As starters or Prothom Paate, Bengali cuisine offers a variety of pastes or Baatas. Potol Baata, among them, is basically an easier version of Potol Pur or Potoler Dorma. The original preparation of the latter dish involves piercing a small hole on top of the pointed gourds after peeling off the skins and scooping out the seeds and the pulp from the inside. The pulp is then mixed with onion-garlic-ginger paste, either prawns or desiccated coconut and sautéed in mustard oil with a mild tempering of garam masala powder until the oil separates. The cooked filling or the Pur is then used to fill up the pointed gourds. After filling them up, toothpicks are used to keep them from splitting apart while frying.
Tedious job, isn’t it? That’s the reason, the shortcut yet equally delicious Potol Baata was started to get prepared in the traditional Bengali households. Though the preparation has lost its earlier popularity because of busy lifestyles, yet, is still being prepared in a few of North Kolkata houses (I am not sure about whether the food item is prepared in the similar way in parts of South Kolkata or not).
So, here it goes. Recently, I have prepared the dish using eggs as we had no prawns in our refrigerator, neither I wanted to use coconut). The ingredients required and the preparation style follows right below:
Ingredients (Serves 4)
Potol (Pointed Gourd, 6 large)
Onion (2 medium)
Garlic (4 cloves)
Ginger (1-inch piece)
Green Chillies (I used 2, if you like the hot taste, you can use more)
Garam Masala Powder (1 pinch)
Mustard Oil (1 ½ Table spoon)
Turmeric Powder (A small pinch)
Salt (As per the taste)
Sugar (A small pinch)
- Peel the skin off the pointed gourds, remove the seeds keeping the pulp intact. Roughly chop the pointed gourds in dice like shapes.
- Roughly chop the onions, garlic cloves and ginger.
- Put in the chopped pointed gourds, chopped onions, chopped garlic cloves and ginger pieces inside the mixer pot and get a smoothly ground paste. You can add in the green chillies in the paste as well or keep aside.
- Heat the mustard oil in a heavy bottomed pan or wok.
- Add the green chillies, fry them in the oil and remove them from the wok or pan. (If you don’t like hot taste, you can do this because in this process, the flavour of the chillies will get added in the dish not the hotness.)
- Add in the smooth paste slowly. (If you like chillies, you can grind them along with the paste and add in the pan together.)
- Put the flame of your gas oven in simmer. Sauté the paste in the oil. Stir occasionally and keep a check whether the paste is getting burned or not.
- Add salt, turmeric powder and stir the paste.
- When the raw smell will go away, break the eggs and stir them along with the paste.
- After the oil separates from the paste, add a pinch of sugar and a generous pinch of garam masala. Turn off the gas oven.
- Allow a standing time of 5 minutes before serving it along with piping hot, steamed rice or tawa fresh hot rotis.
P.S: If you want to add prawns instead of eggs, marinate small prawn pieces for 5 minutes with a pinch of turmeric powder and salt. Shallow fry them and keep aside. When the pointed gourd paste will get done, add the fried prawns and stir along. Make sure that you don’t heat the prawns for a long time, they will turn rubbery.