Butternut Squash with Coriander & Chillies


Root vegetables such as pumpkin and butternut squash are really popular in Bangladesh, and the Bengali grocery stores around Brick Lane display a choice selection whenever they’re in season. This recipe is a staple Bengali dish often served alongside meat or chicken, but it is equally popular on its own as it is quite substantial and satisfying - great for vegetarians. Sweet butternut squash cubes are gently cooked with cumin and turmeric and finished with a burst of fresh coriander and sliced green chillies. It’s one of those recipes that I cook again and again as it’s super easy and ready in about 20 minutes.


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 700 g butternut squash, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 2-3 green chillies, slit lengthways
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander


Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan on medium-high heat, then add the onions, salt and bay leaf. Sauté for a few minutes until the onion is translucent but not browned. Add the turmeric and cumin, cook for a minute and then add the butternut squash, ensuring all the pieces are coated in the spice.

Add 100ml of boiling water and bring to a gentle simmer, then throw the green chillies on top and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for eight to ten minutes, or until the squash cubes are soft and tender but still retaining their shape. Very gently stir in the chopped coriander and check the seasoning. Cover and cook for another minute before turning off the heat. I like to serve this with steamed rice or flatbread for a simple lunch, or as a side to other Asian dishes.