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Kashk-e Kadu

Butternut-squash-spread with whey and mint
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: butternut squash, kashk, mint, vegetarian
Servings: 4
Author: Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef

Ingredients

Butternut squash

  • 1 large butternut squash, about 2.5 to 3 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Spread

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely ground
  • 1/2 cup Kashk (Persian whey sauce), adjust to your taste

Mint sauce

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1 pinch salt

Garnish

  • 4 tablespoons Kashk (Persian whey sauce), dilute with a little water as necessary to drizzle
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

Instructions

Butternut squash

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Slice the butternut squash in half, remove the seeds and rub with oil and place face down on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for up to 1 hour, depending on the size of the squash. The flesh should be completely soft at this stage.
  • Using a spoon, scoop out the squash and set aside.

Spread

  • In a large frying pan, saute the onions with olive oil on medium heat for 20 minutes or until they have turned golden and lightly caramelized.
  • Add garlic, turmeric, salt and pepper and continue to saute for 2 minutes.
  • Continue by adding the ground walnuts to the pan and saute for 2 additional minutes to bring out the walnuts' flavor.
  • Add the butternut squash and Kashk to this mixture and toss to mix all the ingredients together.
  • Cover, reduce the flame to low and cook for 5 minutes.

Mint Sauce

  • In a small frying pan, saute the garlic in the oil over low heat for about 3-5 minutes or until it has turned lightly golden.
  • Add the dried mint and salt, and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Stir frequently and keep an eye out on the flame to make sure the mint is not burning.

Assembly and garnish

  • Arrange the spread on a platter and drizzle the mint sauce over the spread and decoratively drizzle the Kashk. Garnish with mint leaves.
  • Serve the spread with Persian flat breads and a fresh herbs platter.

Notes

I am a big fan of fried onions and usually prepare them in large batches and keep them in the fridge.  I often add fried onions as part of my garnish to this spread.