Our star of today's recipe is Patol or pointed gourd, a summer vegetable available from the month of April or May till October in India. No other cuisines other than Bengali Cuisine uses so much of this vegetable in India. It is a beloved vegetable in Bengali households, hence cooked in numerous ways. Just make a fry of it, a simple curry dish or add it in a fish curry, it brings deliciousness immediately. It is one of my favorite vegetable and I cook it very often in my household.

       Pointed gourd is a very ancient Ayurvedic medicinal herb and vegetable. In Ayurveda, Parwal, Patol or Pointed-gourd plant is used for treating several diseases such as constipation, fever, skin infection, wounds, low appetite and digestion problems. Parwal is antipyretic, diuretic, cardiotonic and laxative. It is rich in carbohydrates, vitamin A, and C. It  contains  trace elements of Potassium, Copper, Magnesium, Sulphur and Chlorine. Parwal helps in lowering cholesterol activity and blood sugar. It also helps in treating alcoholism and jaundice. Here are the reasons why parwal is considered one of the useful vegetable........
    1. It is rich in fiber. Due to which its intake gives relief in constipation.
    2. It is low in calories, fat and cholesterol.
    3. It helps to improves appetite.
    4. It is helpful in aiding digestion.
    5. It reduces fever and stimulates liver.
    6. It has cooling effect on body.
    7. It is easily digestible.
    8. It is diuretic in nature.
    9. It purifies the blood. Due to which it is effective in treatment of diseases of skin.
    10. Eating parwal reduces excess cough and acidity in body.
Info Source : http://www.bimbima.com/health/post/2015/07/15/patolparwal-amazing-vegetable-for-health.aspx
     Therefore, I consume this vegetable very often, almost daily and if you didn't yet, try it, you'll love it. Here are some ways I make it, all from Bengali Cuisine : Aloo Poatoler Dalna(Potato and Parwal in a simple curry dish), Narkel sorshe Patol(Parwal cooked with mustard paste and fresh coconut), Narkel Patol Charchari(Parwal cooked with mustard paste), Patol Posto(Parwal cooked with poppy seed) and most popular Patoler Dolma(Stuffed pointed gourd cooked in onion-tomato gravy, non-veg version). Today I'll post the Vegetarian version of the famous Patoler Dolma. We, bengalis even though love our fish and meat, we also eat vegetables a lot and there are some days when we eat only vegetables and on festive days when using onion and garlic also not allowed, those days this type of no onion-no garlic recipes are made.
     Patoler Dorma/Dolma is nothing but stuffed Parwal, cooked in a yoghurt and mustard paste gravy. This recipe is a bit time consuming, but after you taste it you'll know it's all worth it. You need to take longer parwals/patols for this recipe. Seeds of parwals are first scraped out, then each parwals are stuffed with stuffing and then shallow fried. Fried parwals are then cooked in a yogurt and mustard paste gravy with fresh coconut added for taste. 

You Need :

Parwal/Patol : 6-7 nos.

For Stuffing :
Coconut(freshly grated): 1 cup
Poppy seed : 3 tblsp.
Inside core of Parwal/patol
Green chillies: 2-3
Salt to taste
Sugar: 1-2 tsp
For the gravy :
Coconut (freshly scraped): 1/4 cup
Poppy seed: 3 tbsp
Black mustard: 2 tbsp
Green Chilli: 1
Yogurt: 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp. or as per taste
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Kalojire/kalonji/onion seed: 1 tsp
Dry red chili: 2
Salt to taste
Mustard oil :1 tblsp.(for frying) + 2 tblsp.(for cooking)

How To :
  • Wash the pointed gourd(patol) very well. Pat them dry. Do not peel the skin of patol, with a knife scrape the green skin lightly. Cut a small part from each ends. Now with the back of the a spoon, scrape out the inner soft core from one side. Keep the other side sealed. Rub little salt to the pointed gourds and keep aside.
  • Stuffing Parwal/patol : Make a smooth paste of freshly grated coconut, poppy seed, green chilies, inside core of parwal/patol, salt and sugar. Add very little water while making the paste, only few teaspoons. Your stuffing is ready. Stuff the pointed gourd  from the end that is open with the coconut stuffing. Do not over stuff. Leave a little space, otherwise stuffing will come out while frying.
  •  For making gravy : 
  1. In a bowl beat the yogurt and keep aside. Make a paste of coconut, poppy seed, black mustard, green chilies. 
  2. In a pan heat little oil, fry the stuffed pointed gourd till nicely browned. Keep aside. 
  3. In another fresh pan heat rest of the oil, when the oil is hot add onion seeds and dry red chilies. As the seeds splutter, lower the heat and add the beaten yogurt and the paste made for the gravy, cook  for 5-6 mins. or till oil separates. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt, sugar, mix well. Add the fried stuffed pointed gourd, add 1/2 cup warm water, let it boil, cover and cook for 5-6 mins. Switch off the heat when gravy thickens and parwals are cooked through.
  4. Serve warm with hot rice.  

    Sending this recipe to Kolkata Food Blogger's Durga Puja event

    Swissotel, the newest luxury hotel in Kolkata  has organized a food festival on the Nawabi cuisine of India, "Hyderabadi Cuisine" from 19th till 24th September,'15 at their contemporary Indian restaurant, Durbari. Located in Rajarhat, Kolkata beside the IT hub, Swissotel offers a distinct mix of leisure and business facilities, and is noted for its unique offering of Swiss hospitality. Durbari is a fine example of balance, where traditional and modern design elements meet in a relaxed setting. Located on the 2nd floor of Swissotel, this Indian speciality restaurant offers diners a comfortable and relaxed homely feeling.  

   Swissotel Durbari and their private seating arrangement & Chef Pranay Singh, mastermind behind this awesome food festival
    The festival is organised to offer diners a vast range of mouth watering traditional Hyderabadi delicasies like succulent kebabs, steaming hot traditional Hyderabadi Dum biriyanis, traditional hyderabadi side dishes like Haleeem etc. and delectable nawabi dessertslike Shahi Tukra. For vegetarians they have also enough choices. The executive chef of Swissotel, Chef Pranay Kumar singh, who have created these delicacies has learnt this cuisine from Hyderabadi Chef Ustaad Nawab Ishfaq Ali Khan Lodhi, who is a decendant of Lodhi dynasty. Chef Pranay Kumar singh was explaining to us how different and unique was his technique for making the biriyani and he also followed the same procedure as he learnt from him, so that people get to taste the authentic taste and flavour of Hyderabadi Cuisine.
     Swissotel invited Kolkata Food Bloggers on their first day of festival to preview their menu. Me along with two other fellow KFBians went at their contemporary Indian restaurant, Durbari. I just loved the simplicity and homely feeling of that place. Here I should mention that this festival menu is not any buffet or thali menu, but a-la-carte. 

    We were served few Veg and non-veg delicacies from every category. First, we were served our choice of drinks. Then came a bowl full of potato and masala papad with 5 types of dips ranging from mint chutney to spicy Burnt garlic dips. The spicy Burnt garlic dip was just excellent with papad as well as kebabs.
      Then came a big bowl of thin Lamb broth or Marag. Marag means any thin shorba or broth or soup. It is made with mutton or lamb meat with bones. Meat is roasted first, then boiled in a big pot with selected spiced packed into a potli. This is a very popular starter in Hyderabadi cuisine. The soup was just so fragnant and delicious. There are few more soup dishes on the menu like Tarkari shorba(Mixed vegetable soup) and Murg Pudina Shorba.

      For appetizer, a huge plate full of succulent Hyderabadi kebabs were served with carrot and beetroot nest on the side. On the plate were three types of kebabs - Vegetarian Arbi Ke Kebab(Colacassia Kebab), Tala Murgh(Hyderabadi spicy pan fried chicken) and Lamb Seekh Kebab. Arbi or colacassia kebabs were so delicious with melt-in-the-mouth texture. Tala Murgh, which is basically a pan fried chicken was hit with everyone. Seekh kebabs were made from ground spiced lamb meat which is minced and molded onto the skewers and cooked inside tandoor. Other than that, menu has few more jewels like Subz shikampuri Kebab or Shammi Kebab or Salim-e-raan

     In the main course, Swissotel has designed a lavish menu consisting all the popular and best delicacies of Hyderabadi Cuisine one can think of. In vegetarian they have Bhagare Baigan, Paneer pasanda, Aloo Methi, Kadhai Arbi, Mirch ka salan and many more....In Non-veg. list includes Mahi Kaliya, Dum ki Machli, dum ka Murgh, Methi Murgh, Haleem, Nalli Korma like delicacies. List is endless and you'll be spoiled for choices. We were served a Dal with vegetables(Dalcha) was very delicious, then Dum ki Machli, Methi Murgh and Haleem. All the dishes we tasted were finger-liking good. Even though I am not a big fan of Haleem, surprisingly I loved their haleem.

     To accompany the main course, they served Aloo Gobi ki Tahari and Khameeri(yeast) Naan. You'll also get Sheermal, Roomali Roti and off course Hyderabadi dum biriyani with Chicken, lamb and vegetable. 

     After all these yummy food, when it was hard to even breath due to the overfull stomach, we were served the desert platter, Shahi Tukra/Double Ka Meetha and Lauki Ki Kheer. Even though I was full upto the throat, I tasted them and found them to be very well-prepared. In Shahi Tukra, bread was so crispy and it tasted heaven with the thickened milk that was covering the bread slices. Even lauki ki Kheer was really well-made without being too sweet. 

    I'll recommend my readers to attend this festival if you are a lover of Indian traditional food. You won't get to taste such traditionally prepared food other than this. The price can vary from 2000-3000 rs. for 2 persons. The festival is on for lunch and dinner, between 12:30 to 3:30 pm, and 7:00 to 11:00 pm everyday, and the dishes are all available a-la-carte, not buffet or set thali.

    A big thumbs up to their hospitality. A special thanks to Chef Pranay Kumar Singh, who was so kind to sit and dine with us and shared his learning experience with us. Also a special thanks to Enakshi Kundu, Manager-Marketing and Communications of Swissotel for inviting us to this festival and to all the staffs who served us all these yummy goodies on the table.

You can place reservations through email to kolkata.durbari@swissotel.com or by phone at +91 90070 21408.


One very important vegetable that Bengalis cannot live without is potato. I think there is none in this world that don't know about Aloor Dum, which is synonymous to Bengalis. There are many varieties of Aloor dum preperations available in Bengali cuisine. There are three main varieties with few ingredients varied from one another - One with Onion-ginger n garlic, one with only onion n ginger and one with no onion and no garlic added . The one I'm sharing today is no Onion-no garlic recipe, which is suitable for festive days when only vegetarian preperation is allowed i.e., Onion and garlic can not be added in the dish or when you just want a light aloor dum to go with roti/chapathi, paratha, Luchi/puri or any kind of Indian flatbread.

You Need :
Potato : 500 gm. (cut into big chunks)
Green Peas : 1/2 cup, optional
Ginger paste : 2 tblsp., 1 inch piece
Green chilli paste : 1/2 tsp.
tomatoes : 2, medium, diced
Bay leaf : 1-2 nos.
Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder : 1 tblsp.
Red chilli Powder : 2 tsp. (adjust accr. to your tolerance level)
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp.
Coriander Powder : 1 tsp.
Roasted Cumin seed Powder : 1/2 tsp. [Roast 1 tblsp. white Cumin seed on a hot griddle till they have changed the color, then grind into a fine powder.]
Salt to taste
Oil :  2 tblsp.
Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

How To :
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into big chunks. Boil the potatoes till they are just done and not overcooked. Set aside. When cool, smear a little bit of turmeric and salt and set aside for few minutes. 
  • Heat 1 tblsp. oil in a pan, add the boiled potato pieces and slightly saute them from all sides. remove from pan and keep aside. 
  • Add 1 tblsp. oil again in teh pan, when hot temper with bay leaf/leaves and cumin seeds. when cumin seeds crackle, add ginger-green chilli paste and chopped tomatoes. saute in low heat till tomatoes softens. then add turmeric, chilli, cumin and coriander powder mixed with 2 tblsp. water and add this to the pan. Saute again in low flame so that spices don't get burnt and cook properly. 
  • Saute till oil separates from spices, then add fried potato pieces and green peas(is using). Mix with spices very well. Season with salt. Then add 1 cup warm water and let it cook covered with a lid. Before removing from heat, add roasted and grounded cumin seed powder. Mix well. When you have your desired consistency of gravy, remove from heat. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 

 I love a bit of thick gravy which goes well with Bengali luchis/puris. Consistency of the gravy is according to your preference, in any form it tastes great. Try it out to believe me............

Quick and yummy, this is the mantra of today's cooking. We all need this kind of recipes now and then after a hectic/eventful day to feed our family something quick to make as well as delicious. In that category, this Indo-chinese recipes are always hit in my home. My kids don't love to eat mushroom, but if I make this chilli mushroom, all are happy.
I serve this with Chinese Fried rice and Hakka Noodles or make as a side dish with a Mushroom Fried rice. It simply tastes yummy with plain chapatis too or with white steamed rice.

Let's move on to the recipe now............................
Ingredients ::::
Mushroom(white Button) : 250 gms.
Capsicum/green bell peppers : 1
Onion : 1, sliced thinly
Garlic : 4 fat cloves
Green chilli : 1-2, chopped
Soy sauce : 1 tsp.
Chilli sauce : 1 tblsp.
Tomato Sauce : 1 tblsp.
Cornflour : 1 tblps.
Salt to taste
Oil : 2 tblsp.

How To :
  • Clean the mushroom heads properly, then slice/chop them in big chinks as after cooking/sauteing it shrinks. Similarly, wash and chop capsicum in big chunks.
  • Heat 1 tblsp. oil in a pan, saute capsicum first and then mushroom for 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan, then add 1 tblsp. oil in it, then add finely chopped garlic, green chillies and onions. Saute them for sometime, then add soy sauce, chilli and tomato sauce mixed with 2-3 tblsp. of water in it and cook in medium flame, add sauted capsicum and mushrooms in there. 
  • Add 1/2-1 cup of water in there if you want to make in gravy style. Let it cook for a minute or two, then add cornflour mixed in 2 tblsp. of water. Season with salt and a pinch of sugar. Check and remove from heat when you have your desired consistency of gravy. 

You can also try Soya chilli, Sweet n Sour Vegetable, Vegetable Manchurian or Schezwan Paneer with homemade schezwan sauce
or just click on my Recipe Index page to find some similar recipes. 
If you want something else with your box of mushroom, Click here for more options....

   To be honest, I had a very little knowledge, better say almost no knowledge about Sindhi Cuisine rather than few recipe names(thanks to the blogging world I'm part of) until we, team of Kolkata Food Bloggers were invited By Taj Bengal, Kolkata who are hosting Sindhi Food Festival(from 4th September till 13th Spetember,'15) with Guest Chef Haresh Keswani who has flown here from Madhya Pradesh to give the people of Kolkata the authentic taste of Sindhi Cuisine.

Inside Decor of Sonargaon, Taj Bengal
The Sindhi festival is taking place is in Sonargaon restaurant area of Taj Bengal. Firstly, I was mesmerized with the inside decor of the place which replicates a typical rural house with mud walls, stone floor and old style lanterns(hurricane in Bengali) on the wall as light fixtures and lots of antique arteffects here and there, just the right atmosphere to taste an unknown Indian cuisine. Tables were set with silver cutleries in a very royal manner and immediately we were served a distinctive Buttermilk drink named Matho. Just as we took few sips, we were served a huge Silver thali with 14 varieties of Veg and Non-veg preperations, starting from appetizer till dessert. Seeing so many varieties of attractive looking food on our thali, we requested Chef Haresh Keswani to join us and give us a brief intro on Sindhi cuisine and the food on the thali. He patiently answered all our queries while we started tasting those delicious food on the thali. 

                                               Chef Haresh Keswani with his creations
   As Chef Haresh keswani briefs, Sindhi cuisine refers to the native cuisine of the Sindhi people from Sindh, now in Pakistan. Post partition in 1947, hindu sindhis who have migrated to India, now keeping the original food culture here while being influenced by their neighbouring Indian cuisines like Punjabi and Gujrati at the same time, has become one of the unique cuisine of India. The beauty of Sindhi food lies in simplicity. It is a wonderful amalgation of delish sweets, mildly spiced veg delicacies, tangy curries, varieties of flatbreads, perfectly spiced chicken and lamb delicacies and not to forget sindhi papad and pickles without which any Sindhi meal won't be complete. Chef told us that a daily Sindhi meal mostly consists of veg dishes rather than non-veg dishes and one can cook a Sindhi meal with just 4 spices i.e., Turmeric, Coriander, Garam masala and Amchoor(dry mango) Powder.
 The thali contains some of the Veg and Non-veg delicacies of the festival menu 

   The chef presented the most favorite dishes of Sindhi people distributed into three categories to cater everyone's tastebud - a Veg thali, a Non-veg. thali and a Sea-food thali on this festival. While all the thalis include the Crispy, crunchy vegetable Fritters(Sanna Pakora), Sindhi Kadi, which is tastewise very similar to South Indian Rasam with the tempering of curry leaves still has distinctive Sindhi taste, a perfectly spiced mixed dal(Tri Dali dal) and a sweet-sour Tomato relish(Tamatan ji Chutney). The Veg thali includes some more vegetarian delicacies like Sindhi Sai bhaji(Spinach and chana dal preperation), Aloo wadi matar and the famous Suran ka Kofta(Yum dumplings in curry) and many more. Non-veg thali similarly includes a chicken, a lamb and a fish delicacy along with above mentioned dishes. Similarly, sea-food thali includes two types of fish and Prawn specialities. All the thalis will also accompany a rice speciality, Bhuga Chawaran, where rice cooked with caramelised onions, garam masala and chilli powder with diced vegetables is just the right to accompany all the side dishes. and how can I forget, the small, Sindhi Masala parathas, Koki Masale wari, which was just extraordinarily tasty. All the dishes I tasted was so perfectly balanced with minimal uses of oil and spices that it will left you asking for more and more. Lastly, the three desserts/sweet dishes on teh thali were so lightly sweetened and all of them were unique in its taste. Narijel Ji Mithai, a burfi made with coconut was very similar to Bengali sweet  Narkel Totki and a Broken wheat(dalia) Halwa, Baata Jo Seero, made in pure Ghee with lots of nuts was such an unique dessert for me and for those who have more sweet tooth, there is a perfect Moong Dal Halwa to mesmerize your tastebud. 

The festival is on till 13th Spetember,'15 for both lunch and dinner. The food is available in only set thalis. Veg thali costs Rs.1700 + tax., Non-veg thali costs Rs. 2100 + tax and Sea-food thali costs Rs. 2400+tax. The Lunch time is from 12.30-2.45 PM and dinner time is from 7.30-11.30 PM. 

              Me and my friend representing Kolkata Food Bloggers with Chef Haresh Keswani

Disclaimer : The opinion and experience shared here are solely my own and have not been influenced monetarily or otherwise. 

Most Bengalis love their "Murgi"(Chicken) as much as they love their fish. There are also numerous ways to make a delectable "Murgir Jhol" or chicken curry in Bengali cuisine. Just like there are Chicken Chanp, Chicken Rezala etc etc. for special occasions, there are also many simple chicken curry recipes for everyday cooking which can be cooked with few ingredients yet it'll turn into a flavourful chicken curry. One such recipe is Doi O KanchaLanka Murgi, a staple and regular in my household, where yoghurt(doi in bengali) and green chillies(KanchaLanka in bengali) are the two main components of this delicious chicken curry. I have no idea about the authenticity of this recipe, but I cook it this way and all my family members lick their plate off every time. So you all can try it, hope you all will like this recipe, too.

You Need :
Chicken : 1 kg.
Potato : 2, cut into big chunks
Onions : 2, thinly sliced
Green chilli : 4, slitted{use as per your heat tolerance level or depending on how spicy the chilli is what you're using}
Tomato : 2, medium, chopped
Turmeric Powder : 2 tsp.
Cumin Powder : 2 tsp.
Coriander Powder : 2 tsp.
Oil : 2 tblsp.
Ghee : 1 tsp.
Garam Masala : 1 cinnamon stick, 3-4 cardamoms, 3 cloves{slightly roasted and grounded}
For Marination :
Yoghurt(doi) : 3/4 cup
Mustard oil : 1 tblsp.
Salt : 1 tblsp.
Spices needed to make paste :
Green chillies(KanchaLanka) : 4{use as per your heat tolerance level or depending on how spicy the chilli is what you're using}
Ginger : 1 inch pieces
Garlic : 4-5 fat cloves
Coriander leaves : 1/3 cup

How To :
  • Grind green chillies, ginger, garlic and fresh coriander leaves to a smooth paste in a blender, using a very little water. Marinate the chicken pieces with the above paste, yoghurt, salt and 1 tblsp. mustard oil. Keep aside for at least 30-45 minutes.  
  • Heat oil in a pan, fry the potato pieces with a pinch of turmeric and salt till golden brown. Keep aside. In the same oil, temper with 1-2 bay leaves, cinnamon and cardamoms, when spices start to crackle, add slitted green chillies and sliced onions. saute till onions turn golden brown, add a pinch of sugar at this moment. Fry the onions some more, then add marinated chicken and mix well.
  • Continue stirring and sauteing for 3-4 minutes or till aromas from raw spices goes away, then add cumin, coriander, turmeric powder and chopped tomatoes. Mix well everything. Add 1 tso. of sugar at this time. Saute till tomatoes get mixed with chicken pieces and oil start to separate. It will take another 5-6 minutes.
  • Add fried potatoes and stir for another 2-3 minutes, then add about 2 cup of hot water into the chicken. Let the water boil, then season with salt and cover the pan with lid and in medium flame, let it cook. When chicken and potatoes are cooked and you have your desired consistency of gravy, add 1 tsp. of ghee and 1 tsp. of slightly roasted garam masala to the curry. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. 
  • Doi O KanchaLanka Murgi is ready to serve.

Enjoy with white steamed rice or pulao, your choice but enjoy hot..............................  



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