This recipe with poppy seed paste (posto) and potol is one our favourites. The potol turns soft and soaks up the creamy, nutty sauce. Potol ("parwal") occupies an ambiguous place in our hearts. It is not our favourite vegetable. Yet, so many of Bengal's vegetable delicacies are made from it: deep-fried potol, potoler dorma, potol pur, tel potol, doi or doodh potol, kumror-potoler chhoka, and of course the ubiquitous potoler dalna, with or without prawns, and fish curries. We grind its peels into potent bata and bhorta. We even make sweets out of it. I am beginning to suspect that we actually love potol!
- 500 g potol (pointed gourd)
- 175 g potatoes
- 30 g poppy seeds
- 12 g green chillies
- 40 g grated coconut
- 30 g mustard oil (plus extra for finishing)
- 1 dried red chilli
- ¼ tsp kaalo jeere (nigella seeds)
- 10 g salt
- 15 g sugar
- Soak poppy seeds for 2 hours. Grind them to a fine paste with green chillies. Once the poppy seeds are smooth, add grated coconut and grind again. Set this paste aside.
- Peel the potol and make shallow gashes on the sides. Chop potato in wedges, lengthwise.
- Heat mustard oil. Fry the potol with 3 g salt until golden. Set aside.
- Temper the oil with red chilli and kaalo jeere. Add potatoes and fry them on medium heat until golden.
- Add the poppy-and-coconut paste, and the remaining salt (7 g). Continue cooking on medium heat until the poppy seeds develop a nutty flavour.
- Add in the fried potol and continue cooking until done. Add a little hot water to form a thick gravy that just barely coats the vegetables.
- Finish with a slit green chilli and raw mustard oil.