When I was back in the US, I used to see this vegetable called as Potol/ Parwal/ Pointed Gourd at the Indian grocery stores, it looked similar to tindora/ kovakkai/ gherkins, but a little plumpy. I had no idea where to use this vegetable or how to cook it or how it tasted once cooked. Then after moving to Chennai, I didn't see it, but now in Bangalore, I am seeing this vegetable everywhere, but I still didn't buy it till a couple of weeks back. I had bought this Bengali cook book called Bangla Ranna, while browsing through it, I saw that this vegetable is widely used in Bengali cooking. I have tasted posto a couple of times, which is basically a vegetable dish, in which the chosen vegetable ( usually potato, potol and even ridge gourd ) is cooked in a poppy seeds gravy. I checked a couple of other Bengali food sites and then made this, reduced the amount of poppy seeds and of course I haven't used mustard oil. This dish goes very well with rice, even if you don't find or don't want to try parwal/ potol, try this curry once with the common potatoes..
Need To Have
- Potol/ Parwal/ Pointed Gourd - 8 pieces
- Nigella Seeds/ Onion Seeds - 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
- Khus-khus, White Poppy Seeds - 2 tablespoons
- Green Chillies - 2
- Salt to taste
Peel the potols, as shown, leaving a little bit of skin here and there. Slice each into four pieces, mix them with the turmeric powder and salt and leave aside for about 10 minutes.
Soak the khus-khus/ poppy seeds in a little hot water for about 10 to 20 minutes, then grind it, add the green chillies and grind it further into a smooth paste.
Heat some oil, add the potol pieces and saute them on medium heat till they get some light brown spots on them, remove and keep.
In the same pan, add little more oil, add the nigella seeds, when it starts sizzling, add the sauteed potol pieces and mix for a minute, then add the ground poppy seeds paste.
Keep sauteing it till the raw smell of the poppy seeds goes away, for about 7 to 8 minutes. Then add about 1/2 cup water, cover and cook till the vegetable is completely done. The finally consistency can be like a wet-and-dry mixture or like a gravy.
Usually the amount of poppy seeds is almost double the amount that I have given, but since we are not used to eating so much of it in a curry, I reduced it, also instead of adding whole green chillies, I ground it with the poppy seeds itself.