This is a very traditional bengali dish and is liked by all. Potol or pointed gourd is widely cultivated in eastern India and is common vegetable during the summer months particularly in West Bengal. It is very rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. During summer when other veggies are not so abundant, potol used to be cooked almost every week at my house, so often that you start to hate it. Unless, special times when my Maa used to make this stuffed version.
This preparation requires a bit of patience and tad amount of time, both of which are being missed in my kitchen. I just made half a dozen of them and was wondering how my mother used to do at least thrice the number every time she made. In this dish, potols are cut at one end, and scraped of the inside fillings. Then they are stuffed with any fillings of choice, be it simple daal, paneer or even ground meat. My Maa always used to make the vegetarian version and never used meat. This is the first time I made it and did it in same way as my Mom used to do, but next time I will try the ground meat version.
Potol - 6 large, washed and kept aside
Chhana dal - 2 tablespoon, soaked for at least 15 minutes
Grated Coconut - 2 tablespoon
Tomatoes - 1medium, diced
Red Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
Red Chilli - 1, more if you like it hot
Green chilli - 1
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
Vegetable Oil - 2-3 tablespoon ( I used mustard oil)
Sugar and Salt - To taste
Cut one side (about 1/4 th inch from the tip) and carefully scoop out the flesh and seeds from inside. Make sure you do not pierce the sides. I used the back of a small teaspoon to do it. Do not throw them away, keep them aside to use later. In the meantime, boil the chana dal till they are just soft.
Rub salt and turmeric on the pools and gently poke all over with a fork. Shallow fry them for 3-4 minutes in 1 tablespoon of oil. Keep them aside.
Now add grated coconut and fry them for a minute or two. Add the boiled chana dal and the flesh and seeds that you have scooped out from the potols. Add salt, half teaspoon of cumin powder, pinch of turmeric ands sauté them till they are well done, about 4-5 minutes. You can also use grated paneer instead of dal or ground meat which has been cooked well.
The stuffing looks like this. Wait few minutes to cool it down. Now carefully stuff the potols with this till you fill up each of them.
Add remaining oil to the pan, add a red chilli, and add onions to it. Saute them till they start to get golden, Add the tomatoes and mix with it for couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and cool the mixture. Put it in blender and give it a pulse or two. Return it to the pan and add ginger paste, cumin powder, salt, sugar and sauté for few more minutes. Add the stuffed potols and if you want add few tablespoons of warm water. Simmer for few minutes with the lid closed.
Add half teaspoon of ghee at the end, give a mix and turn the heat off. Leave it for few mites with lid covered.
Your yummy potoler dolma is ready to eat.
Serve with steaming white rice and enjoy!
This is my entry for the ABC World Culinary Adventure. Cinzia is hosting India for a fortnight and you will find many wonderful Indian recipes on her page.