Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Potoler Dorma -- Stuffed Parwals (Pointed Gourd)

Parwal also called pointed gourd is commonly used in Bengali cuisine. Parwal in Bengali is called ‘Potol’. ‘Potoler Dorma’ is a traditional dish. I once read somewhere that it was inspired by the Greek dish—‘dolma’. How far this is true I have no clue. Be that as it may, here is the recipe:

To make stuffed parwals, which are really ‘melt in the mouth’, use Kolkata parwals, however if it is not easily available use the local variety. If you use the Kolkata parwals you do not need to peel it, just scrape the parwals.  

Kolkata (Calcutta) parwals
Kolkata parwal - Close-up
The filling for the stuffed parwal can be made with fish, mutton mince or paneer. The following recipe has a fish filling.

Ingredients for the fish filling:
  • 3 thick slices Rohu or Katla fish (approximately 100 to 150 grams)
  • One onion finely chopped
  • One teaspoon ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons yoghurt
  • One teaspoon coriander and cumin seed mix powder
  • A pinch of turmeric powder
  • Red chilli powder (preferably Kashmiri chilli powder) and salt to taste.

Method (for the filling):
  • When you purchase the fish see that you purchase a fish which weighs more than one and half kilo for the fish has to be a fleshy one.
  • Apply salt and turmeric powder to the fish slices and boil the slices.
  • Boil the fish and remove the bones. Mash the boiled fish.
  • Heat one tablespoon oil and fry the chopped onion till it is brown.
  • Add the mashed fish and all the other ingredients which have been listed above for the filling (as shown below).
  • Stir fry till all the masalas (spices) have blended well with the fish, as shown below:

  • Before removing from heat add a little garam masala powder (see below).

  •  Mix well. The filling is now ready (see below). 

  • Instead of yoghurt you may use tomato ketchup. The ketchup imparts a nice tangy flavour to the fish.

    Prepare the stuffed Parwals:
    • Scrape the parwals.

    • Slice off the two ends.

    • Make a slit at the centre. 

    • Remove the seeds.
    •  Stuff the fish filling. 
    • Make a thick batter with maida (refined flour) and water. Use this batter to seal the slit in the parwals.

    • Shallow fry the stuffed parwals.
    Ingredients for the gravy:
    • 9 stuffed parwals
    • 3 potatoes chopped into cubes
    • One teaspoon of cumin seed
    • One big onion ground to a paste.
    • One teaspoon ginger paste
    • 3 teaspoons coriander and cumin seed mix powder
    • A pinch of turmeric powder
    • Salt and red chilli powder to taste

    Method for the gravy:
    • Heat two tablespoons oil in wok or kadhai.
    • Add a teaspoon of cumin seed.
    • Once the cumin seeds begin to crackle, add the chopped potatoes and stir fry till slightly done.
    • Add the onion paste, ginger paste, coriander and cumin seed mix powder, and little turmeric powder
    • Add the red chilli powder and salt in accordance to your taste.
    • Stir fry for a while and add water.
    • Cover and cook on low flame.
    • When the potatoes have softened, add the stuffed parwals and bring to a boil.
    • Remove from heat and serve hot.

    Mutton filling:
    If you like you can also use mutton mince instead of fish. First boil the mutton mince and follow the same method for preparation of the filling as I have described above for the fish filling.

    Vegetarian filling:
    For a vegetarian filling you may use paneer (cottage cheese). Mash the paneer, add grated coconut,chopped coriander leaves and salt. Mix well and stuff into the parwals.

    After posting this recipe, I was curious to know what exactly a dolma is. I searched the net and click here to see what I found…


    1. I really like parwal but hardly get good ones out here.The frozen variety is yucky!You recipe sound so yumm!
      Regarding the cornmeal, its nothing but makki ka atta..you can get it widely these days in India.If you dont, use semolina or breadcrumbs for coating the cutlets prior to cooking them!

    2. I love Dorma, but havent made the fish-stuffed version in a long time. I am surprised you are still getting Potol!

    3. New to your blog and I must admit 'am loving it' :-)
      love patol and this one is just too good. I mostly make it with prawn and coconut stuffing but this looks delicious. we are still getting good parwal here so may be this weekened.

    4. Yes please do try it is very tasty.

    5. Shilpi...It is so nice for you and Aroop to create this for your mom..Aunty is such a good cook..my hubby & I will definately certify that. More than a good cook Aunty is a lovely,friendly & very comfy hostess....who does everything with such ease,willingness & always that georgous smile....Aunty congratulations and thanks for sharing those tasty dishes with us...You are really one of the best cooks!!!! Me & my hubby have been lucky enough to have had the priveledge to taste your delicious food...Aroop the pictures are just so sharp & very colorful...and shilpi I must say all is well written....Congratulations to each of you...Keep it UP.......!!!!!!!

    6. Mmmm... this sounds fabulous! I have a soft spot for parwal anyway, but always end up making a sabzi of it, thinly sliced parwal cooked with sliced potatoes and onions. Gets boring after a while. I think I'll try this the next time I get parwal!

    7. @dustedoff: Try this one it is very good, you can also try the mutton mince filling.

    8. We make potoler dorma very differently. We do not slit it in the middle. We scoop out the insides. Then the filling is made with grated coconut and the insides of the potol (this makes the mix a bit crunchy). This makes the filling a bit sweet (we love vegetarian dishes like these to be a bit sweet). The filling is then stuffed back into the potol and sealed with maida dough. Then the procedure is the same as yours. My grandmother sometimes substituted the coconut filling with fish also.

    9. @Sharmi:My maternal grandmom, made a sort of tidbit with the insides of the potol.She mixed it with fish or mutton mince filling and sauteed it, and just served it as sort of side dish. My mum also does the same sometimes,the combination of the filling and the insides of the potol or the seeds as I call them made for a nice crunchy and tasty

    10. @Jeanne:@Thank you so much,mum is mighty pleased with your comment. Please visit again, there are more goodies coming up.

    11. Hi Shilpi,
      This is one of my fav dish and you made it delicious! My Mom put those small shrimp (kucho chingri) for stuffing with almost with same spices and it is awesome and one thing is new to me that we don't slit it from middle rather we cut the top of it and scoop inside and then it is same as yours!
      Now I will try it with rohu or katla and you can give try with chingri!
      Have a lovely weekend!

    12. @alwayswinner786: Well, thanks actually it is not me but my mom who deserves the compliment. Will sure try with kucho chingri.