Bengali five-spice squash is a true taste of India

Panchphoron is a spice mixture that is used in many Bengali dishes. For a more pungent flavor, you can cook this stir-fry in mustard oil.


3 tbsp vegetable olive oil

2 heaped tsp panchphoron (shop bought or homemade, see the page below)

2 dried mild, red chillies, deseeded

5cm of ginger root, crushed into a paste

850g squash or pumpkin, peeled then cut into bite-sized pieces

1½ tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder or mild chili powder

2 heaped tsp ground Coriander

2 tsp brown sugar, jaggery or dark soft brown sugar

Salt, to your liking

100ml water

To garnish: Chop coriander

  • Heat the oil in an iron or steel traditional Indian wok or kadhai over medium heat. After letting the panchphoron and red chillies sizzle for a while, add the ginger paste to the wok or kadhai and fry for about a minute. Stir frequently to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  • Stir in the chopped squash or pumpkin. Next, add the powdered spices, sugar, or jaggery. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover the pan for 6 minutes. Stir and add a splash of water to the pan. Continue cooking for another 10-12 minutes, covered. The squash should be fully cooked but still retain its shape.
  • Garnish your dish with fresh coriander.