Autumn, Winter, Main

Chickpea Makhani with Spiced Roasted Squash

This recipe was created in collaboration with Robert Welch, for National Curry Week. It was created to showcase some of the homeware company's beautiful products, but the recipe was equally important in my brief.

Makhani is a creamy tomato curry that's hugely popular in Northern India, and often known as butter chicken. This recipe might look intimidatingly long, but every plant-based cook should have a really stunning curry in their repertoire – and for me, this is the one.

This recipe can be made with any winter squash you like. You can also cut it into into chunks rather than wedges if you prefer, to be stirred through the creamy coconut chickpea curry.



For the curry paste

1 tbsp light oil, such as groundnut

1 medium onion, diced

8-10 cashew nuts

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp coriander seeds

Thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and finely grated

4 cloves garlic, finely grated

1 green chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped

3 medium vine tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 tbsp tomato purée

For the chickpea curry

2 tbsp light oil

½ tsp cumin seeds

4 cardamom pods, bashed to release the seeds

2 cloves

3 bay leaves

½ tsp fenugreek seeds

2-3 curry leaves (optional)

¼ tsp asafoetida (optional)

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

½ tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

4 cloves garlic, finely grated

Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g tin coconut milk

620g jar or 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tsp caster sugar

For the roasted squash

6-8 wedges of squash – crown prince, delica pumpkin, or butternut all work well

250ml plain plant-based yoghurt

½ green chilli, finely chopped

Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 clove garlic, finely grated

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp light oil

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the quick pickled red cabbage

½ red cabbage, shredded

1 tsp sea salt

Juice of ½ lemon

To serve

Cooked basmati rice

Plain plant-based yoghurt

Mango chutney

Coriander leaves

Nigella or black sesame seeds

Sliced jalapeño or other chilli

Lime wedges

Chapatti or naan


  1. Start by making the curry paste. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, and add the onion, cashews, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds. Cook gently, until the onions are soft and transluscent.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, green chilli and tomatoes, and cook until soft. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a further minute or two. Add a teaspoon of sea salt and a grinding of black pepper, and stir to combine.
  3. Remove from the heat, allow to cool a little, then blend until smooth.
  4. Next, make the chickpea curry. Set the pan back over a medium heat and add the oil, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, cloves, bay leaves, fenugreek seeds, and the curry leaves and asafoetida, if using, and cook until fragrant.
  5. Add the chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric, coriander, garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute or two, then add your curry paste. Stir everything to combine, and cook for a couple more minutes.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes, then half-fill the can with water, swirl it around, and add it to the pan, along with the cream from the top of the tin of coconut milk, and a splash of the liquid. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer.
  7. Add the chickpeas and sugar, season well with salt and black pepper, and simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
  8. Meanwhile, make your roasted squash. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6, and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  9. Arrange the squash on the baking tray, then in a small bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients to make a marinade. Spoon the marinade over the squash, drizzle with a little extra oil, and roast for 30-40 mins, until cooked through and lightly golden.
  10. While the squash is roasting, combine all the ingredients for the pickled red cabbage in a bowl, scrunch together, and set aside.
  11. When the squash is ready, fill 4-6 bowls with a little rice. Top with the chickpea curry and a wedge of roasted squash. Finish with a dollop of yoghurt and mango chutney, a sprinkling of coriander leaves and nigella seeds, some sliced chillies and a spoonful of pickled cabbage.
  12. Add a wedge of lime and a piece of bread on the side – you could also set the toppings and side dishes out on the table, for people to help themselves.

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