Bengali Kumro Chenchki

Stir fried squash with panch puran and chilli

Kumror-chenchkiThis time of the year there is always an abundance of pumpkin and squash in the local markets just in time for Halloween. There is much flavour in this humble veg and when paired with spices the sweetness is a delicious combination. There are so many dishes to try combining Indian spiced with squash.

There is always a curry to fall back on; although I also have a delicious recipe for sweet pumpkin pancakes in my cookbook with ground spices which is utterly moreish!

As an everyday dish, a quick stir fry with some dal and chapattis to go makes the perfect meal for me. This Bengali stir fry is definitely my top pick to try this autumn. ‘Kumro Chenchki’ is spiced squash (or red pumpkin) fried with some simple ingredients including chilli, a classic Bengali spice ‘panch puran’ and turmeric. The squash is cooked with the skin as I think it holds the chunks better. The key for this simple dish is to get the balance of sweet and spicy right. I use mustard oil for the required pungent flavour which is brilliant although you can stick with vegetable oil too. Serve with a tadka dal and some chapattis or luchis for a delicious meal!



  1. Heat the oil in a kadhai on a medium flame. Add the panch puran and red chillies letting them sizzle for a few seconds.

  2. Add the ginger paste and fry for a minute making sure to stir so it does not burn. Add the chopped squash or pumpkin and stir for 2-3 minutes.

  3. Add the powdered spices, sugar and season to taste. Stir well. Add the water and simmer on a low heat with a lid on for 8 minutes.

  4. You want the squash to cook yet hold its shape. Stir half way through and simmer for a further 4-5 minutes with the lid half over the kadhai/ pan. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with dal and luchi or puris the Bengali way.

  • Jean

    This looks delicious! Through our CSA we have accumulated quite a few winter squashes and I’ve been looking for new ways to use them. Your recipe has inspired me- not just for the squash, but for the dal and chapattis as well! Can’t wait to try making this. Thank you!

  • Chandrima Sarkar

    We call it ‘Panch Phoron’ in Bengali. 🙂 This recipe is more like the way ‘Kumror Chokka’ cooked in Bengal. We cook ‘Kumror Chenchki’ without water.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you for your comment! Yes there are alternative names as I’ve mentioned in the Spice Pantry here –
      My recipe is a hand me down from a childhood bong friend so its the one I always fall back on:)

      • Lyana

        Chenchki is a different dish which is stir fried with no water, not just an alternative name.
        The recipe looks great!!!

        • Maunika Gowardhan

          Yes of course although this recipe is from a Bengali home and they have added some water. Thank you for your comment!

  • Anita Das

    This is not chenchki . May be Daalna or Chakka. Please change recipe name. Chenchki is dry preparation without water and the veggies are always chopped.

  • Anita Das

    Moreover there is no Paanch puran or alternative name .We call it panch phoron.

  • Pauline

    Can i use sweet potato instead ?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Absolutely! Although adjust your cooking times as you dont want them to go too mushy. The sweetness would work really well with the spices. Hope you enjoy it:) x

  • Kevin

    Is it common to use prepared veg stocks instead of just water? I might try using a light veg stock made yesterday (caramelized onion, chard, carrots) and see what happens.. first time really trying to learn more about all these different varieties of indian and bengal cuisines.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Not common although using it will ofcourse enhance flavour and will taste delicious:)

  • Sandy Gungan

    This turned out to have a slightly spiced sweetness about it which went so well with the dal makhani. I have a recipe for a Bhaji of potatoes and carrots which I replaced with just sweet potato and a little carrot (lovely colour as well). I will do the same with this recipe and see how it turns out. Lovely spice mix Maunika.

  • Jen

    I made this recently, and it was delicious!


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