Mealtime: Borani Kadoo and Bolani | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Mealtime: Borani Kadoo and Bolani


Published August 22, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

  • Andy Brumbaugh
  • Borani Kadoo

Looking for a creative way to serve pumpkins and butternut squash this fall?

I recently discovered one: Over the summer I visited friends in Baltimore who brought me to a fantastic Afghan restaurant. They suggested I try their favorite dish, which consists of sweetened pumpkin or squash served with a spiced yogurt sauce. It was absolutely delicious, and I knew that I had to try making it.

While researching the dish, I found that it's often served with both a yogurt sauce and a spiced tomato sauce. The pumpkin or squash is usually baked with sugar, but I put a Vermont spin on it by substituting maple syrup instead.

I wanted to make a full meal, so I added a versatile unleavened Afghan stuffed flatbread called bolani. There are so many relatively easy-to-make variations, including vegetarian and meat options. I opted for a filling with lots of veggies, including potatoes, spinach and scallions — plus ground chicken, cilantro and delicious spices. An added bonus: The bolani can be packed into lunches and served at room temperature!

The flatbread can be made ahead of time: Just wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate it. It'll be good for 10 to 14 days. Once cooked and cooled, the stuffed bolani can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days, or frozen for a few months.

The best part is that both of the sauces are also wonderful on the bolani. You may never have traveled to the Middle East, but this flavorful meal will bring your taste buds there. 

Borani Kadoo


  • 2-3 pounds butternut squash or sugar pie pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or use sugar for a more authentic dish)
  • 2/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven or other oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Coat cut squash or pumpkin evenly in oil. Add to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring often.
  3. Remove pot from heat and add sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon, stirring to coat. Cover and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes, until tender.
  4. Serve warm with the yogurt and tomato sauces. (See recipes at right.)

Garlic Yogurt Sauce


  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed


  1. Combine garlic and yogurt thoroughly.
  2. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow flavors to combine.

Spiced Tomato Sauce


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups plain canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil.
  2. Cook onion and garlic until onion is translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add spices and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomato sauce and water and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.

Bolani (Stuffed Afghan Flatbread)

  • Andy Brumbaugh
  • Bolani



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt


  • 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt (more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken
  • vegetable oil for frying


  1. Knead together the ingredients for the dough until a smooth ball forms. Wrap in lightly oiled plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Boil or cook potatoes in a microwave oven until soft. (I cooked them in my Instant Pot on high pressure for 10 minutes. If you are boiling on the stovetop, you can peel and chop into chunks before boiling.) Cool slightly, then peel off the skin and put the cooked potatoes in a large bowl.
  3. Mash potatoes together with spinach, scallions and cilantro.
  4. Heat the tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add spices and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Add ground chicken to the spices in the pan and cook until the chicken is lightly browned and cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  6. Combine the spiced meat with the potato mixture.
  7. Divide the dough into 8 equal balls.
  8. Roll each ball into a rough 6- to 8-inch circle.
  9. Scoop about 1/3 cup of the filling mixture onto one half of each circle, leaving about 1/2 inch around the edge.
  10. Wet the edges of the circle with just a little water, then fold over and press edges together to close tightly. Flatten each half circle slightly so they are of an even thickness.
  11. Heat a large pan (cast iron preferred) or griddle over medium-high heat. Add just enough vegetable oil to coat the pan, then fry the flatbread for about 3 minutes on each side, until lightly brown. (If you can, use another pan on top, with parchment paper under it, to press down the flatbreads, so they cook evenly). Turn the heat down if they get dark brown. Continue until all flatbreads are cooked.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Pumpkin and Stuffed Flatbread | An easy Middle East-inspired meal"

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