Chaal Potol (Pointed Gourd cooked with rice)

Although the Bengali recipe repertoire is full of a plethora of vegetarian dishes, ask a Bengali to treat a vegetarian friend, most of us would go berserk. Especially during the summer months when availability of a variety of vegetables is limited. Thinking beyond the quintessential paneer/chhaana and dhoka (lentil dumplings) becomes must if you want your menu to stand out. Well, who said summer veggies cannot make an enticing meal? Play with your everyday potol and regular staple rice to make this delectable.


  • Potol (Pointed gourd) — washed, roughly peeled, and cut into chunky pieces.
  • Potatoes — washed, peeled, and cut into chunky pieces.
  • A small fist of gobindobhog rice — washed well and soaked.
  • Salt
  • Turmeric
  • Mustard Oil
  • Bay-leaf
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Cumin and Coriander paste/powder
  • Ginger Paste
  • Tomato Puree
  • Green Chillies (paste)
  • Ghee
  • Warm water
  • Garam Masala paste (I use a traditional grinding stone to make a paste of an inch of cinnamon, 3 or 4 cardamom, and 3 or 4 cloves)



  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Smear the potatoes with salt and turmeric and fry till golden and drain and keep aside.
  • Similarly, Smear the potol with salt and turmeric and fry till golden and drain and keep aside.
  • Now, temper the oil with bay leaf and cumin seeds.
  • In a bowl, take the ginger paste, tomato puree, green chillies-cumin-coriander paste and mix well.
  • When the seeds crackle, add the mixed spices and cook till the oil separates. Add salt.
  • Now add the soaked (drained) rice.
  • Cook for a minute or two and add the vegetables.
  • Now add warm water and let the vegetables and rice cook. Remember, the vegetables shall cook well, but the rice should not get too soft.
  • Once done, add the garam masala paste and ghee. Cook till the flavours get absorbed.
  • Turn off heat. Cover. Allow some standing time. Serve hot with steamed rice.


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