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I have become ridiculously addicted to an Afghani dish, sauteed kadu (the Hindus call it kaddoo).

The restaurants call it "pumpkin" but it's not your Halloween pumpkin.

After intensive googling, it seems as if it's either butternut squash or kabocha. Or are these merely substitutes?

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The goal -- a plate of cooked kadu from Food Corner Kebab. What is kadu?


They told me this was kadu at a Middle Eastern grocery store, but I think it's just some sort of gourd. Flesh is green and a little watery. I think they call all squashes and pumpkins "kadu," even summer squash, but it's clear to me that I am looking for winter squash or pumpkin (NOT Halloween pumpkin).

At another Middle Eastern grocery store, they told me to go to Super H, so I did. Found this:


Kadu (calaboza). This is the one you can buy in chunks at the ethnic grocery stores. Verdict, it's a little bland, somewhat starchy, and very similar in taste to what is sold in Afghani restaurants.

Kept trying. Could it be kabocha?


Kabocha. Verdict, too sweet, too dense, to be the kadu I was dreaming about.

Tried this one (no idea what it is, some sort of squash or pumpkin):


Again, too sweet, too dense.

Here's what it looked like cooked (might be the kabocha, I thought I had photos of all of them cut up and cooked but apparently not):


The closest so far in taste and texture seems to be butternut squash, but it's still not right.


Warning, cutting up and peeling the denser squashes like the kabocha is dangerous, they are tough and hard to cut without cutting yourself, which I did several times. I just read a recommendation to parboil first, submerge in a pot, put another pot on top to hold down if need be, sounds like it would work, but haven't tried yet. Recommendation is to parboil for five minutes, seems short. Then remove, let cool, and then cut and peel.

Not sure it would be a good idea to parboil a pre-cut piece of winter squash or pumpkin.

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Not sure it would be a good idea to parboil a pre-cut piece of winter squash or pumpkin.
No, it isn't. You would just be leaching out the good stuff and, at the same time, making something already watery even more so.

Most of my experience is with Butternut squash, simply because I like the taste and it is more available. I lop off the top and use a vegetable peeler to get rid of the rind. A little laborious, yes, but the cheapest U shaped peelers work the best for me.

Alternatively, putting a whole unpeeled squash in the oven at 350 for a period of time will make it much easier to cut up and dig the flesh out without the problems of parboiling. Same with the cut pieces, but I would keep a much sharper eye on them to make sure the flesh doesn't burn.

As far as the particular variety squash is concerned, it may well be that the most "authentic" isn't even available here. The trick is to find its closest cousin. Happy hunting!

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I was hooked on this from my first bite at Bamian a couple of weeks ago!

What I recall seemed closest to Kabocha squash, although I don't have a lot of experience with many varieties of squash. Maybe it was butternut.

I'd love to know, too, so that I could attempt to approximate this at home.

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