So I've been in a cooking rut lately. The thought of getting dinner on the table each night feels like a terrible burden, and I'm struggling to come up with ideas. In an effort to get things moving again, I was thinking about some of my favorite restaurant dishes, and I thought back to a pumpkin appetizer that I love at an Afghan restaurant called The Helmand. There's one in Cambridge, Massachusetts and one in Baltimore, Maryland--I think their ownership is related--and I've been lucky enough to eat at both of them.
This pumpkin dish sounds pretty weird--it features a base of braised, sweetened pumpkin. Then there's a layer of garlic yogurt sauce, followed by a dollop of tomato meat sauce. But the combination of flavors is sublime. I had all the ingredients (I substituted kabocha squash for the pumpkin), found a recipe online, and decided to give it a try.
And the results were pretty good! Next time I might try increasing the tomato in the meat sauce, but this was a fairly good approximation of what I remember from the restaurant. Amazingly, my kids even liked it!
So if you've ever enjoyed this dish, or if you are looking to mix things up in the kitchen, give this recipe a try. And if you're near Cambridge or Baltimore, definitely check out The Helmand--the food is amazing.