Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Bengali butternut squash with chickpeas

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
From Indian Food Made Easy
This warming, quick and easy recipe is vegetarian comfort food at its best.


  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add the asafoetida, bay leaf, panch phoran and chillies and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring well to combine.

  2. Add the onion, stir to coat in the spices, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until softened and golden-brown.

  3. Add the ground turmeric, cumin and coriander, the salt, sugar and ginger paste and stir well. Add a splash of water, stir and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

  4. Add the butternut squash pieces and the boiling water. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender.

  5. Add the chickpeas, ground garam masala and fennel seeds and another splash of water if necessary to keep the mixture loose. Add the salt and sugar, if using. Stir well and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, or until warmed through. Serve immediately.


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • large pinch ground asafoetida
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp panch phoran (a blend of equal quantities of fenugreek, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, cumin and mustard seeds), available from Asian supermarkets, also known as Bengali five-spice
  • 1-2 mild dried red chillies
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 level tsp ground cumin
  • 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ginger paste (available from Asian supermarkets, or make your own by crushing or blending fresh ginger to a rough paste, adding water if necessary to loosen)
  • 500g/1lb 2oz butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, flesh cut into 4cm/1½in cubes
  • 200ml/7fl oz boiling water
  • 200g/7oz canned chickpeas, drained and washed
  • 1 tsp ground garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • salt, to taste
  • sugar, to taste

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