Kumror Chokka / Chokha (Pumpkin Curry Bengali Style)

At my home, a ‘Kumro’ (Pumpkin) always swings between a ‘Chenchki’ and this ‘Chokka’. Both are traditional Bengali ways of cooking pumpkin with other ingredients. A ‘Chokka’ or ‘Chokha’ is usually made with ‘Aloo’ (Potato), ‘Potol’ (Pointed Gourd) and of course, the ‘Kumro’ (Pumpkin). A handful of Red Gram (Lal Chola) is added to give it more personality. ‘Chokka’ comes from the word ‘Choka’ or ‘Chokha’ I guess, which means a dry mushy stir fried curry. A ‘Chokka’ pairs well with ‘Porota’ or ‘Phulko Luchi’, I chose to serve it with the latter today, since it’s our Durga Puja special breakfast and I favor them over the ‘Tikona Parota’ (Triangular Parathas).

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‘Kumror Choka’ or ‘Kumror Chokka’, is an absolutely delightful dish made from pumpkin, belongs to Bengali cuisine. The method of cooking this dish differs slightly from home to home. Every home has their own touch on it. But the main ingredients are always the same…….pumpkin, potato and kala chana or Bengal red gram. We also add parwal/patol/pointed guard, too. But that is optional. The spices also play an important role, here. The taste differs there. Today, I’ll share my mom’s recipe of ‘Kumror Chokka’. Her spice is the secret touch in this dish. I think my mom makes this dish the best. It goes very well with roti, luchi or paratha. Try it out……. it is absolutely yummy…………….

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Ingredients to serve 4

  • Pumpkin (Kumro) – 250 gms
  • Parwal/Patol/Pointed Gourd – 5-6
  • Potato – 1 (Big)
  • Chola/Red Gram/Bengal Gram – A handful (soaked overnight)
  • Panch Phoron/Begal Five Spices – ½ tsp
  • Bay Leaf – 1
  • Dry Red Chilli – 1
  • Green Chilli – 1-2 (slitted)
  • Ginger Paste – ¾ tsp
  • Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
  • Coriander Powder – ¼ tsp
  • Cumin Powder – ½ tsp
  • Ghee/Clarified Butter – 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp
  • Raw Peanuts – 2 Tbsps (Optional)
  • Scrapped Coconut – 2-3 Tbsp
  • Mustard Oil – 2 Tbsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Salt – To taste

Steps:

  1. Cut pumpkin in big cubes and potatoes in medium sized cubes. The pumpkin pieces should be bigger than potatoes, as pumpkin cooks faster than potatoes.
  2. Cut the Parwal/Potol/Pointed Gourd also in 1” thick pieces.
  3. Soak black Bengal gram overnight if possible, otherwise soak in hot water for 4 hours.
  4. Fry raw peanuts and grind coarsely into little pieces.
  5. Heat oil in a pan fry the parwal pieces with a pinch of turmeric powder and a little salt. When they are little brown from both sides, remove from heat. In the same pan, temper the oil with bay leaf dry whole red chillie and panch phoron, when seeds start turning light brown, add potato pieces.
  6. When potato starts turning golden add pumpkin pieces.
  7. Add salt, slitted green chillis and ginger paste. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Add all powdered spices, fried parwal/patol pieces and soaked Bengal gram now. Mix well adding 2-3 Tbsp water into it.
  9. When spices blend well, add 1 cup or enough water to cook the veggies. When water dries up and the veggies are cooked, check the seasoning and add sugar and grated coconut now.
  10. Mix well. The taste will be a blend of sweet and spicy. Add ghee and garam masala. Mix well, stir for 1 minute and remove from heat.
  11. Lastly garnish with fried peanuts.
  12. Serve with ‘Luchi’.
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