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Posted at: May 13, 2018, 2:34 AM; last updated: May 13, 2018, 2:34 AM (IST)FOOD TALK

Sometimes, it’s good to keep it simple

Sometimes, it’s good to keep it simple

Pushpesh Pant

Parwal aka potol in Bengal and Odisha is a beloved vegetable of people from the eastern region of the Indian subcontinent. We recall our good friend Prof Jha pining for a well-made potol tarkari in Puducherry. He missed it so much that at one time he seriously considered relocating from a central to a state university to be able to indulge in it when in season. Bengalis cook it as bhaja with potatoes in a curry and in Awadh it is encountered in its stuffed dulma avatar. Our favourite is the preparation that we were treated to at the Banaras Hindu University guest house. It was totally satvik, eschewing onions and garlic and was slow cooked on dum in pure ghee. The spicing was light but flavourful. When we went into appreciative raptures, the waiter told us to have our fill as we weren’t likely to get such pointed gourds in Delhi. How right he was! However, let’s assure you that even if you can’t source those small-sized succulent parwal outside Purvanchal, you can enjoy the extremely satisfying dish if you stay with tender, not ripened parwal. Simplicity itself!

Dum ka Parwal


  • Parwal (small, tender, unripe) 250g 
  • Ginger paste 1 tsp
  • Bay leaf 1
  • Cloves 2
  • Dhania powder 1-1/2 tsp
  • Jeera powder 1 tsp
  • Amchur powder 1/2 tsp
  • Salt To taste 
  • Hing A pinch
  • Sprinkler (optional) 1/4tsp each of green cardamom, cinnamon powder
  • Ghee 3tbsp


Wash the parwal and scrape them very lightly. Slit lengthwise, but do not separate the halves. Mix powdered spices and salt with a little water in a small bowl. Heat ghee in a pan and first add the hing and then a bay leaf along with the cloves. When these change colour, add the spices dissolved in water. Stir fry briskly for a minute and then add the parwal. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-12 minutes till done to taste. In between, cover once and stir to ensure that they don’t stick to the bottom or burn. Sprinkle a few drops of water only if necessary. Enjoy hot or at room temperature.


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