Sunday, 15 February 2015


Bengalis are religiously non-vegetarians, yet we prepare a wide variety of vegetables with perhaps anything available....from colocasia roots to bottle gourd or raw banana skin. Before you say a big 'NO', I would like to invite you at my place, taste them and then say a yes or a no. We need to have at least one serving of vegetable everyday. A regular Bengali meal consist of  a fish curry, a veggie, a dal[lentil], some pakoras and chutney to end with.

Going back to olden days and our custom, girls were married off at a tender age of say 8/10 with grooms aged 60/65. The resultant factor, they were widowed as early as say 12-15 and denied of all joys for the rest of their life. No question of remarriage, they were forced to have vegetarian for the rest of their life. There were separate vegetarian kitchens for the widows of the family who had to  bathe if they saw the shadow of fish. To  know more about the plight of our women you need to go through certain books/journals/articles. Things started changing when some enlightened souls interfered and so we are here today...get to study....get the right exposure. Conditions are still worse in remote areas though but improving.

It was from these widow's kitchens that exotic dishes made with simplest things came up. I so much feel an urge to revive those lost recipes, irrespective how many likes/pluses  I get. JHINGE ALOO POSTO  is made of ridge gourd, potato and poppyseed paste. Believe me these three things are mainly required to prepare this recipe. Poppy seed is banned in Singapore, so I prepare them when I visit Kolkata. Pair it with Beulir Dal [Split Urad Dal] , Rice n my favourite Kanchalonka .... aka green chilli .... uff you do not need anything else.

Ridge Gourd[jhinge] : 3
Potato : 2
Poppy Seed : 3 tbsp[use white sesame seeds if you r in Dubai or Singapore]
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Salt : As per taste
Turmeric : 1/4 tsp
Sugar : 1/4 spoon[optional]
Oil[preferably mustard] : 2 tbsp

 Wash the poppy seeds through a strainer and soak in hot water for 1 hour. Make a paste in the blender. Transfer into  a small bowl and add little salt.

Peel and wash both ridge gourds and potatoes. Cut them separately into cubes. Add salt and turmeric powder and mix well.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the potato pieces till light brown. Keep aside.

Add halved dry chillies to the oil. Put in the poppy seed paste. Fry till golden brown.

Add the ridge gourd pieces to the tempered oil. Stir for 1 minute at medium heat and cover.

Open the cover after 2-3 minutes and add the potatoes. Stir well and cover cook at medium to low heat for 4-5 minutes or till all the water dries up. Add the sugar and switch off.

Please note, its a cooling dish, so generally we do not use chillies in it.

Goes extremely well with steamed rice and dal/lentils!!