Chal Potol is one such thing that we used to have every year at Pishimoni’s place during Kojagori Lokkhi Puja. Pishimoni’s husband’s family had the tradition of offering Anna Bhog (prasad offered to God that consists of rice) to the Goddess and the Puja used to happen during Diwali. Every year we used to eagerly wait for the day. I remember Pishimoni along with her in-laws cooking the grand Bhog and as usual, I am assisting her with small things. Chal Potol was kind of a mandatory item in the Bhog. The Bhog used to be super grand and three items of the spread that I clearly remember are Chal Potol, Narkel Naru and Lobongo Lotika Pitha.
Pishimoni used to cook the best Chal Potol and even Maa makes it quite amazing. Maa has learned to cook this dish from Pishimoni and I have learned it from Maa. Potol has always been one of my favourite vegetables and I love it in almost every way. Starting from Potol Bhaja to Chal Potol to Potoler Dolma to simple Aloo Potoler Jhol, I just love everything. Luckily, my husband loves it too and so when in season, we eat Potol a lot. Bengali vegetarian kitchen has a lot to offer with this amazing Potol. Such a versatile vegetable it is.
Cooking Chal Potol is like creating an aromatic masterpiece at your kitchen. The fragrant Gobindobhog Rice cooked with tender and delicious Potol and the magic is created. Also, this is a no onion and no garlic recipe and considered as Satvik Aahar. People often have the notion that Bengalis eat only fish and meat, but, not many people know about the varieties of Bengali vegetarian dishes. Bengali vegetarian dishes, if cooked to perfection, can give a tough time to many exotic non vegetarian dishes. So, let me bring to you all the process of making highly aromatic and flavourful Chal Potol.
- 400 gm potol (pointed gourd)
- 1/2 cup gobindobhog rice
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 6 green chilli, slitted
- 1 handful raisin
- 1 table-spoon grated ginger
- 1.5 tea-spoon turmeric powder (1 + 1/2)
- 1 tea-spoon cumin powder
- 1 tea-spoon coriander powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon red chilli powder (optional)
- 1/2 tea-spoon kashmiri red chilli powder
- 3 table-spoon ghee (1 + 2) + some more for garnishing (optional)
- 3 table-spoon mustard oil (2 + 1)
- 1 cup warm water + some more, keep handy
- 1 tea-spoon sugar
- salt, according to taste
- 1/2 tea-spoon cumin seed
- 2 dry red chilli
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick (1 inch)
- 5 green cardamom, crushed
- 6 clove, crushed
- Wash gobindobhog rice and soak in water for atleast 30 minutes.
- Take all the potols and wash properly. Tap to dry. Scrap the outer shell and cut the two heads. Put horizontal cut from both the ends. Rub with 1 tea-spoon turmeric powder and some salt. Keep aside
- Heat 1 table-spoon ghee in a pan and lightly fry the raisins. Remove and keep aside.
- Discard the water from rice and in the same ghee, lightly fry the rice. Remove and keep aside.
- Heat 2 table-spoon oil in the same pan and fry the potols until all of them are little brownish from all sides. Remove and keep aside.
- Now heat 2 table-spoon ghee and 1 table-spoon oil together in the same pan and temper with all the ingredients mentioned in For Tempering section. Allow them to splutter.
- Add grated ginger and stir until raw smell goes off completely.
- Add tomato and stir until mushy.
- Add remaining turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and kashmiri red chilli powder. Sprinkle a little water and stir fry over low flame for a minute or so.
- Add rice and salt and give a proper mix.
- Add fried potols and raisins and again mix well.
- Add 1 cup warm water, mix well and cover the lid. Over low to medium flame cook until rice and potols are nicely done and water evaporates.
- Don’t forget to open the lid and stir in between. If water dries up, add some more.
- Once all the things are properly cooked and water evaporates and you have the consistency on drier side, sprinkle some extra ghee and sugar on the top. Mix well and turn the flame off. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Your Chal Potol is ready to be served now.
Serve with hot piping rice and enjoy this very authentic Bengali delicacy. Do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.