BENGALI FIVE-SPICE SQUASH - p. 108
Winter squash has started coming in the CSA box, so this recipe was a good fit. The five spice referred to hear is panch phoran, a mix of fennel, cumin, mustard, nigella, and fenugreek. It’s easy to mix this up from its components, but this is one I actually buy, because I use it enough to justify it, and since the spices are all whole, it keeps well, unlike ground mixes. The headnote says you have the option to use mustard oil instead of vegetable oil for the dish, which is what I did. To the hot oil, you add a couple dried chiles and the panch phoran. Let it sizzle for a few seconds, then add ginger, and then cubed squash (I used butternut). Turmeric, Kashmiri chile powder, and ground coriander go in next, along with some jaggery or sugar (I used jaggery). You are then supposed to season to taste (annoying, because the squash is hard at this point, so why doesn’t she just say to add salt?), then add some water. This is cooked covered at a low simmer, then she has you add a bit more water and continue to cook. Fresh coriander is added as a garnish before serving.
We really liked this. I resisted the temptation to add a squeeze of lime, but I might not resist next time. I do love flavors in panch phoran, and combined with the jaggery and other spices it made a tasty glaze for the tender squash. We had this with a mustardy eggplant curry from the author’s Web site and plain rice.