Potol Posto ~ Bengali Pointed Gourd Sabzi with Rita Barua

by on October 15, 2016

Known as potol in Bengali and parwal in Hindi, pointed gourd is delicious when it is tender. Cooked in a gravy of coconut and poppy seeds in this recipe, it is a family favourite at Rita Barua’s home, this is a popular Bengali dish. It is cooked by making thin slits on the gourd so it does not break, yet allows the spices to be soaked into the vegetable well.
Jhinga Aloo Posto


  • 8 medium-sized pointed gourd
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp panch phoran (a mixture of cumin seeds, kalonji, methi, coriander and mustard seeds)
  • 2 slit green chillies
  • ½ tsp cumin powder:
  • 1 tbsp beaten yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

For the paste

  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds (khus-khus)
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut (fresh)
  • 2 green chillies


  1. Scrape the pointed gourd lightly and create small lengthwise slits around it such that it doesn’t break.
  2. Soak the poppy seeds for 10-15 minutes in hot water. Grind along with coconut and green chillies into a thick paste.
  3. Heat ½ tbsp oil in a thick-bottomed pan and add the pointed gourd. Add a pinch of turmeric and salt and stir gently for 3-4 minutes on low heat until the gourd turns light brown. Transfer to a dish and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp oil and add the bay leaf. Add the panch phoran, green chillies and the poppy seed paste.
  5. Stir for 2 minutes; add turmeric powder, cumin powder, yoghurt, salt and roasted pointed gourd. Sprinkle water and let cook for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Switch off the flame and drizzle mustard oil on top.
  7. Serve with steamed rice or hot rotis.

Ritaji’s recommendations

Replace fresh coconut with coconut milk for a richer gravy. Add a dash of oregano at the end for an enhanced flavour.
Make the popular jhinga posto with the same recipe, substituting pointed gourd with roasted potatoes and/or tender ridge gourd (jhinga in Bengali, turai in Hindi).
Photo Courtesy: Harmony Magazine

Part-1 of this post is an interview with Rita Barua, a Bengali from Chennai.
First published in ‘Heart to Hearth’ – a column in Harmony Celebrate Age, a magazine about silvers.
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