Butternut Squash with Black Chickpeas Subzi (Kumro Chokka)

One of my visits to Honolulu, Papia Sengupta, made this wonderful dish and I was blown away. The first thing that attracted me towards the dish was the color, very appealing to the eye. The second was the ingredients – like a lot of folks, I too am intimidated by the size of the vegetable in question (Pumpkin)! The last but not the least was the taste – what a great combination, color and the texture. The sweetness from the Pumpkin, the salt from the Chickpeas, the flavor and the aromas from the Panch Puran….it just takes the cake! Not only did I eat like a pig (without guilt) and took the balance of the dish as a doggie bag….yes, I was in love 😉
Enjoy this great love of ours and thank you again, Papia for this awesome recipe!


Butternut Squash (or Pumpkin) – 1.5 lbs (800gm approx)

Black Chickpeas – 1 cup
Water – 3 cups
Salt – to taste

Oil – 2 tbsp
Panch Puran ((see below): 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Red Chili Powder – to taste
Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
Minced Ginger – 1 tbsp
Sugar/Jaggery/Brown Sugar – 1 tsp, optional and to taste


For the Black Chickpeas:
1. Wash and rinse the Channas and soak them overnight (atleast 8 hrs) with fresh water.
2. After 8 hours, rinse out the water, transfer the Channas into a pressure cooker, add Water and Salt (1/2 tbsp or to taste).
3. Close the Pressure Cooker and allow it to cook on high heat for 1 whistle, lower heat and cook for another 30 min.
4. Turn off the flame/heat and allow the pressure to go down by itself.
5. Open pressure cooker and drain/remove the liquid and save the Channas.

For the Subzi/Vegetable:
1. Wash, cut, peel, remove seeds and fiber & cube the Squash (Pumpkin) to bite size.
2. In a open wok/skillet, heat Oil on medium heat.
3. Once hot, add the Panch Puran and allow the seeds to pop and sizzle.
4. Add the cubed Squash.
5. Mix well and cover and cook till 3/4th way done. Ours took about 12 min.
6. Stir periodically for even cooking. The Squash needs to be a little translucent and soft (but not mushy).
7. Time to add spices – Salt, Red Chili Powder, Cumin Powder, Ginger & Sugar. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
8. Add in the Channas and mix and cook till the Squash is cooked all the way.
9. Also do the taste test and get the balance between the sweet, the salt and the Red Chili.
10. Turn off the flame and it’s ready to serve.


Seeds that go into Panch Puran:
Fenugreek Seeds / Methi Dana
Cumin Seeds/ Jeera Dana
Mustard Seeds/ Rai
Onion Seeds/ Kalonji
Fennel Seeds/ Sauf

Things to do with the water from the cooked Channas:
-make dough
-make soup
-use in daals
-use in gravy dishes

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49 thoughts on “Butternut Squash with Black Chickpeas Subzi (Kumro Chokka)

  1. This was so delicious, you guys! This is one of my favorite Bangla dishes and your recipe didn’t disappoint. I can’t wait to continue making this through the winter!

  2. Just tried your butternut squash and kala channa recipe. I think you said it’s called “kumro chokka”. Absolutely delicious!! Question: is it a side dish or do you also have it with chapati?

    Thanks much!

    Ray Chirayath

    1. Hi Ray,
      Yes, it is a delicious dish and one of our favs – glad to hear that your enjoyed it too.
      When we say side-dish, it means it is usually had with rice or chapatis AND other dishes (like dals or curries) BUT having said that, I LOVE to eat this by itself or with some puris or parathas.
      Happy Cooking!

  3. Easy way to cut squash is to bake it in the oven at 500F for about an hour then it is cooked and hence soft and easy to cut.

  4. I just made this and it was perfect for the cold and damp weather at this time of year. I used pre cut butternut squash from the grocery store, and some kala chana that I had pressure cooked and stored in freezer. The curry came together very quickly. The only change that I made to recipe was to saute’ red onions along with 2 bay leaves along with the panch puran.

  5. Oh YUM!! Just made a small batch of this, as a test run for a big covered-dish dinner. Wound up eating it all, it was that good! It’ll be a big hit, I know — if I survive cutting up all that squash for 20 people.

  6. This was the recipe that finally got me interested in Indian cooking, it’s simple but so delicious. I’ve made it so many times and it’s always a complete hit, well done!

  7. Great! Mine melted a bit (the squash became soft and “mashed”), but it was still incredible. I suggest adding a few teaspoons of yogurt at the end for a creamy and delicious finish.


  8. Greetings – I would like to find a pressure cooker like you show on this video? What and where can I find one? thank you… I will be trying this recipe!!
    thanks .. keep up the great work — I tell people about your site all the time.. even when I’m in India.

    1. Thanks so much Kathleen. Between the two of us, we have many different sizes and brands of pressure cookers. You can look online or in bigger Indian grocery stores. Some of the good brands are Vinod, Prestige, and Premier. We prefer stainless steel to aluminum.

  9. Can I substitute the black chickpeas with regular (yellow) chickpeas?

    And thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge. I’m salivating here watching your videos! 🙂

    1. Hi Iris,

      We have not tried this particular recipe with the regular chickpeas but it should work. One of the things that makes this dish so appetizing is the color combination and contrast. The squash and yellow chickpeas may just blend together.

  10. Hi H&A,
    Is yellow squash and pumpkin same?pls reply.If different then pls let me know what yellow squash means in Hindi or synonym words in English which commonly used in grocessary stores.this will help in finding it in stores.thanks and regards.

    1. Hi Amita,
      If you do not have the Panch Puran blend – you can make it at home:
      Mustard Seeds (Rai), Fennel Seeds (Sauf), Neigella Seeds (Kalonji), Cumin Seeds (Jeera) & Fenugreek Seeds (Methi)
      same amounts of all of the above.
      When I make it, I tend to put a little less of Fenugreek Seeds because they can be a little bitter but it is a personal choice.
      Enjoy, this is a great dish 🙂

  11. Hi Hetal/Anuja,

    In the end you have used panch puran masala. Is that a mandatory step or can I just ignore it. I don’t have it available at this time and was hoping to make it for tomorrow dinner.


    1. Hi James,

      Definitely skip it if you don’t have it. Just curious, are you using panch puran masala in the seasoning at the beginning? If so, you can just roast it slightly and grind it.

  12. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I tried this recipe today for lunch as a side and I ended up eating only this subzi! It was that delicious!!

    I came across your website around 2 yrs. ago when I just moved to US after marriage not knowing much of cooking. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your website. Ever since then I have been trying various recipes from here with fabulous results. My hubby requests few of your recipes like Dal tadka, Masaledar Kithidi etc. regularly. The pani for the pani puri on this site hits absolutely spot on! I’m so thrilled to cook from your website everyday!!

    Thank you so much for sharing all the lovely recipes. What I really like apart from the fabulous video presentations is that you use very less oil when cooking and most importantly- accurate cooking measurements. Helps so much when making some dishes for the first time. This site is such a boon when we cannot get to eat some of the fav. Indian food outside in the US unlike India all the time but have to learn to make it at home, when just learning to cook!

    Thanks and Warm Regards,

    1. Hi Swetha,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us. We just love to hear about how SMTC is helping people enjoy cooking and eating healthy food at home. Cheers!

  13. Hi Ladies:

    Wow….that is a good recipe….i will definately try this one…Can you substitute Garbanzo beans for the Black Channa?


    1. Hi Rizwana,

      The authentic version has the black chana but you can definitely use garbanzo beans. The flavor and texture are a little different.

  14. I would love to try this recipe, but I don’t have a pressure cooker for the chana dal…. Is it possible to use canned legumes instead? If so, how many cups would I need?

    Thanks so much!!!!!!!

    PS , as far as the fat contents… I do appreciate all of your recipes as they contain alot less fat then my cookbooks… Thank you for sharing all your tips and recipes with us 🙂

    1. Hi Monique,

      You can use canned garbanzo beans as a substitute (though the flavor and texture will be slightly different). For this recipe, you can use 2 cans.

  15. this dish looks yum! i believe a little bit of jaggery is not going to make the dish brown in color, unless you add a block loads for glaze and color.

    ladies, why don’t you introduce fat free indian recipes in the videos too?? it will be helpful for people trying to lose weight to look up for recipes that are tasty but fat free and sugar free in your website.

    you ladies look great and have amazing presenting skills.

    1. Thanks Harsha! Whenever and where ever we can, we do try to offer healthy alternatives to traditional recipes. Of course, there are some things that cannot be made healthy without sacrificing authentic flavor. In those cases, we say “enjoy”! 🙂

  16. wow! Finally a subzi I can pick up anytime in walmart!! And this would be perfect with puris & sooji halwa! I absolutely love your recipes…Hooray! =D

  17. will surely try this recipe. I have never tried Bengali recipe b4 so good opportunity. My mom made a squash gravy SI style curry with coconut, sugar, turmeric, salt, chilli, tamarind paste, crushed mustard and that was yummy too….Keep u the good work…

  18. hi hetal and anuja..

    both of you are doing a superb job. i watch all your veg receipes…just made corn chevdo y’day and if was yummy.
    but not so happy with your SERVES TAB. IT IS NEVER RIGHT.

    1. Hi Raji,

      We figured that as a light snack, this recipe would serve 2. It served the two of us! 🙂 Figuring the number of servings is always a challenge for us because different people consume different amounts of food. Throw kids into the mix and then it really gets confusing!

      1. Hi Hetal,

        Being from West Bengal, I wanted to bring to your notice, that authentic ‘paanch-phoron’ does not have mustard- but has wild celery seeds called ‘chonduni’ or ‘radhuni’. There is also a similar dish called ‘kombro-r- chokka’ with Red pumpkin, potatoes and a few garbanzo beans or Kabuli chana. It is similar to this dish except that the potatoes give some body to the the very soft and sweet pumpkin.
        After the dish is all done, we add a hint of bengali garam masala (a mixture of powedered clove, cinamon and white cardamom) and a teaspoon of Ghee.

  19. Hi Hetal n Anuja!
    I always wondered what to do with squash whenever I saw it at the stores..Now I know what to do 🙂
    You both are doing great job..keep up!!

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