Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kumro-Chingri Botti...


…or Pumpkin with Shrimps!!! With Halloween just gone by, can pumpkins be far behind? And I tell you there are much better ways to put a pumpkin to use than making a jack-o-lantern out of it, at least every Bong thinks so.
Pumpkin is a much loved vegetable in Bengal, and there are a variety of dishes with equally unique names made with this unassuming plump orange vegetable. We have Kumro’r Chakka (a dish made with potatoes, parwal, Pumpkin and chana), Kumro’r chechki ( pumpkin cooked with hing & methi), Kumro’r por bhaja(pumpkin slices fried in batter), Kumro in chachari(mixed vegetable with pumpkin) and even Kumro bhaate (plain boiled pumpkin, mashed and mixed with little mustard oil ). Kumro ful or flowers of the pumpkin plant are also fried in a batter and is a delicacy, so much so that last year I had a pumpkin patch in my backyard to get the flowers which are not available in this foreign land.
On the aside, all this “dear Pumpkin” reminds me of Pumpkin in “Memoirs of a Geisha”, a wonderfully written book, go ahead and read it if you haven’t. Haven't seen the movie but the book is beautiful.

Today I made Kumro-Chingri Botti, just because I loved its sound on my tongue and also because I love shrimp. This is a dish my Ma-in-law makes and is something that was never cooked by my Ma. My Ma who is a Ghoti(Bengalis originally from West Bengal) always makes Pumpkin in a strict vegetarian fashion with no onions or any other non-veg distractions. So I am not sure whether this is a Bangal(people and culture originating from east Bengal now a separete country Bangladesh) tradition. Whatever it is, it is definitely tasty and now my Ma likes it too.
What You Need
Pumpkin ~ I used 2 slices like the ones shown
Shrimp ~ I used medium sized frozen cooked shrimps
Onion ~ ½ small chopped
Green Chillies ~ 5/6 slit

PanchPuran ~ a five spice mixture
Turmeric Powder

How I Do It

Peel the hard skin of the pumpkin and cut in small cubes
Thaw the shrimp if you are using frozen and mix with little turmeric and salt. For fresh shrimp, buy the small ones, remove the shell, devein and mix with turmeric & salt
Lightly fry the shrimp
Heat oil in a Kadai/Frying pan. Mustard Oil is best.
Temper with panchpuran and green chilies or in the Bong way use panchpuran & green chillies for phoran
When the spices start crackling, add the chopped onions.
Saute till they are brown and then add the cubed pumpkin.
Add a little turmeric powder and continue frying.
Add a little water and cook covered. Intermittently remove the lid & stir to make sure the pumpkins are not getting burned and are getting cooked uniformly.
When the pumpkin turns a little soft, add the shrimp, a little salt and continue cooking
The pumpkins should turn nice and soft and a little mushy, as in the picture.
Serve hot with chapatti, paratha or luchi
Also goes well with white rice.


Edited to add on 09/13/2012: Here is a second version of the recipe with spices suggested by a reader. Instead of paanchphoron, temper the oil with Kalonji/Kalo Jeere and Green chilies. Skip the onions. Add Cumin Powder and Coriander Powder along with turmeric powder. rest is same.

Trivia: Pumpkin is so much coveted in Bengal that in the district of Bankura, pumpkin is lovingly known as “Bankura’r aapel” or “Bankura’s apple”, the apple being a foreign and expensive fruit in those areas, this is definitely an accolade for dear Pumpkin.


  1. wow, nice presentation, sandeepa! have eaten some bengali food but not this

  2. nice presentation sandeepa...thanks for sharing a different recipe with pumpkin turning into a non-veg curry:-)

  3. Great info and great presentation too! Good job Sandeepa!
    Loved that 'Geisha' movie, read the book first though before watching the movie:))

  4. completely nfew dish, the combo is rare. nice presented.

  5. Its true we Bengali's are fond of Kumro whether its Kumro Chakka or chechki...Sandeepa ..although I must admit I have not eaten Chingri with Kumro but will try now ...Nice job done here ....

  6. Sandeepa, I understand your sentiment, thats what I thought when saw all these pumpkins wasted on Halloween, this is a combination I am defintely going to give a try.

  7. Hi sra,
    Being a Bengali myself, I had it for the first time last year :) Though gourd or lauki with shrimp is pretty common, this is a little rare

    thanks for your comments. Yeah but remember the consistency should be dry at the end, mushy pumpkin but dry

    thanks yaar

    Thanks , not really new for bengalis :)

    Lau-Chingri is common, but this is not

    Thanks...yeah try this, if you have larger shrimps, you can cut them into smaller pieces

    @For alll
    If any of you are vegetarian, you can skip the shrimp and try this with small cubed potatoes

  8. What an exotic name.....nice write up.

  9. It looks nice ... kintu amar kumro khete bhal lagena...

  10. Wow...Nice blog you have here! Keep blogging!


  11. Sandeepa, your post is delightful and packed with so much information... I am a seafood lover and who else but a Bengali to cook seafood wonderfully...:-) Btw, I was just wondering if you happened to know a couple of these recipes..I had prawns curry or gravy I should say at a Bengali friend's place a long time ago...The taste was simply superb...The think the base was coconut..It was a whitish pinkish gravy...And the other one was pan fried fish..I think she had dipped it in sesame...If you do know these recipes I am talking about, I would really appreciate it if you can share it with us... :-)

  12. Jayshree, is your little one doing ?

    point noted :)

    thanks and do stop by again

    I think I know what you are talking about , I will try to prepare the prawn curry & post it soon
    However, I don't know about the sesame fish, sounds new...
    Thanks for coming and do come by again, I hope to make the prawn curry over the weekend, specially for you :)

  13. Oh I am soooo sooooo glad to find a bong blog!!!Please keep up the good work:)

    Nice pics and recipes!

  14. thanks anwesha,
    same here, am glad to find a blog reader toooooooo :) Do come back for more bongo randhan and thanks for your comments

  15. So glad to find your blog - i really miss 'barir khabar' ..... yes, kumro chingri is probably a bangal dish as i'm a dyed-in-the-blood bangal and had loads of this divine dish growing up in one of the beautiful kolkata suburban towns. our recipe is almost identical except that mum adds a dash of sorshebata near the end of cooking.

  16. Hi Sandeepa, Have been following your blog since early this year and apart from the gr8 recipes you post, I love the pictures! Are they taken by you?
    Tried out the Kumro-Chingri thing today and everyone loved it, incl my 4-yr-old!
    And inspired by you, today I started a blog myself, do visit
    Happy Posting!

  17. Mandira, what are those green specks in the picture? Did you add coriander leaves too? None of the other ingredients seem to be green in color...I am making this right now, as I type :) So....Thanks

  18. I am also originally from ghoti family of Kolkata and found this delicious recipe in my in-laws house who were originally from bangal background. In this recipe I don't use onions and instead of panchphoran I use kalojeera. I also add a tablespoon of cumin and a teaspoon of corriender powder when frying the pumpkin in oil. At the end a pinch of Hing may enhance the aroma.
    You can try this recipe too and you may like this

  19. nice yummy flavorful

    1. give a try.

  20. I am doing this as soon as I get kumro.

  21. Dear Sandeepa
    Just back from Santiniketan - Calcutta expedition, and suffering from the fall out of food extravaganza ..
    I like this recipe nothing could be more authentic than this ...never tried with ChingDi, will give a try before I leave.
    Bhalo theko

  22. The Kumro Chingri in my family (Bangal) is a little different. My Dida chopped the onions very fine (jhiri jhiri), and the pumpkin just like the onion. Then the finely chopped onions and pumpkin is put in the kadai, a genrous helping of mustard oil is added, along with some haldi, salt and chilli powder, and also the shelled and deveined shrimps (shrimps are NOT fried). Everything given a light mix with hands, then it is covered and cooked on low flame for just about 20 mins, with just ONE stir in between.

  23. Soma Majumdar SinhaSeptember 14, 2012 1:02 PM

    Awesome recipe...can't wait to try! My favorite Vegetarian pumpkin recipe is cooked with diced pumkin and grated mulo, tempered with kaalo jeere and slit green chillies..yummy with rice and musoor dal or roti!!

  24. Simple yet very tasty


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