In Perrysburg, there are hardly one or two Indian groceries selling seasonal Indian veggies. Potol is a rarity there; even if potols are available, most of them are puny, barely half inches in size. So for potols of eatable quality, we had to place special order for the veggie which then was ferried from the coast of New York to our cheerless area. Never thought a day would come when so as to satiate our palate for potol, we would have to count days waiting patiently for the call of the shopkeeper announcing the arrival of the same in their store, at last. Anyway, no matter how the potols are garnered to the table, what matters at the end is the delicacy cooked with it.
Aloo Potoler Dalna is a lip-smacking dish of Bengal relished with pleasure by all bongs. Dalna refers to thick gravy which is a bit sweet yet spicy in taste. It is not soupy and runny like the usual gravy of an Indian curry. It was a staple veggie dish in our home during summer months. My mother used to cook a range of potol delicacies including Potol Dolma, Doi Potol, Sorshe Potol and so on or forth. My father would buy potols in bulk and sometimes tired of eating potols almost every day we would lay our potol craving for the season to rest by not wanting to eat any more.
Ingredients: Cooking time: 30 minutes
ü 12-15 small potols or pointed gourds
ü 1 large potato (cut into cubes)
ü 2 tomatoes (pureed)
ü 4-5 green chillies (split in half)
ü 1 tsp ginger paste
ü 1 tsp cumin powder
ü 1 tsp coriander powder
ü 1 kashmiri red mirch
ü Salt to taste
ü 2 tsp sugar
ü White oil for cooking
ü 1 bay leaf
ü 2 dry red chillies
ü 1 tsp cumin seeds
1) Wash the potols cleanly under running water. Pat them dry and then cut the pointed ends. Scrape the skin off and cut into halves lengthwise.
2) Heat oil in a wok. When oil turns hot, add the ingredients for sauté and allow them to sputter.
3) Slide in the potato cubes and shallow fry on medium heat until potato changes to golden brown in color.
4) Toss in the potols. Shallow fry them, stirring sporadically.
5) Now in a small bowl, mix cumin powder, coriander powder, kashmiri red mirch and ginger paste in 2 tbsp of water. Let it sit for 2 minutes before using.
6) Meanwhile, pour the tomato puree into the wok. Cook covered for 1 minute.
7) Fold in the spice mixture and cook covered till tomatoes and the spices are fried. Don't forget to add splashes of water to keep the moist in during this process, in case the curry turns dry.
8) Add 1/2 cup of water, salt and sugar into the curry and cook till potatoes and potols soften.
9) Serve hot with chapati, roti or rice.