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Trinidadian squash chokha

Trinidadian Squash Chokha

Chokha is a purée of simmered vegetables with concentrated flavors. The recipe originally comes from Bengal, but made its way to Trinidad where it was recreated with local Creole ingredients. Shadow beni has a flavor similar to that of cilantro, but can handle high heat better. Although used all over the Caribbean, shadow beni can also be found in Asian grocery stores under the name ngo gai.


  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, chopped
  • Habanero or other chile, chopped, to taste
  • 8 cups squash, peeled and cubed
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ cup shadow beni or cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. 1

    Heat a large pot on medium. Add oil and mustard seed. When they begin to brown, add cumin and fry for 5 seconds. Add scallions, garlic, ginger and chile. Sauté for 1 minute.

  2. 2

    Add squash, turmeric and shadow beni. Salt and pepper; stir well. Add ¾ cup water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over very low heat. Stir on occasion to ensure the squash does not stick. Cook until squash is falling apart, 30-40 minutes.

  3. 3

    Serve as is or purée with a masher or whisk.