Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Patol Chingri ( Pointed gourd with Prawns)

We are in the peak of summer season in southern California. The pleasant cold wind from the ocean is missing. Though we Indians are used to with much warmer season, near-perfect San Diego weather pampered us. So we start complaining and feel tired even before it reaches 80 F. On top of that, my son’s summer activities are in full swing. I have to take him to swimming and soccer classes. So I had little time either to spend in my kitchen or to clear up backlog of my recipes. There were couple of dishes pending to be posted in the blog. One of them was Patol Chingri, which I will share with you today.

Patol Chingri is very common and simple preparation in any Bengali household. Before coming to the main dish, let me introduce Patol and Chingri. Patol is a summer vegetable whose English name is Pointed Gourd. It is widely available in West Bengal, eastern part of India. We are lucky enough that nowadays it is available in US too, courtesy to some large Indian grocery chains. Though it is pretty expensive here and not as good as what you get in India, it still makes us delighted, whenever we see Patol in the store.

As Patol is very common vegetable in summer, we are seeing from our childhood that many dishes are being cooked with the same in my mom's kitchen. Patol Chingri is one of them. Other dishes are Patol Bhaja (fried Patol) and Alu-Patol r dalna ( pointed gourd cooked with potato ) (click here) which are also very popular.

'Chingri' is the Bengali word for Prawns, most popular seafood among native West Bengalis. Chingri vs. Hilsha is a traditional rivalry between Western and Eastern parts of Bengal. Pointed gourd and Prawns, a perfect combination and make the final gravy so flavorful and Yummy, which goes well with rice. 

Recipe of Potol Chigri ( pointed gourd with prawns ) : serves 4 

Ingredients :

Patol / Parwal / Pointed Gourd - 1 lb / around 500 g
Potato - 2 medium sized peeled and cut into medium cubes 
Prawns - medium sized deveined and cleaned 

Onion - one small ( finely chopped )
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
Coriander powder -1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri Red Chili powder - 1 tsp
Salt -
sugar -

Oil - preferably mustard oil - 5 - 6 tbsp
'Kalo jeera' / Nigella seeds - 1/2 tsp
Green Chilies - as per your tolerance  

Method : 

1. Cut off the ends of the Patol, scrape the skin and chop in haves. Sprinkle salt, a pinch of turmeric powder and mix it well.

2. Add salt and turmeric to the prawns, mix it well and let it rest for 10 minutes.

3. Take a heavy-bottomed pan, add 2 tbsp oil and heat it up. Once oil is hot, add the patol and fry it till it is golden brown and set it aside.

4. Add the prawns to the pan and saute it until it becomes pink and keep it aside.

5. Add oil in the same pan, add the potatoes, sprinkle salt and fry it till it changes color to light brown.

6. In the same pan, add remaining oil. Once oil is ready, add green chilies and nigella seeds. Once it starts to spatter, add the onion, sprinkle salt and saute it till it is light brown. Add ginger paste, stir it and mix well.

7. Take a coriander powder, turmeric powder and Kashmiri red chili powder, add half teaspoon of sugar, add 2 tbsp of water and make a paste. Add the paste to the pan.

8. Stir it continuously until oil starts to separate from the sides of pan. 

9. Add the potato, Potol to the pan and give some stirs until oil comes up from the sides of the pan.

10. Add 1 and half cup water ( as per desired consistency ), add salt and cover the pan with lid. Let it cook until potol and potatoes become soft and gravy starts thickening.

11. Add the prawns, mix it with gravy and again cover it. Cook it again for 4 to 5 minutes, check the seasoning and the consistency.

12. Add green chilies (optional) give some stirs and mix well. Patol Chingri is ready!! Serve hot with a bowl of rice.

Note : You may cook Cauliflower or Zucchini  following the same recipe, just add cauliflower / zucchini in the place of Potol / pointed gourd.

Happy Cooking!!