Simple is always elegant, sometimes stunning. So is this recipe of doodh potol. Parwal or pointed gourd is cooked in milk and the resulting is a creamy light sauce with incredible flavour. When we talk about Bengali food nationally, we tend to ignore the vegetables. The only three vegetarian dishes that have earned the limelight are cholar dal, alur dom and shukto. We tend to forget hundreds of vegetarian recipes are most of us eat on an everyday basis. Potol posto, begun posto, begun basanti, thor er chechki, mochar ghonto, lau er ghonto, the zillion kinds of chorchori, dalna and bhaja. Amongst the vegetables, potol takes a kingly stand only when stuffed with fish and we call it potoler dolma. Otherwise, we tend to ignore this really beautiful vegetable.
Honestly speaking, I am at a loss of words right now. I don’t even have any particular memory to share about this recipe. It is so mundane. Summers were always about potol and bhindi. We eat so much of both that we tend to keep them away from our kitchen, the minute winter hits us. It’s potol everyday in some form. For a large family like ours, we need to make a substantial portion of a particular vegetarian curry for dinner. Most of the time, we end up making doodh potol or doi potol or potoler dalna. Potoler dolma is so much hard work, it is meant only for guests or a special occasion. With khichuri, potol bhaja is a must.
Few things to remember while making Doodh Potol
You cannot make doodh potol with the giant hybrid varieties of parwal. Correction, you can make but it doesn’t taste the same. You need ‘kochi’ ‘desi’ ones. By kochi, I mean the young parwals with a soft centre and barely any hard seeds. If you can get the organic variety, even better. The end result is absolutely marvellous with the right kind of produce. With milk, use whole milk. That gives a creamier texture. Needless to say, we need Bengali garam masala and cow ghee to perfect the recipe. Bengali garam masala is nothing but equal quantities of green cardamom, cinnamon and cloves powdered.
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Doodh Potol | Parwal Bengali Recipe
- 8-10 nos potol or parwal see notes
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 nos green cardamom
- 3 nos cloves
- 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 no bayleaf
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3-4 green chillies
- 1 tsp ghee
- 1/4 tsp Bengali Garam Masala
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tbsp mustard oil see notes
- salt to taste
- Wash the parwals and then scrape off the hard skin. Cut the pointy ends and keep aside.
- In a kadai, heat mustard oil and temper with a couple of green chillies, bayleaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Once the spices have browned a bit, add the parwals.
- Stir fry them on medium heat for a couple of minutes.
- Then in a small bowl, take the turmeric powder and cumin powder and make a slurry with 2 tbspof water.
- Add this slurry to the parwal and coat the spices with the vegetables. Add salt.
- Sprinkle some more warm water if required and stir fry on medium heat till the raw smell of turmeric powder goes away.
- Then add the milk and let it simmer for a minute. Then cover and cook the parwal in the milk.
- Check time and again if the parwals have softened or if the spices are sticking to the bottom. In that case, just spirnkle some warm water.
- Once the parwals have softened, sprinkle sugar, ghee, Bengali garam masala and more split green chillies.
- Give it a boil and the milk should have thickened and become creamy. If not, then just make a slurry with 1 tsp of maida and milk and add to the gravy.
- Once everything has come together nicely, turn off the heat.
- Serve doodh potol with rice or with luchi.
- Ideally you need baby parwal for this recipe. The organic ones are even better.
- Instead of mustard oil, you can also use vegetable oil for this recipe but ghee in the end is a must for the best flavour.