Yesterday, I just came back from a short trip to my motherland—the incredible India! A trip to India is always relaxing and full of homemade (desi) delicacies and exotic ingredients which I yearn for in Hong Kong. Someone rightly said, “One loves his country not because of its eminence or size, but because it is his own.”
I actually went to my mom’s place, where my mom cooked up all my favourite Bengali dishes I grew up with. Be it raw jackfruit dalna, the jhinge posto, a dozen of fish preparations, doodh pooli or the parwal and potato tarkari (I hope I’d be able to post all these recipes in times ahead.). Parwal is one of my favourite vegetables since childhood, which I miss dearly in Hong Kong. If you live in India, you are lucky! If not, then you have to find out an Indian store in your country, where they’d probably stock on this versatile vegetable, full of nutrients. While shopping for parwals, please remember that these should be fresh, long and green. If you think that you’d not like the seeds of the parwal, you can remove them.
Following is the recipe of pointed gourd (parwal) and potato tarkari (tarkari is an Indian preparation with vegetables, with less amount of water as compared to a jhol or broth). Please make sure that you fry the vegetables properly on medium heat, till they get marked brown.
The garam masala powder used here is the fine powder of dry-roasted 1 inch cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamoms, three cloves and three peppercorns.
Pointed Gourd (Parwal) and Potato Tarkari
- Medium-sized potatoes: 8
- Pointed gourds: 8
- Turmeric: ½ tsp
- Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
- Fenugreek seeds: ¼ tsp
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Sugar: ¼ tsp
- Mustard oil: 5 tbsp
- Ginger, grated: ½ tsp
- Tomato (medium-sized), chopped: 1
- Coriander powder: 1 tsp
- Cumin powder: 1½ tsp
- Garam masala powder: ¼ tsp
- Green chillies: 4
- Water: 1 cup
Method of Preparation:
Peel and cut the parwals, as shown below.
Clean the potatoes and boil them with the skin. Remove the skin post-boiling and keep aside.
Heat a skillet and pour the mustard oil (or any oil of your choice, except coconut oil). When it starts to smoke, add the cumin seeds first, till these acquire a light brown colour. Now add the fenugreek seeds, which will become light brown in a few seconds. Before the fenugreek seeds turn darker (this step is very important), quickly add the cut pointed gourds and shallow fry for 10 minutes over medium flame.
Now add the potatoes, salt and turmeric. Fry this for another 10 minutes (or more), till the vegetables are brown-tanned, as shown below in the photograph.
Add the ginger, green chillies, the powders dissolved in a little warm water and the sugar. Slide in the chopped tomatoes and cook covered, sprinkling water from time to time, till the tomatoes lose their firmness completely.
Finally, add the water and boil for 20 minutes, covered and over medium flame first and then over a low flame. Serve this hot with roti or steamed rice!
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