Kumro Chokka, Pumpkin Stir Fry

December 9, 2008

I know I said no more dinner parties. But rules are meant to be broken. Three separate groups of four each don’t one big dinner party make. And feeding hungry students in December is more Christmas charity less entertaining.

So I invited my sister and her three closest mates over for dinner. That’s two three Bengali girls and one Punjabi boy, who is a recent convert to quick Indian cooking. None had eaten since end of November in anticipation of the feast.

I was set to impress with the trendy-but-domestic sister act. I cooked all the food in advance. Popped it into pyrex glass dishes ready to reheat the oven. The table was laid. The man taught me how to spin itunes to provide choons for the evening.

It was all going swimmingly. I couldn’t get itunes to work initially. When I finally worked it out, I set it on non-stop party playlist. A safe choice. What could go wrong? Ne-Yo. Tick. Mika. Tick. Beyonce. Tick.

And then Pump up the Jam. That’s 1989! I jumped out of my chair and lunged towards the imac. Just in time to prevent Madonna from breaking into a 1983 rendition of Holiday.

Pride in tatters, I turned to the food. We ate Kosha Mangsho, Cholar dal, Beguni with Kumro Chokka, a deceptively simple sweet and spicy pumpkin stir fry with little black chick peas. It’s cooked with a classic Bengali five spice mix called Panch Phoron.

I chose pumpkin because they are so in season. They cook in a jiffy. And I’m also sick of pumpkin soup. Luckily for my cool credentials, they also turned out to be the biggest hit of the evening.



Feeds 4-6:

  • 750gm pumpkin
  • 1 tsp panch phoron
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • Half tsp chilli powder
  • Half tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 whole green chillies
  • 120gm cooked black chick peas (I used the ready tinned stuff)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste


Peel and chop the pumpkin into large bite-sized pieces. Bring the oil to heat in a large non-stick saucepan.

When it’s hot, add the panch phoron anf the ginger. As they sizzle up, chuck in the spice powders and the pumpkin. Stir on a hight heat for about a minute until the pumpkin is well coated.

Next, mix in the chick peas with the green chillies and a tablespoon of hot water. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the pumpkin softens.

Add salt to taste and serve hot with dal and plain white rice.



13 Responses to “Kumro Chokka, Pumpkin Stir Fry”

  1. Mary Says:

    December 19th, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Thank you for this recipe! I loved it and so did my guests. Totally delicious. It disappeared so fast. Brilliant.

  2. Chris Says:

    December 15th, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    This sounds great; thanks for posting it!

  3. Homecooked Says:

    December 14th, 2008 at 3:32 am

    This looks good! For a moment I thought it was halwa :)

  4. lee Says:

    December 12th, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    stringy pumpkins are disgusting. the really thick, firm, sweet, darkly-coloured, smooth ones are best

    my mum grew about 100 a couple of years ago. i was skint so took 10 home and was eating pumkin for 3meals a day every day for a week

  5. Elisabeth Winkler Says:

    December 11th, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I love pumpkin! A stir-fry adding water to cook the pumpkin is brilliant and I have some cooked chickpeas in the fridge. Ginger and chilli, yes, and I will improvise the panch phoron…

    I find i-tunes playlist uncannily plays the right toons and must agree with above comment: Pump Up the Jam is one of the greats!

  6. hugh Says:

    December 11th, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Hi Mallika

    What’s for Christmas Dinner?

  7. Christie @ fig&cherry Says:

    December 10th, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Pump Up the Jam is an awesome song!!!

  8. Joyita Says:

    December 10th, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    hey.. I cook this too. but not with paanch foron…. instead I add cumin seeds and asafoetida…will put up a post about that soon….

  9. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen Says:

    December 10th, 2008 at 9:27 am

    I love pumpkin anything – sweet OR savory! This looks awesome Mallika!

  10. sonia Says:

    December 10th, 2008 at 8:33 am

    I should try that. I got a lot of pumpkin the other day cause it is in season and was on sale. I have a similar tried and tested recipe that I make with biryanis/pulao sans the black chickpeas – I let the pumpkin cool a little and then add some yogurt, cilantro and roasted peanuts. Its always been a hit at my place. I will try the kala chana next time.

  11. indosungod Says:

    December 9th, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Lovely color and the addition of the chick peas makes it a hit. I cook it with butternut squash as the pumpkins I get here are kind of stringy or I have not been picking the right kind.

  12. notyet100 Says:

    December 9th, 2008 at 10:23 am

    as always,…yummy,….:-)

  13. Vaidehi Says:

    December 9th, 2008 at 8:54 am

    healthy and delicious !!

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