Friday, 30 August 2013

Butternut Squash and Cinnamon Pilaf - کدو پلو - Kadoo Polo

Butternut squash and cinnamon pilaf (کدو پلو) is simple and quick to prepare and has the reputation of being the poor man's meal.  Traditionally, rice is cooked with sauteed cubes of pumpkin, fried onions and a little cinnamon and turmeric. Sugar is added to caramelise the pumpkin for those with a sweet tooth and in our house, it is always served with eggs fried in plenty of butter.  Cinnamon and pumpkin work so magically well together that the end result is an uplifting, fresh and heavenly fragrant pilaf.

There are dishes we absolutely love and dishes we absolutely hate, but there are dishes which fall into the love and hate category.  This pilaf is surely on my list of love and hate foods.  The stories about this food are many and they usually involve how much a person hates it or loves it.  Even my mother who loves most foods, as a child wasn't a fan of this dish. She was told if she didn't eat it she had to stay home alone while the entire family went on holiday during summer.  Then there was me, a fussy child who ate bread and fruits if lunch and dinner were not up to my standards.  If I could not find anything else to eat I used to eat the eggs and pick out the pumpkin bits and push them to the side of the plate and made a pumpkin mountain with all the pumpkin pieces.  

Our delicate palate changes and develops over years and I am glad my taste buds changed.  I put my new found love of pumpkin into good use and turned an old ancient simple pumpkin pilaf into a modern day dish with the addition of new ingredients. I left out the turmeric as it was overpowering the subtleness of pumpkin, and added pine nuts and wilted baby spinach for extra texture.  After tasting my new creation, I was overly satisfied to have created a new exciting dish inspired by a childhood dislike of pumpkin pilaf.


3 Cups peeled and cubed butternut squash 
2 Cups Rice, boiled and drained.  Follow recipe for Chelo
2 onions, sliced
2 Tablespoon oil for frying
2 Tablespoon butter
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Soft Brown Sugar (optional)
1/4 Cups toasted Pine nuts
2 Cups baby spinach


  1. In a large fry pan, sautee onions until translucent.
  2. Add butternut cubes and butter, sautee for a further few minutes.
  3. Add cinnamon and sugar and allow to caramelize for a few minutes on low heat.
  4. Add drained rice to the fry pan and mix well. 
  5. Return the mixed rice into a pot and steam the rice.
  6. Add spinach leaves and pine nuts before serving.
  7. Serve with fried eggs.

1 comment:

  1. This is a lovely idea for a meatless meal. We have some butternut squash in the fridge now, actually. I'm going to make this for dinner tonight!