A true taste of India: Bengali five-spice squash
Panch phoron is a spice mix used in lots of Bengali recipes. You can also cook this stir-fry with mustard oil for a slightly more pungent flavour.
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 heaped tsp panch phoron (shop-bought or homemade, see page below)
2 dried mild red chillies, deseeded
5cm ginger root, crushed to a paste
850g squash or pumpkin, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or mild chilli powder
2 heaped tsp ground coriander
2 tsp dark soft brown sugar or jaggery
salt, to taste
chopped coriander, to garnish
- Heat the oil in a nonstick wok or kadhai (traditional Indian iron or steel cooking pot) over a medium heat. Add the panch phoron and red chillies, letting them sizzle for a few seconds, then add the ginger paste and fry for a minute, making sure you stir so it does not burn.
- Add the chopped squash or pumpkin and stir for 2-3 minutes before adding the powdered spices and sugar or jaggery. Season to taste and stir well, then add the water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 6 minutes. Stir, add a splash more water and continue to cook for a further 10-12 minutes with the lid on. You want the squash to be fully cooked, yet holding its shape.
- When you are ready to eat, garnish with fresh coriander and serve with dal, pickles and flatbreads.