Potoler Dorma with Dal Filling

Potol, stuffed with a dry filling made with chholar dal, coconut, peanuts and raisins, then cooked in a gravy.

  • Cooking time
    2 hours
  • Calories
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The Bengali dorma is said to be a local evolution of the Middle Eastern dolma, which is part of the Ottoman cuisine. Dolma was possibly brought into Bengal by Armenian immigrants. If you are interested in the fascinating history of the Bengali dorma, you can read Tanushree Bhowmik's well-researched post.

Dorma can be made with a variety of vegetables, although the one made with potol or pointed gourd has become popular among Bengalis. The stuffing can vary widely and traditionally includes dried fruits (and sometimes nuts). This is a niramish (without onion or garlic) version that uses ground Bengal gram, or chholar dal, although chhana (cottage cheese), rice, dried frits, etc., are also used. Non-vegetarian stuffing can include fish, prawns, dried fish (shutki), or meat.

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6 servings
  • 400 g potol (large pointed gourd)
  • 4 g salt (to season the potol)
  • 20 g mustard oil (to fry potol)

For the stuffing

  • 75 g chholar dal (Bengal gram)
  • 25 g mustard oil
  • 6 g coconut
  • 10 g raisins
  • 6 g peanuts
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 6 g ginger paste
  • 6 g green chilli paste
  • 15 g grated coconut
  • 4 g salt
  • 18 g sugar

For the gravy

  • 30 g mustard oil
  • 2 pcs dried red chillies
  • 2 pcs bay leaves
  • 2 pcs cardamom
  • 1 pc cinnamon
  • 2 pcs cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 175 g potatoes
  • 10 g cumin powder
  • 3 g coriander powder
  • 2 g turmeric powder
  • 2 g red chilli powder
  • 2 g Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 12 g ginger paste
  • 15 g cashew nuts (soaked)
  • 5 g charmagaz (mixed-melon seeds; soaked)
  • 25 g yoghurt
  • 200 ml hot water
  • ½tsp gorom moshla
  • 1 tbsp ghee


Preparing the potol

  1. Soak chholar dal for 2 hours.
  2. Scrape off the gritty outer layer of the potol. Cut off the ends, around 2 cm from the top. Keep these ends safe, as will be using them later.
  3. Using the handle of a spoon, scoop out the flesh and seeds. For visual reference, watch our video.
  4. Season the scooped potol with 4 g salt.
  5. Heat mustard oil in a kadai. Fry the potol on high heat, so that they turn brown but do not go soft. Set aside. Fry the caps too, and set aside when they turn golden.
  6. Now, grind the scooped-out potol flesh and seeds to a smooth paste. Set aside.
  7. Add chholar dal to the grinder. Grind in short pulses to keep the grind coarse, for texture.
  8. Heat mustard oil in a kadai.
  9. Fry sliced coconut until golden. Set aside.
  10. Add peanuts. Fry until golden. Set aside.
  11. Temper the same oil with cumin seeds and hing.
  12. Add ginger paste and green chilli paste. Fry on medium heat for 20 seconds.
  13. Add grated coconut. Fry until golden.
  14. Add the ground potol seeds and chholar dal.
  15. Stir to mix everything. Add salt and sugar. Mix again.
  16. Add chopped raisins, fried coconut, and peanuts.
  17. Roast the dal well until it smells nutty, and the raw flavour is gone. Keep scraping the bottom of the kadai until the mixture becomes dry. Spread on a plate to cool.
  18. Stuff the potol shells with a generous amount of filling. Then, secure the caps with wooden toothpicks.

Making the gravy

  1. Soak cashew nuts and charmagaz in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain the water and grind to a smooth paste.
  2. Peel potatoes. Cut lengthwise.
  3. Heat mustard oil in a kadai. Add potatoes. Cover and fry on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir intermittently. Season with salt. Set aside when golden.
  4. Temper the same oil with dried red chillies, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and cumin seeds.
  5. In a small bowl, combine cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, red chilli powder, Kashmiri red chilli powder with warm water to make spice slurry. Add to the kadai.
  6. Fry for a minute or so, adding a splash of water if the spices become dry.
  7. Add ginger paste. Fry well.
  8. Beat yoghurt until smooth. Add to the kadai. Stir quickly to mix everything.
  9. Add the cashew and charmagaz paste.
  10. Add salt and sugar.
  11. Once the spices are well cooked, and their raw smell has dissipated, add hot water to form the gravy.
  12. Once it comes to a boil, add the stuffed potol and potatoes. Bubble on low heat until potol and potatoes are cooked.
  13. Finish with ghee and gorom moshla.

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