Potoler (Parwal ) Malai Curry / Pointed Gourd Curry
Recipe like this delicious potoler malai curry or Bengali style pointed gourd (parwal) curry are undoubtedly reserved for special occasions and festivals. These soft and dainty looking pointed gourds are simmered languidly in rich and fragrant coconut milk sauce , flavoured generously with Bengali garam masala. With a hint of heat from the green chillies, the fragrance of fried coconut, the aroma of cardamom and bay leaves that wafts through out the home, an ambrosial experience waiting to happen.
Potol (Bengali) = Parwal (Hindi) = Pointed Gourd (English) .
What Is Potol / Pointed Gourd ?
Potol / Parwal / Pointed gourd is a vegetable that is native to India and Bangladesh and is hugely popular in eastern states of India. A vital summer vegetable, potol / parwal has earned a special place in Bengali kitchen. And over the years, the culinary enthusiasts has successfully devised many delicious ways to enjoy this vegetable. While many vegetables has entered into Bengali kitchen through centuries of colonization, but potol being native was always remains a special to Bengalis.
It belongs to vine family, similar to cucumber and squash. And its leaves (known as polta /palta in Bengali) which are slightly bitter in taste also enjoys special culinary status. Palta pata (parwal leaves) which are completely edible has many interesting culinary uses. Like it can be used in shukto (because of its bitterness), mash or baata (using leaves and peels of parwal / pointed gourd) and fritters or palta pata bora.
How To Use Potol / Parwal / Pointed Gourd In A Recipe ?
We love this vegetable in our home, in fact I am a huge fan of this vegetable. I desperately waited for summer to arrive, only to relish pointed gourd in all its glory. A regular Aloo – Potoler Dalna (potato parwal curry) is a mandatory in our summer menu. Sometimes fried shrimps / or small prawn are also thrown into this regular parwal curry, amping up the protein profile of the curry and also to elevate the taste .
Cooking fish curries (Bengali Rohu Fish Curry With Parwal) with potol / parwal is another healthy and popular ways to bring this vegetable in your regular summer diet.
I have found parwal to be very versatile vegetable and can be cooked in many ways. It beautifully adapts range of flavours from mild curries to creamy kormas to robust red curries. Potol bhaja or parwal fritters are another hugely popular dish that goes well with plain dal and rice meals.
Have you heard of Parwal Pulao (more commonly known as chal potol in Bengali) ?
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The most iconic dish made from this humble potol / parwal / pointed gourd is perhaps this – Bengali Potoler Dolma (Stuffed Pointed Gourd or Bharwan Parwal).
Before using the parwal in a recipe, make sure to wash and cut off the pointed ends. Some loves to keep the peels of the parwal, and some prefers to peel it off. I usually peel the parwal in alternate stripes. That is I do not completely remove the peels. I leave some and peel alternately. If you completely remove the peels of the parwals, you will lose the flavour. Also it will make a huge difference in texture and taste wise too. Parwal will taste too bland.
How To Make Potoler Malai Curry / Pointed Gourd In Coconut Milk Gravy ?
For making Potoler Malai Curry / Pointed Gourd in Coconut Milk, I pretty much follow my own recipe of Prawn Malai Curry, another classic dish from Bengali cuisine. Except that I do not add garlic here, and goes easy on garam masala.
A coconut-onion masala paste forms the base of this curry. To the scraped coconut, I add chopped onions, ginger and green chilies. And with the help of little water, I blend it into a smooth paste. This paste is then fried in hot mustard oil till the oil oozes out. This masala paste is then seasoned with just regular spices and few sprinkles of Bengali garam masala. A generous amount of coconut milk is added in the end which rounded off the flavours and gives a creamy texture to the curry.
You can also throw in some fried cashews and raisins for a festive look or to elevate the taste.
Here Is Our 3 Ingredient Bengali Garam Masala
Potoler Malai Curry / Pointed Gourd In Coconut Curry
- 10-12 no Parwal / Pointed Gourd / Potol (Long and tender)
- 1 Onion (medium), chopped
- 1 Inch Ginger
- ½ Cup Scraped Coconut
- 2-3 Green chillies
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Inch Cinnamon
- 3-4 Cardamom, Green
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp Red chilli powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- ½ tsp Bengali Garam Masala
- 200 ml Coconut Milk
- 3 tbsp Mustard oil
- Salt and Sugar to taste
- Cashews And Raisins, a Handful
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- Wash the pointed gourd thoroughly. Cut off the tips from both the ends.Peel the pointed gourd in alternate stripes. Leave some peel and remove some peel.Score the pointed gourd with the help of a sharp knife, by making 1 1/2 inch long slits. One or two slits per gourd is good.This will help the pointed gourd to become juicy and absorb the gravy nicely.Smear the pointed gourd with turmeric and salt. Leave for 10 minutes.
- Make a smooth paste with onions, ginger, scraped coconut and 1 green chili. Use little water to make a smooth paste. Paste should be very smooth.
- In a pan heat 2 tbsp mustard oil and fry the pointed gourds till light brown on all sides. Take it out from the pan and keep aside.
- In the same pan, add 1 more tablespoon oil, if requires.Temper the oil with bay leaves and cinnamon and cardamom.
- Add the onion-coconut paste with pinch of salt and sugar.Fry the onion-coconut paste till it is lightly browned.Add all the spice powders except garam masala and keep frying for 5 minute more. Till oil starts oozing out.
- Add the fried pointed gourds. Mix it well with the masala paste.Divide the coconut milk into halves. To one part dilute it with 1/2 cup water.Stir in the diluted coconut milk. Throw in the remaining green chillies (slit them from the middle).Cover and cook the pointed gourd in low medium heat till it is soft and tender.This shall take around 10-15 minutes.
- Check for all the seasonings. Sprinkle the garam masala now and mix it.Stir in the remaining un diluted coconut milk.Let it come to a rolling boil and switch it off. Do not cook for more than 1 minute after adding the thick coconut milk. It might curdle.
- In a separate pan, heat the ghee. Fry the cashews and raisins in the ghee. Add them to the malai curry.
- Potoler malai curry / pointed gourd malai curry is ready.Let it stand for 5 minute.Serve parwal malai curry with plain rice or Bengali pulao.
What To Serve With Potoler Malai Curry ?
Potoler Malai Curry can be enjoyed simply with plain white rice. This dish equally goes well with Bengali Mishti pulao or any other pulao too.