FOR THE CHALKUMRO
- 15 pcs (400g) chalkumro (bottle gourd)
- 5 g salt
- 300 g water
FOR THE FILLING
- 40 g mustard seeds (soaked for 2 hours)
- 50 g grated coconut
- 4 pcs green chillies
- 4 g salt
- 10 g sugar
- 120 g water
- 10 g mustard oil
- ¼ tsp kaalo jeere
FOR THE BATTER
- 70 g maida (plain flour)
- 30 g sooji (semolina)
- 2 g posto (poppy seeds)
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp red chilli powder
- 3 g salt
- 12 g sugar
- 5 g mustard oil
- 135 g water
- oil for frying
In this family favourite recipe a chal kumro—which is ash gourd, called so because they were grown on roofs ("chal" in Bangla)—is stuffed with a pungent mustard and coconut filling, then dipped in a batter and fried. This is served as a side with dal, rice and a torkari (any vegetable dish), before the fish or meat course.
- Soak mustard for at least two hours.
- Peel the chal-kumro. Start cutting from the centre into 2-cm thick slices. Cut slowly and carefully for even slices.
- Now halve the discs into semicircles.
- Using a small paring knife make a slit on the round side of the semicircle but don't cut up to the spine. It should open like a book bound at the straight edge.
The chalkumro needs to be kochi (tender, without seeds) for this to work.
- Transfer the prepped chalkumro to a saucepan. Boil with salt and water for about five minutes. They should still be quite firm. Set them aside on a colander and allow them to cool and dry.
- Grind the soaked mustard seeds, grated coconut, green chillies, salt, sugarwater t
- Heat mustard oil in a korai and wait until it starts to smoke. The oil will change colour to light yellow and its density will change. Now lower the flame and wait for it to cool down a little bit.
- Temper the oil with kalo jeere (nigella seeds).
- After 30 seconds add the mustard paste. Braise stirring often to prevent it from catching and burning. Scrape the side of the korai and spread the paste out in a thin flat layer until the mixture darkens in colour and becomes dry and pasty. Remove to a plate and allow it to cool.
- Now stuff the prepped and steamed chalkumro with the filling, making sure the filling reaches the corners. Press gently to let the excess stuffing come out. Then use your fingers to remove the excess and neaten the edges.
- In a clean bowl weigh out the maida, sooji, posto, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt, sugar, mustard oil and water. Mix until uniform to form the batter.
- Heat enough vegetable oil in a korai for deep frying. Once the oil is hot (180º C), dip the stuffed chal kumro in the batter to coat them all over, let the excess batter drip off, then gently lower it into the hot oil. Fry on both sides until evenly golden brown.
- Serve with dal, rice and torkari
- Vegetable peeler
- Knife or bnoti
- Saucepan with lid
- Korai or wok
- Perforated spoon or jhnajhri hata
- Jhuri or wicker basket
- Grinder or sheel nora