The inspiration for this recipe is a classic Bengali dish (kumror chokka) where pumpkin and black garbanzo beans are stir fried together with panch phoron (translated to "five spices" in Bengali). I decided to use butternut squash for this recipe, because that is my favorite winter squash and instead of making it a stir fry, I converted it to a thick and creamy stew to welcome the cooler weather.
Black garbanzo beans have an amazing nutty taste, but it usually requires a long soak and is not convenient for spur of the moment cooking (like mine usually is!). So, I decided to roast the garbanzo, in order to get it to be nuttier and provide a nice textural contrast.
The original dish often has freshly grated coconut strewn on top, but I used toasted coconut flakes as a more convenient alternative. Enjoy! —Madhuja
2 1/2 pounds
butternut squash, peeled and flesh cut into 1 1/2 " cubes
red onion, thinly sliced
can of garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and thoroughly patted dry
full fat coconut milk
freshly grated ginger
Panch phoron/ Bengali five spice (see note #1)
ground cayenne (use less if you do not like things spicy)
toasted coconut flakes (see note #2)
lime, juiced (add more if you prefer things tart)
chopped cilantro, for garnish
Note #1: You can find panch phoron at any Indian grocery store or online. If you don't have it, use equal parts of mustard seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds.
Note #2: Since the original dish is on the sweeter side, I used sweetened coconut flakes (roasted at 400F for 3-4 minutes, until they were slightly browned). If you like things less sweet, feel free to use unsweetened coconut flakes.
Preheat oven to 400F. Add the cubed butternut squash to a baking sheet. Sprinkle salt and drizzle generously with vegetable oil. Toss to coat evenly and let it bake for about 30 minutes, turning once halfway through to get nice caramelized edges. Set aside.
On another baking sheet, add the garbanzo beans. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with vegetable oil and toss to coat well. Bake for about 30 minutes or so until outside is getting to be crunchy. Set aside.
On medium heat, add vegetable oil to a heavy bottomed pot. Add the Bengali five spice and stir it around for a few seconds until intensely aromatic. Add the onions and a big pinch of salt and saute until softened and translucent.
Add the ginger, turmeric, cayenne and smoked paprika and saute for a minute. Add the coconut milk and a cup of water and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the roasted butternut squash and lime juice and GENTLY mix everything. Simmer for a couple more minutes. Add a bit more water if you like it to be soupier. Check for seasoning.
Just before you are ready to serve, scatter the roasted garbanzo beans and toasted coconut flakes on top. Garnish with cilantro and serve with steamed rice. Enjoy!