Monday, April 15, 2013

Aloo - Potol r Dalna

Today I will share the recipe of 'Alu-Potol r torkari or Dalna' ( Pointed Gourd cooked with potatoes) which is a very common and equally popular dish in any Bengali household. Dalna in Bengali cuisine is a gravy dish where the gravy is thicker, not so runny and you will find small pieces of potato in most of the dalnas. Potol (Bengali) /Parwal (in Hindi) /Pointed Gourd ( in English) is a vegetable which is mostly available in summer. We can make so many curries or dishes with this vegetable, starting with 'Potol bhaja', 'Chal Potol', 'Potol r Dolma' to 'Alu Potol r Dalna' and so on. It’s not easily available outside of Bengal. I realized this when I came to Bangalore after marriage. It used to be so expensive and available only in few markets. But since my husband is a huge 'potol' lover, we used to keep track and find it somewhere. Off late in US too, we are getting this veggie quite regularly in our local Indian store. Last week we got this season's first Potol.

The recipe is simple, with very less number of ingredients, time-saving, healthy which uses very less oil for cooking. In this version of Alu-Potol-r-Dalna, we wont use any onion/garlic and so it is perfect 'Niramish'  or vegetarian dish. We, the Bengalis consider onion or garlic non-veg and it’s our tradition that we generally avoid these things on auspicious veg days

Okay, so enough of background writing. Let’s come to the recipe now !

Recipe of Alu - Potol r Dalna / Torkari


1.     Potol / Parwal / Pointed Gourd : 1 lb 
2.     Potato :  2 medium sized 
3.     Oil : 3-4 tablespoons  (preferably mustard oil)
4.     Panch phoron ( a whole spice blend, contains 5 spices : fenugreek seed, nigella seed, cumin seed, fennel seed and radhuni. Radhuni can be substituted with celery seed ) - 1/2 teaspoon
5.     Dried Whole Red chili - 1
6.     Bay leaves : 2 
7.     Ginger paste : 1 and 1/2 tablespoons
8.     Cumin Powder : 1 teaspoon 
9.     Kashmiri Red Chili Powder : 1 teaspoon 
10.  Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
11.  Red Chili Powder (optional) - 1/2 teaspoon
12.  Salt :
13.  sugar : 1/2 tsp 
14. Crushed green cardamoms : 1/2 teaspoon


1.     First cut off the ends of the potols, scrape the outer skin and then cut them laterally into two pieces. If it is little bigger then you should cut it into three pieces. Wash them well, sprinkle salt and mix it well with Potol.

2.    Peel the potatoes, cut into medium cubes and wash them.

3.   In a heavy-bottomed pan, add 2 tbsp of oil. When it heats up, add the potol. On medium flame, stir it occasionally until they are soft and color changes to light brown.

4.    Once it is done, keep it aside. In the same pan, add the remaining oil. Once oil is ready, add bay leaves, whole dry red chili and Panch phoron.

5.     When it starts to spatter, add the potatoes, add salt and stir it sometimes, until the potato is half cooked and the color becomes golden yellow.

6.     Take ginger paste, turmeric powder, cumin powder, Kashmiri red chili powder and sugar in a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp of water and make a paste.

7.     Add the paste to the pan and keep stirring till it is well cooked and oil starts to come up from the sides.

8.     Add the potol. Now cook the whole thing for 5 to 6 minute on medium flame. Mix it nicely. Add a cup of warm water, little less or more depending upon which consistency  you like.

9.     Add little salt, cover it and let it cook until potol or potatoes are fully cooked and the gravy starts thickening. Check the seasoning and add the crushed green cardamoms. Check the consistency and turn off the gas. Alu - Patol r Dalna or Torkari is ready!! Serve hot with the steamed white rice.

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