Potoler dorma

I admit that I’ve not been able to keep up to my promise . It has been really long that I’ve posted something here. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking :P. But yes… there has been a drop in my enthusiasm. Sorry to say that, but it’s true. I could pose a dozen reasons for that.  But the primary reason being the lack of good food photography. I’ve not been able to click appreciable food photographs in the past few week. That has demotivated me to post recipes. Sounds really lame, I know.

So I’ve decided to continue posting recipes even if I’m not able to attach photos with it. Let me try to use the keyboard to create the visual effect.

I’ve already talked about my fascination for potol in my previous posts. Potol chingri being my favourite, though I love any thing that has potol.

This time it’s a recipe with potol and chingri again. Potoler dorma. Prawn stuffed parwal in rich spicy gravy.

This is an authentic and traditional Bengali recipe. The recipe contains prawns which adds its unique and aromatic flavour.  Prawn are preferred for the stuffing not only for the taste but also because it’s boneless. You don’t get distracted by the disturbing fish bones while you chew. The gravy is optional, but is recommended. The gravy is a rich concoction of pasted onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and powdered aromatic spices. The spices add the perfect color, taste and aroma to the gravy.

Potoler dorma is served with steamed rice as a side dish for main course. Mix the gravy with the rice while bite through the stuffed parwal.

A long and tedious recipe to make. But I can assure you, that if done to perfection, it won’t disappoint you.  You’ll relish the taste of the golden fried parwals with the soft combination of prawns.

What you need:

For the parwal and stuffing

4 parwal

1 onion – paste

4 cloves of garlic – paste

1 inches ginger – paste

1/2 tspn turmeric powder

1/2 tspn chilli powder

1/2 tspn cumin powder

1/2 tspn coriander powder

1/2 tspn garam masalapowder

250 gm prawns – de-shelled and cleaned

4 tbspn oil (preferably  mustard oil to get the perfect Bengali taste)

salt to taste

For the gravy

1 onion – paste

4 cloves of garlic – paste

1 inches ginger – paste

1 tomato – paste (optional)

1 tspn turmeric powder

1/2 tspn chilli powder

1/2 tspn cumin powder

1/2 tspn coriander powder

1/2 tspn garam masalapowder

2 bay leaves

2-3 tbspn oil (preferably  mustard oil to get the perfect Bengali taste)

salt to taste

How to make potoler dorma:

Stuffing parwal

Preparing the parwals

  • Take the parwal and remove the outer skin carefully. By removing the skin, I do not mean to peel off all the greens. Just use a knife and scratch off the thin film on the outer surface, keeping a layer of green peel intact.
  • Cut the pointed ended of the parwals. Do not throw these pointed heads. These would be used to make the lid for the stuffed parwals. You should cut one end such that the internal hollow seeded portion is exposed while cut the other end such that the internal hollow seeded portion is not exposed. The reason being, you want a drum like thing with one end closed to fill the stuffing. Sounds tricky??? Yes it is.
  • Now, scrap out the seeds and interior part of the parwals. You can keep the seeds and fry them if you like.
  • Apply some salt and turmeric powder to the parwal.
  • Fry the parwals in heated oil in a wok and keep them aside.

Preparing the stuffing

  • Marinate the prawns in turmeric powder and salt for about 15 mins
  • Cut the prawns into small pieces. (Minced prawns would also do)
  • Fry the prawns in heated oil in a wok. When the prawns turn white in color, you know it’s half fried.
  • Add the onion paste and fry for 5 mins. To this add the ginger, garlic paste and fry for another 6-7 mins.
  • Now add all the powdered spices and salt to taste.
  • Keep the stuffing aside and allow to cool.
  • When the parwals and the stuffed is cooled enough to handle, start stuffing the parwals. For a uniform taste and texture, you can mash the prawns stuffing very well with your fingers. Stuff the parwals almost to the brim keeping some space for the pointed parwal lids to fit in.
  • Insert the pointed parwal lids and prick in tooth picks to hold them in place. These lids are very mischievous. If they loosens while boiling in the gravy, they may let out all the stuffing, leaving the parwals hollow. So use at least two tooth picks to ensure that the lids are in place and is secured properly. This completes the stuffed parwal part. Let’s now prepare the gravy.

Preparing the gravy

  • Heat oil in a wok.
  • Throw in the bay leaves and allow it to infuse its aroma in the oil
  • Now add the onion paste and fry for 5-6 mins (till it turns light brown)
  • Add ginger garlic paste to this and fry till the garlic-y  smells is gone
  • Add the tomato paste to get the color and tangy taste to gravy
  • Mix in all the spices and salt and stir for 4-5 mins.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and allow to boil for 2-3 mins.
  • Lower the flame of your burner and place (strategically) the sealed/lidded parwals in the gravy. Keep the lids away from the gravy to avoid the lids from floating away.
  • Cover the wok and allow to cook 5-6 mins. Ensure that the water doesn’t dry. You may add some water if the gravy dries.  This recipe doesn’t have a watery gravy, so avoid adding access water. (You can use a table spoon to restrict yourself from doing the disaster :P)
  • Once the parwals becomes soft and tender, the dish is ready to be served. Serve with steaming rice.

This recipe had prawns as the stuffing. Prawns can be replaced by mutton/chicken kima to give it a meaty non-vegetarian taste. Vegetarians can modify the stuffing by using soya granules or minced paneer.



2 thoughts on “Potoler dorma

  1. Pingback: Cosmopolitan Calcutta and the origin of potoler dolma/stuffed wax gourd « of spices and pisces

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