables or soups. Here, the garlic-infused yogurt tops cubes of tangy and spicy sautéed pumpkin, which is best served with warm flatbreads, or alongside rice. Don't worry – recipe is quite mild, but feel free to adjust the amount of heat by adding more chilli to suit your taste.
Photography: KRIS KIRKHAM
Serves 4-6 as part of a mezze
Total Time
1 Hour 15 Minutes
For the pumpkin
1 medium pumpkin or butternut squash (around 1.3kg) peeled and chopped into 3cm cubes
2 tbsp of olive oil salt & black pepper
For the spiced tomatoes
3 tbsp of sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 green jalapeño chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
½ tsp of cumin seeds
½ tsp of coriander seeds
¼ tsp of ground turmeric
4 ripe tomatoes (around 400g), skinned, deseeded and chopped
½ tsp of sugar
100ml of hot water
2 tsp of dried mint, to serve
For the yogurt sauce
200g of natural yogurt
¼ garlic clove, crushed
Step 1

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/Gas 5.

Step 2

Place the pumpkin or squash in a large baking tray and toss with the oil and ¼ tsp of salt. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes until cooked but still slightly firm.

Step 3

To make the spiced tomatoes, heat the sunflower oil in a large pan and add the onion. Fry over a medium heat for 15 minutes until it is soft. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for a further 5 minutes. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a minute or so until their aromas are released, then grind in a mortar and pestle and add to the pan with the turmeric, 1 tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of black pepper. After the spices have cooked for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and sugar. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Step 4

Add the roast pumpkin or squash and cook for 10 minutes, pouring in the measured hot water to loosen the sauce. Taste to adjust the seasoning.

Step 5

Make the yogurt sauce by combining the yogurt and garlic with ¼ tsp of salt.

Step 6

To serve, transfer the pumpkin or squash to a serving plate, spoon over the yogurt sauce and sprinkle with dried mint.

Recipe Courtesy Of Ripe Figs by Yasmin Khan (Bloomsbury Publishing, £26) is out now. Photography by Kris Kirkham.

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