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Authentic Afghani Pumpkin Borani

In the rich tapestry of Afghani cuisine, one dish stands out for its vibrant colors and intricate blend of flavours: the Afghani Pumpkin Borani. Borani Kadoo showcases a perfect amalgamation of earthy spices and the natural sweetness of pumpkin, topped with a layer of creamy yogurt garlic sauce that tantalizes your palate and leaves you craving for more.

Rooted deeply in the culinary traditions of Afghanistan, Borani is a range of dishes where vegetables are the stars, coupled harmoniously with yogurt-based accompaniments. The Pumpkin Borani, in particular, is a testament to the simplicity and finesse of Afghan cuisine. It brings together the comforting sweetness of slow-cooked pumpkin, delicately spiced and mingled with an aromatic tomato base, to create a dish that is both hearty and wholesome.

A meal that brings families together, Afghani Pumpkin Borani is not just a dish, but an experience, a journey through the rich and diverse culinary landscape of Afghanistan, promising warmth, comfort, and a splash of joy with every bite. Whether you are a seasoned chef or a curious food enthusiast, preparing Borani is a venture into the authentic world of Afghani flavors, a venture that promises delight and satisfaction at the dining table.

Join us as we step into the kitchen to unlock the secrets of creating the perfect Afghani Pumpkin Borani, a dish that promises to be a shining star in your culinary repertoire, a delightful treat that brings a piece of Afghanistan to your dining table.

Basic Ingredients Afghani Pumpkin Borani


Pumpkin or Butternut Squash: These are the star ingredients, providing a sweet and earthy base to the dish. They soak up the spices well, and their soft texture contrasts nicely with the creamy yoghurt sauce.

Vegetable Oil: Used for frying the pumpkin and sautéing the onions and spices, it helps in blending the flavours together and adds richness to the dish.

Onion and Garlic: These form the base for many savoury dishes, offering a depth of flavour and sweetness that complements the pumpkin.

Ginger: Adds a subtle warmth and spiciness that works wonderfully with the sweetness of the pumpkin.

Spices (Turmeric, Coriander, Cumin, Chilli Pepper): These spices bring a warm, earthy, and slightly spicy flavour profile that enhances the sweetness of the pumpkin and makes the dish vibrant and aromatic.

Sugar: Balances the acidity from the tomato paste and the heat from the spices.

Tomato Paste and White Vinegar: Adds tanginess and a rich tomato flavour to the dish, which complements the sweetness of the pumpkin perfectly.

Water or Vegetable Broth: Helps in simmering the pumpkin to a soft texture and melds all the flavours together.

Yoghurt Sauce:

Yoghurt and Labneh: These dairy products create a creamy and tangy sauce that provides a cooling contrast to the spiced pumpkin.


Fresh Herbs and Garnishes: Mint and dill bring freshness and brightness to the dish, while ground sumac adds a tangy note and the pistachios give a crunchy texture.

alternative ingredients

Pumpkin: Can be substituted with acorn squash or sweet potatoes for a different flavour profile.

Labneh: If unavailable, you can use Greek yoghurt for a thick and creamy consistency.

Ground Sumac: This can be replaced with a sprinkle of lemon zest or a light squeeze of lemon juice for a tangy touch.

Preparation Tips for Afghani Pumpkin Borani

  • To ensure evenly cooked pumpkin slices, try to cut them in uniform thickness.
  • For a richer flavour, you can roast the spices briefly before adding them to the tomato mixture.
  • Adjust the amount of chilli as per your preference for heat.

Serving Tips for Afghani Pumpkin Borani

  • Serve the Borani warm, accompanied by a side of naan or crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
  • A sprinkle of fresh pomegranate arils can add a juicy crunch and vibrant colour to the dish.

storage tips

  • Store the pumpkin mixture and yoghurt sauce separately in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Reheat the pumpkin mixture gently on the stove or in the microwave before serving, and top with fresh yoghurt sauce and garnishes.
  • The dish can be frozen for up to a month, but the yoghurt sauce is best prepared fresh.

Authentic Afghani Pumpkin Borani

Servings: 4 people
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 medium pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into slices
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • ½ cup water or vegetable broth
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 garlic clove, thinly sliced

Yoghurt Sauce

  • 1 ½ cup plain yoghurt
  • ½ cup labneh
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp garlic, minced
  • tsp dried dill
  • tsp dried mint


  • fresh mint
  • fresh dill
  • pistachio, roughly chopped
  • pomegranate jewels


  • Prepare the pumpkin: Preheat the oven or Air fryer to 200°C. Cut the pumpkin into thin slices about 1/2-inch thick. Brush both sides with oil and bake for 25-30 minutes or until tender and slightly golden, or AirFry for about 15 to 20 minutes until slightly golden. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside. 
  • Prepare the tomato mixture: In a pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and onion and sauté until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and vinegar and fry for a couple of minutes. Season with turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli pepper, honey and pepper.
  • Simmer the Pumpkin: Add the pumpkin to the pan, stirring to coat them with the tomato mixture. Add the water or vegetable broth, and let it simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft and the flavours have melded together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Prepare the yoghurt sauce: In a bowl, combine the yoghurt, labneh, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried dill, and dried mint. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well until all the ingredients are well mixed.
  • Assemble the Borani: Spoon a generous amount of the yoghurt mixture on the base of a large serving plate. Gently layer the pumpkin and tomato mixture over the yoghurt.
  • Garnish: Garnish with fresh mint leaves, dill leaves, pomegranate jewels and roughly chopped pistachios.
  • Enjoy: Your Afghani Pumpkin Borani is ready to be served! It goes well with naan bread.

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