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Winter Squash & Red Chard Curry
India - Bengal   -   Kumro Diye Lal Shager Ghanto

4 main  
1-1/2 hrs  

This is a relatively dry curry, with the sweetness of the squash and onion countered by the chard and chili, with yogurt providing a welcome lightly sour note. The generous portion of Black Cumin gives it an unusual aroma.




Winter Squash (1)  
Chard, red (2)
Onion, red
Chili, green (3)
Ginger root
Bay Leaves
Black Cumin (4)
Mustard Oil (5)
Water (6)
-- Tadka
Ghee (7)
Garam Masala (8)

PREP   -   (35 min - exclusive of preparing chickpeas)
  1. Peel SQUASH, scrape out the seed mass and dice about 1/2 inch on a side, or as desired.
  2. Chop CHARD fine, using some of the more tender parts of stems.
  3. Chop ONION small. Chop CHILIS small. Slice GINGER very thin and chop fine. Mix and reduce to paste in a mini-prep processor, mortar, or by whatever means you have.
  4. Mix together Yogurt, Salt and Sugar.
  5. Break BAY LEAVES into several pieces and mix with BLACK CUMIN
RUN   -   (55 min)
  1. In a spacious sauté pan, wok or kadhai, heat Mustard Oil until you see the first wisp of smoke. Take off the heat and let cool a little.
  2. Stir in Bay Leaf mix and fry stirring until aromatic, about 45 seconds. then stir in Onion mix. Fry stirring over moderate heat until the onions no longer look wet and start sticking to the pan.
  3. Stir in Squash and fry stirring until well blended and starting to soften a bit.
  4. Stir in Yogurt mix and Water as needed (see Note-6). Cover tightly and simmer slowly, stirring a couple of times, until squash is tender but not at all mushy. This may be 15 to 40 minutes depending on your squash.
  5. Stir in Chard and cook stirring until it is well wilted, about 10 minutes.
  6. Bring the Ghee up to frying temperature. Stir in Garam Masala for about 15 seconds, until aromatic but not at all burned. Pour over the Squash and mix well.
  7. Serve hot with plenty of steamed Basmati rice.
  1. Winter Squash:   Weight is after peeling, as yield from different squash can vary significantly. The photo example used almost half a large green Hubbard squash, but other winter squash will do fine too. For details, see our Squash page.
  2. Chard, Red:   The measure is chopped fine and very lightly packed. You will need to start with a bundle weighing about 12 ounces, a little more if it's real stemmy.
  3. Green Chilis:   Indian cookbooks always give chilis by count - and never provide any hint as to how big or how hot they should be. I use 1 Chili Serrano for this recipe which I don't think needs to be any hotter than that. For details see our Chili Page.
  4. Black Cumin:   Caution!   This is a special version of cumin with very small long seeds. It is NOT nigella, often sold as "black cumin". For details see our Cumin page.
  5. Mustard Oil:   This oil is needed for the true taste of Bengal and Kashmir cuisines. It is available in any market serving an Indian community. If you use some other oil, do not heat it up to smoking. For details see our Mustard Oil page.
  6. Water:   The pattern recipe called for no water, but I found it needed. This will depend on your squash and cooking time - adjust as needed.
  7. Ghee:   This is highly clarified butter, available from stores serving an Indian, Middle Eastern or North African community. If you must use oil, avocado oil has a more buttery taste than others.
  8. Garam Masala:   Bengali garam masalas are very simple compared to those of northern India, see our recipe Garam Masala - Bengali. If you have only a northern style GM, it certainly won't ruin the dish.
  9. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste

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