Try Kumror Chokka: A Nostalgic Bengali Dish
Image Credit: Kumror Chokka

Hailing from a Bengali family, I almost grew up having this humble recipe, especially during Durga Puja. Most of the time, the breakfast of those five days would include Kumror Chokka and Luchi. The former is a simple recipe with sweet pumpkins and a few other ingredients. Luchi is deep-fried tiny flat bread prepared with refined flour. The supple pumpkin cubes infused with the aroma of ghee, and black cumin seeds, used to leave a lingering aftertaste. Perhaps, this is a very successful trick for Bengali mothers to get their kids to develop a taste for vegetables like pumpkin. For sure, my maa was successful. 

In fact, there was a time when Kumror Chokka was a staple in Bengali weddings, especially for vegetarians. It is even minus the use of garlic and onions. Despite this, the taste is unbeatable. Sadly, in recent years, it seems to lose its ground. Nevertheless, people like you and me can always restore its glory. And, when you get to know how potent the pumpkin is for our health, you will give this recipe a shot. 

Health Perks of Pumpkin

Sweet Pumpkin

Pumpkin has natural low sodium levels. Its stats of fibre, potassium, and vitamin C, help to maintain good blood pressure. There are several ways that this superfood benefits your health. It contains 17% of your daily recommended allowance (RDA) of vitamin C and 197 per cent of your RDI of vitamin A. It contains soluble fibre that absorbs bad LDL cholesterol like a sponge. According to research, excessive "bad" cholesterol buildup on artery walls might reduce blood flow and raise your risk of heart disease. Insoluble fibre aids in a healthy digestive system and maintains regular bathroom visits. The zinc in pumpkin seeds helps the digestive process's smooth functioning.

Let's create some Bengali magic with pumpkin. 

Kumror Chokka

A Spoonful of Flavours 


    1/2kg sweet kumro or pumpkin (red)

    100 gm chana dal or black chickpeas

    2 potatoes

    Green chillies (as per preferred spice level)

   1 tbsp clarified butter or ghee

    ¼ cup mustard oil

    Sugar as per taste


    1 tbsp grated or paste ginger 

    1 tsp cumin powder

    ½ tsp turmeric powder

    1 tsp coriander powder

    1/2 tsp homemade garam masala powder

    Salt to taste

Assorted Spices

For tempering

    1 tsp of kala jeera or black cumin (you can use panch phoran)

    1 dry red chilli (optional)

    2 bay leaves

    ¼ tsp hing or asafoetida


1.    Wash the chickpeas thoroughly and soak them overnight. If time is a constraint, at least leave them in water for six hours.

2.    Start the recipe by washing the soaked chickpeas and transfer into a pressure cooker. Add required amount of water and salt to taste. Cook till 6-8 whistles. Remove from the flame and let it cool down.

3.    Let the pressure go on its own. Now drain the excess water and strain the boiled chickpeas. 

4.    Peel off the skin from the pumpkin and potatoes. Wash them thoroughly. Cut them into small cubes.

5.    In a deep bottomed wok, heat the oil.

6.    Add the kalo jeera, bay leaf, and dry red chilli and let them splutter. 

7.    Keeping the flame low, blend in coriander powder, cumin powder, ginger paste and turmeric powder.

8.    Ensure that the spices aren't getting burnt. Now add the pumpkin and potato cubes. Stir them thoroughly. 

9.    Add salt to taste and cook for a few minutes on low-medium flame. 

10.    Mix the boiled chickpeas and slitted green chillies. Toss them well to blend with other ingredients. 

11.    Let it cook for at least five minutes. Don't cover the vessel. 

12.    Keep stirring to ensure it's not burnt or sticking to the wok's surface.

13.    For it to get cooked properly, add around ¾ cup of lukewarm water.

14.    Using the ladle, stir all the ingredients.

15.    Now reduce the flame, cover the vessel and let the veggies cook. 

16.    In between, stir the chokka for a couple of times.

17.    If you want to have that typical sweetness of this dish, add sugar as per your taste.

18.    Pour ghee and home-pounded garam masala. 

19.    Give a gentle stir and cook it for another two minutes without the lid. 

20.    The quintessential kumror chokka is set to be relished with luchi.

Share your experience.