Bengali butternut squash with chickpeas

This warming, quick and easy recipe is vegetarian comfort food at its best.

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  • 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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