Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Alu Potol er Dalna

I didn't think anyone but Indian's ate Potol(Bengali) or Parwal (Hindi), so I was quite surpised to find it even has an English name. A quick search on Google reveals that is called Pointed Gourd in English. Anyway, having grown up in Mumbai (it was called Bombay in those days), this has been a vegetable we rarely had at home. My father would complain the potol being sold in the vegetable market looked more like baby tinda (another vegetable that looks like potol but is much smaller. I don’t know what it's English equivalent is) and shake his head muttering about how much better the large potol's he grew up eating looked.

Now 2 of my Pishis (Father's sisters) are cancer survivors, and they visit Mumbai for their annual check at Tata Memorial. Each time they came over they would bring at least a kilo of gigantic potols which we would all enjoy either deep fried or made into a "dalna". I must admit I never much liked it as child, but it has been many years since I had eaten potol and absence makes the heart grow finder, so I could not resist picking up a packet when I saw them in the frozen section of the local Indian grocery store. Here's my version of Alu Potol er dalna or Parwal ki sabzi.

Sia had a question about Potol, so I have added a photo of the packet I bought which shows what potol looks like. Hope this makes it easier to distinguish it from Tinda.

1 lb (frozen packet) Potol.
2 medium potatoes (cut like thick potato wedges sort of to be similar in size to the potol)
1.5 tbsp ginger paste
2.5 tbsp jeera (cumin) powder
1/2 tbsp dhania (coriander) powder
1 medium tomato (chopped fine)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sugar (optional)
red chilly powder and salt to taste
pinch of fresh garam masala powder

Defrost the packet of Potol
Mix the ginger, jeera, dhania and turmeric with ~ 1tsp water to make a paste
Fry the Potol pieces till they start becoming light brown. Remove from heat and keep aside.
To the same oil, add the chopped tomato (can replace with about 1tbsp canned tomato sauce if you are out of fresh ones) and potato pieces.
After this add the masala paste, salt and continue to fry till the oil comes out of the masala, the potatoes are cooked and well coated with the masala.
Bengali's add a little sugar at this time.
Add Potol pieces mix well with the masala.
Add a little water (depending on how dry or wet you'd like the end result to be), bring to a boil and let it simmer till it well cooked and the gravy is slightly thick.
Add garam masala and cover till you turn off the flame.

The Bengali garam masala is not exactly what we buy at the Indian stores. For typical Bengali cooking I make my own by dry grinding equal parts of cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.



Blogger Asha said...

Hi SJ,we call t padavalakai and I haven't eaten that in yrs girl.I love it and your dish looks mouthwatering.Stop making me drool!:))

April 25, 2007 at 5:04 AM  
Blogger Sandeepa said...

Good to see potol er dalna on your blog :) Like how you have strategically placed it on that sari. All the best for your Pishis. I hope they are doing well

I was not too fond of Potol either but now I miss it. My one time exp with frozen patal was not so good so never ventured that way
Maybe should try again

April 25, 2007 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger SJ said...

Hi Asha, Looks like it isn't as obscure a vegetavle as I initially thought :-)

Hi Sandeepa, it's on a Assamese dupatta. My Pishi's are both doing well *touch wood* but need to get checked every year.
Try defrosting them completely and frying with a little extra oil to get rid the extra water.

April 25, 2007 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger Sia's Corner said...

i am confused now SJ. i checked on net for Pointed Gourd and it showed images of tindora or tondekai what we call. but from asha's comments it seems to different vegetable. can u please post the picture of it if possible?

April 26, 2007 at 3:03 AM  
Blogger sunita said...

Sj, just the other day,I was yearning for potol...nice to see it here...haven't had it for quite a while now...

April 26, 2007 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger SJ said...

Hi Sia,

I have added a link to the post from wikipedia about potol being called "pointed gourd".
Perhaps the confusion is that potol does look a LOT like tindora but is much larger and quite different from the inside. I'll post a picture in a few days after I get a chance to go buy some more potol :-)

April 26, 2007 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger SJ said...

Hi Sunita, true, I also had potol after ages. I just recently noticed it in the frozen section of our Indian grocery store. i have never seen it fresh in USA.

April 26, 2007 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Mandira said...

SJ - potoler dalna, you make me nostalgic. I used to avoid it before, but you're right. I miss it now. Can you believe I was missing neem pata aar begun bhaja?? I surprize myself!

April 27, 2007 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger Sia's Corner said...

just saw ur comment SJ. did u make bhatures? its asha's recipe:) hope u enjoyed it as much as we did:)

May 8, 2007 at 4:12 AM  
Blogger Sia said...

thanks for posting the pics of potol SJ. where r u girl? long time no see... hope everything is fine...tc...

May 15, 2007 at 4:00 AM  
Blogger TBC said...

Hi SJ,It's my first time here.
You have some nice recipes here.
This dish looks good.Nice recipe!

August 12, 2007 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger shruti said...

i m shruti, so happy to see potol in your blog, its my favourite vegetable, i really miss it...

January 24, 2009 at 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that there is a very similar recipe to yours on this website:


You might want to check it out!

March 18, 2010 at 2:38 PM  
Blogger Niladri said...

Rita said.....
It is nice to see Aloo/potoler dalna recipe. By the way you can find canned potol/parwal in Indian grocery stores.

July 24, 2010 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger RITUPARNA said...

In West Bengal Potol is the main vegetable after potato in the daily meal......And its available in the whole India and in the other countries also.......

December 12, 2010 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Lipsy said...

Was looking out for potol recipe and found your blog...would make it today...thanks

do participate in my blogs giveaway here at

July 23, 2011 at 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Rituparna...although it is available in every part of India... the cost is abnormally high that we have to thnk twice before purchasing pointed gourd..its almost Rs60-Rs70difference in per kg, from what u can get in kolkata..

June 13, 2012 at 10:33 PM  

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