Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Potol Posto with a coconut twist

potol posto, curry, recipe, photography

Potol or pointed gourd is a summer vegetable in common in eastern and northern India. It is called 'Parwal' in Hindi. Potol can be cooked in various ways, from fried, grilled, curried or even one can make the famous sweet 'Parwal ke Mithai' or 'Misti Potol', where the vegetable is stuffed with condensed milk and nuts. Today I'm making a simple potol curry with coconut, poppy seed and mustard seed paste. I have seen my mother cooking potol either with poppy seed paste (potol-posto) or mustard seed paste (sorse-potol), even sometimes with yogurt (doi-potol). For the first time I tried incorporating all the ingredients together and the end result was finger licking good.
This is a revised post from 2012, one of my earlier posts, when I had no knowledge about food photography and styling. All I had was the love for good food and cooking. And that passion drove me to share the joy of good food with all. As I look back to the older posts I feel mortified. No, I haven’t posted anything incorrect or inappropriate. The recipes are fine and all are with a detailed step wise description, and tried and tested several times in my kitchen. But the photos accompanying the text are simply horrible. I ask myself what on earth compelled me to click photos like that. But that's what growth looks like. I'm sure after a few years when I'll look back to my recent clicks I'll react the same way. If I don't then I'm not evolving my skill, which is much more threatening than loathing my older works. The most important thing about one's creative sphere is that its constantly changing, so there’s no place for being content with your own work. 

Here are few of my old clicks, I've kept them to compare with the new ones. I took them during my stay in the USA. Potol or pointed gourd was one of the rarely found and pricey vegetables from Indian markets. We used to rejoice on finding some of these tiny potol.

potol, pointed gourd, curry, recipe, photography

potol, photography

Coming back to the recipe, it's a very common dish I prepare in my kitchen. I often make it for lunch, especially during summer, when potol or pointed gourds are available in abundance. I'll recommend using mustard oil for cooking this dish to get the exact taste and flavour of Bengali cuisine, but if you do not get mustard oil or avoid using it, then use any other vegetable oil of your choice.


  • Potol or pointed gourd: 10-12
  • Grated coconut: 1/3 cup
  • Posto (white poppy seeds): 3-4 tbsp
  • Black mustard: 1 tsp
  • Yellow mustard: 2 tsp
  • Yogurt: 1-2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
  • Green chilies: 6
  • Kalojire/kalonji: ¼ tsp
  • Mustard oil to cook


1. Make a paste of the poppy seeds. To make a nice smooth paste either you can dry grind the poppy seeds and then add water to it or soak the poppy seeds at least for 2 hrs, strain the water and then grind to a smooth paste.

2. Make a paste of both the mustard seeds. Soak the seeds at least for 2 hrs, wash the  seeds in a strainer, and add a green chili and a pinch of salt while grinding the mustard seeds.

3.   Now take the poppy seed paste, mustard paste and grated coconut, and grind together to a smooth paste. I added few green chilies while making this paste. I make the paste separately to get a smooth creamier texture. 

4. Beat the yogurt with a little sugar and water. Keep aside.

5. Wash and clean the potol. To prepare this vegetable, scrape the green part and peel the skin alternately from one point to other. Make slit on each ends. Take a non stick pan. Add 3-4 tbsp mustard oil. When the oil is hot add the potol. Sprinkle some salt and turmeric powder, cove the pan and fry till tender. Keep the fried potol aside.

6. Wipe the pan clean. You don't need to wash it. Just wipe the excess oil. As frying pointed gourd turns the oil brownish black. You can always reuse the oil, but that will make the curry look a bit blackish. Add 2-3 tbsp mustard oil in the pan, when the oil is hot, add kalojire/kalonji and green chilies. As the black seeds spatters add the freshly made coconut poppy mustard paste. Cook over low heattill it releases oil.

7. Add the yogurt. Cover and cook over low-medium flame for 5-6 min till the yogurt is cooked. Stir in between.

8. Add green chilies. Add salt and sugar to taste.

9. Mix well. Add the fried potol.

10. Cover and cook for 7-8 min. stir in between.  I did not add water to the gravy, but if you think the gravy is turning too dry and sticking to the bottom of the pan, just sprinkle a little hot water. Switch off the heat. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle a little (2-3 tsp) mustard oil. The pungent smell of mustard oil elevates the dish and gives it the unique Bengali touch. Serve with steamed rice.

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  1. Great recipe... thnx... good to see u starting a website of urself..

    1. Thanks, couldn't have done it without all of yours encouragement.

    2. Tor recipe wise baniechilam Potol Posto... khub bhalo hoyeche...thanks for sharing the recipe...

  2. Hello Chitrangada, I found your blog from Priyanka's facebook page. You seem new to the world of blogs, a warm welcome. The posto brought me to your blog :-) Darun dekhte hoyeche, nischoi darun kheteo hoyechilo....ekhon jokhon tomar blog khuje peyechi, follow korlam tomake, jate tumi ki post korcho khobor rakhte pari :-) Bhalo theko Suchismita

  3. Made it for Diwali party and everybody loved it. Thanks