Food and Drink

Whip Up the Delicious Pumpkin Appetizer Kaddo Bourani

Helmand Karzai shares a recipe for this special Afghan dish.

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

When the Karzai family opened their first Helmand restaurant in Chicago in 1983, they weren’t sure how Afghan cuisine would be embraced. The Chicago Tribune food critic Phil Vettel lauded the “exotic cuisine” at the time, impressed with the decor of elaborate tapestries and immaculate service. Four years later, Qayam Karzai and his brother Mahmood opened another Helmand location in Baltimore, in a cultural neighborhood near art museums and the city symphony.

“It was a hit in the right neighborhood at the right time,” says Qayam’s namesake son, Helmand, who runs the restaurant today. “From what people have told me, to have ethnic cuisine in a white tablecloth environment with tuxedoed waiters, was a bit different at the time. It’s not that formal anymore, but it was always affordable. So that made it pretty popular.”

Helmand started out as a busboy in the summers when he was 14 (the Chicago location ended up closing around that time), and he remembers the restaurant always being busy. Despite political turmoil in the Karzai family’s home country and prejudices unfairly lofted towards the community after September 11, the Helmand has persevered and been embraced for 32 years.”There was a slight learning curve for Afghan cuisine,” Helmand says. “But how popular is Indian cuisine and Middle Eastern food? Afghan cuisine is such a great combination of the two. Even for more meat and potato eaters, this food fits the bill. The flavors are very comforting, and I think that’s why the pumpkin dish has been a success.”

“The pumpkin dish” is the restaurant’s kaddo bourani pumpkin appetizer, which has become the stuff of legend. Traditionally, you’ll find the dish at Afghan weddings and celebrations, in big hotel sheet pans, and it’s typically served with a ground beef sauce with turmeric and coriander.

Over the years, the Helmand restaurant nixed the beef sauce and developed a vegetarian-only menu where kaddo bourani was the star. Cubes of pumpkin seasoned with sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon are drizzled with salty, garlicky yogurt and it continues to be a menu favorite.

“Pumpkin is one of those things, like when do you ever not have it in a pie?” Helmand says. “This dish creates such fun mouth flavors and is exactly what you want leading up to the holidays. Right after Halloween, our walk-in is just full of pumpkins and it’s great because they don’t go bad for a long time.”

Helmand says the dish is pretty easy to make and he and his wife Naomi even make it for their young daughter. He advises to boil the pumpkin before roasting it for maximum flavor, being careful not to overcook it. Another tip is that you could stick it inside bolani, or Afghan stuffed flatbread, making the possibilities for kaddo bourani truly endless.

“We could never take it off the menu and, in fact, I want to expand how we use it,” he says. “We’ve just been so grateful to see just how people are more open to this food and really embraced it over the years.”

Kaddo Bourani Recipe


  • 1 pound pumpkin, approx ¼ small pumpkin (a lot of farms call them spookie pumpkins)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. De-seed pumpkin and peel off skin. Cut the pumpkin into five pieces, and put in a five-quart stock pot.
3. Fill it three-quarters of the way with water, add 1½ cups of sugar, boil for ​30 minutes or until tender but not falling apart.
​4. Heat a pan with canola oil, place pumpkin inside, sprinkle sugar and salt on top.
5. Stick the pan in the oven at 375 for 10 minutes, flip it, sprinkle additional sugar, coriander, cinnamon, and salt, and put back in the oven for 10 minutes.
6. While the pumpkin is cooking, mix together yogurt, salt, and garlic really well. (You can also do this in advance and refrigerate for best results.)
7. Serve pumpkin warm with yogurt sauce on top.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Jess Mayhugh is the editorial director of Food & Drink for Thrillist. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Food and Drink

How Talking Terps Has Influenced Cannabis Hype Culture

The origins and optimism behind the cannabis brand that sells out drops within minutes. Canabis...

Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain
Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain
Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain

Many cannabis brands describe themselves as “lifestyle brands” and “cultural disruptors.” Few of them actually impact lifestyles or broader cultural trends. Only one of them has figurines up on Stock X right now.

“For OG Terp Crawford to be featured amongst Nike, Jordans, Supreme, BAPE, and PS5s is really sick,” says Hope Lord, co-founder of cannabis lifestyle brand Talking Terps. “Stock X is not taking everyone who makes a toy and putting it up there.”Between their psychedelic graphics, cannabis-adjacent accessories, and famous OG Terp Crawford figurine, Talking Terps has established a cult following amongst cannabis enthusiasts, hypebeasts, and beyond. On paper, it’s a lifestyle brand interested in both cannabis and psychedelics. In action, Talking Terps is an alternative universe that bridges the gaps between toy culture, cannabis culture, psychedelic culture, and American pop culture.

The brand was established as a concept in 2015 by Leor Feit aka Hope Lord, Flatbush Zombies member Antonio Lewis aka Zombie Juice, and Flatbush Zombies spiritual adviser Phil Annand aka PTA Haiti 3000. One year later, the phrase “talking terps” popped in a Flatbush Zombies song, referring to terpenes, a compound found in cannabis.

“We had a show at Red Rocks in Colorado,” Lord recalls. “I had a friend that was part of Blue River Terpenes who brought us the first sample of cannabis-derived terpenes. Then Juice and Erick made a song with it in the chorus.”

Talking Terps
Talking Terps
Talking Terps

Once Talking Terps emerged as a phrase, the graphics, accessories, apparel, events, and, of course, toys were soon to follow. By 2017, the phrase was spotted on one of Snoop Dogg’s t-shirts. In 2019, the concept of Terp Crawford was born, launching the brand towards the collectible toy game.

While the first Terp Crawford was technically a plush pillow, the first toy-named OG Terp Crawford-came in March 2020. The 6-inch tall vinyl sculpture of a humanized weed nug with a joint in his hand and a smile on his face is meant to embody everything Hope, Juice and PTA stand for.

“Our message is to love each other and be happy,” Lord says. “Tread lightly and disrupt nothing.”OG Terp Crawford drops sell out in actual seconds and resell on sites like Stock X for over double their retail price. More than a simple toy, he’s a figure that Talking Terps hopes will evolve into a full-on cartoon character.

“As time goes, the idea for Terp Crawford is for him to be a Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny type figure from our world that can cross over,” Lord says. “There should be no reason one day that Terp Crawford’s not throwing a football in some skit on Monday Night Football.”

That’s not just a high aspiration-the team is currently working with 3 Hearts Entertainment to develop a TV show around him. The goal is for Terp Crawford to go global and for Talking Terps to go meta. With their vast graphic library and club of TT enthusiasts, virtual collectibles like NFTs only make sense (though the team can’t let the terp out of the hat just yet).

“I can see Terp Crawford in Japan, speaking in Japanese on TV,” Lord muses. “Once we take him somewhere else, we could do big sculptures, like at KAWS level, maybe. I think we’ll get a TV show. I can’t speak too much on what we’re working on for the metaverse, but it’s got a lot of components. I can say that we’re building a whole new platform called the meta-forest.”

It’s safe to say there will be a sold-out waitlist to get into that forest.
Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat!

Danté Jordan is a freelance writer, video producer, and media consultant specializing in cannabis culture and education. Follow him on Instagram.


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