Tuesday, 18 November 2014


Pointed Gourd.....as we call it in common English. Potoler Dorma is stuffed Pointed Gourd. Though I have prepared a vegetarian version with paneer stuffing, the most popular version among the Bengalis perhaps is with a stuffing of shrimps. Since my vegetarian friends have started believing I do not love them anymore, I had to win back their confidence. As a teen I hated vegetables, but these days preferring them. I feel like may be I had too much of non-veg throughout my life and my tastebuds are seeking change. As I said I hated vegetables so much that my mom had to really sweat out planning vegetarian recipes for her foodie daughter. Any veggie recipe at home had to be tasty, otherwise there was threatening of meal boycotts on an all vegetarian day. Remembering those days, a wave of guilt hits my mind and I question myself, why did they pamper me so much? The answer may be hidden in the question why do I pamper mine so much?

   I remember, one day in a week was an all vegetarian day at our home...... and that day was a black day for me. Back home from school/college, I would run to few of my friends' home to taste fish and chicken. That greed is off course the reason for my round shape and all my dreams of becoming a model remained unfulfilled, ha..ha...ha. Jokes apart, I think till date no one has seen a model with 5 feet height, so why cut off my tongue?? I am not so silly to cut of my tongue and do "mashima-pishima" roles. Every Thursday was a veggie day at home, and my husband being a childhood buddy, I used to visit their home, straight into his mother's kitchen. An innocent question like mashi / aunty what did you cook today would fetch me a big piece of fish with curry n rice. No question of strictness  as she was aunty then, yet to be mom-in-law.

  I think before I cross all limits, I should go with the recipe. Truly, I wished to prepare a vegetarian version of Potoler Dorma for my vegetarian friends. The more popular non-veg version shall come up some other day. The inclusion of paneer as a stuffing in this particular recipe is also not common, I just felt like. So went ahead with it.

Potol [pointed gourd] : 8
Paneer [cottage cheese/chena] : 200 gm
Posto [poppy seed] : 1tbsp [use roasted sesame seed instead if you stay in Singapore or Dubai]
Tomato : 1 big
Onion : 1 big
Green Chilli : 2
Ginger Paste : 2tbsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds : 2 pinches
Bay Leaf : 1
Green Cardamom : 3
Cloves : 2
Cinnamon : 1inch stick one
Oil : 4 tbsp
Sugar : 1tsp
Ghee [clarified butter] : 1tsp

Wash and cut the two ends of the potols. Peel the skins keeping little gaps. Now with the edge of a knife bring out the seeds of the potols. Be careful not to break them while doing so. This way you can see vacuums created inside them. Apply little salt and turmeric powder and keep aside covered.

Wash the posto in a strainer. With help of a blender, make a smooth paste of posto, seeds of potol and green chilli. Crumble the paneer with your hands. Slice the onion.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Temper with cumin seeds. Add the sliced onions. As they turn golden brown, add  the paste. Keep stirring till it separates from oil. Add the crumbled paneer. Add little salt and turmeric.. Stir well for 3 to 4 minutes or till  most of the water dries up. Switch off. Your filling is ready. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Fry the pointed gourds in the same oil till they turn golden brown. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

Once the filling is cold, stuff the holes of the fried potols with the filling with help of the back of a teaspoon spoon.

Cut and deseed the tomato.Temper oil [at this stage we can add little more oil if required] with bay leaf, cinnamon, green cardamom, cumin seeds and cloves. As they release a nice aroma, add the ginger paste. As the raw smell goes, add the tomato pieces. Saute well. As the tomato pieces melt, add the cumin powder, chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder. Stir well till the oil separates from the gravy. Add 1 small tea cup water. Let the gravy boil for 4 minutes.

Add the  fried stuffed potols. Cook covered for another 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar and ghee. Stir and switch off. The gravy will be thick. To be served only with steamed rice!!

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