September 28, 2011

Durga Pujo and Potoler Dolma

potoler dorma

It's Durga Pujo time and I am feeling nostalgic. About people, about food, about the adda and more. So I made something special - Potoler Dolma. Potol is pointed gourd and is available during the summer. I didn't like Potol growing up and would crib about it whenever my mother made it. But times change, and now I go searching for it in Indian stores in the US.

Imagine my surprise when I found some fresh ones in the Indian store in Ann Arbor. I scooped it up and brought the coveted vegetable home and called my parents hoping to get thakuma's (paternal grandmother) recipe. But long conversation ensued and we kept talking about what actually went in her recipe. I remembered it differently than my father and my brother. Well, that's what memories are all about!

We finally came to an agreement and I got my ingredients together to make it.

Now Potoler Dolma is a quintessential Bengali recipe in my mind. Imagine my surprise when I find out that Dolma is not really Bengali, it's originally Portuguese and has been Bengalified with Potol. :)

You can make the dolma filling any way, there are hundreds (ok slight exaggerations here) of mixes with prawns or scraped coconut mix or dry fruits or minced meat or boneless fish or vegetables like mushrooms or mashed potatoes and paneer. I decided to do it vegetarian and simple, like my grandmother usually made.

It is a time consuming process and took me good couple of hours to finish it. But it was totally worth it. What better way to celebrate the pujo than with a good meal that takes you back to your childhood!

8-10 Potol (pointed gourd)
1/2 cup scraped Coconut
1 1/2 tspoon Mustard seeds
5-6 almonds
1 tspoon Ginger paste
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1/2 tsp Red chili powder
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1 tspoon roasted and ground cumin seeds
1 tspoon coriander powder
1 or 2 Bay leaves
3-4 Cardamoms
1 stick cinnamon
1 tomato - chopped
3-4 tbspoon oil
1/4 tspoon sugar
Salt to taste
3/4 cup water

There are few steps which I have tried to divide to make it easier:

potoler dorma

Scooping and cleaning the potols: Wash the pointed gourd and scrape the skin alternately. Then cut one end of the potol and start scooping out the seeds and flesh with your finger or with the help of a spoon. Sprinkle little salt and leave for few minutes.

Don't throw the seeds and the flesh, it goes back in the stuffing!

Heat 1 tbspoon oil and fry the Potol till they start to brown and then set them aside.

Making the stuffing: Meanwhile heat some oil in a pan add the mustard seeds. Then add the almonds, coconut and the flesh and seeds that you scooped out. Saute till the coconut slightly changes its color to light brown. Then add salt and sugar, cumin seed powder and 1/4 tspoon red chilli powder, fry them for another couple of minutes. Add 1-2 tspoon water to mix it together. Take it out from the pan and cool it to room temperature. Put it in a grinder and mix it together so the mustard seeds, the potol seeds and the almonds are ground to a smooth mix.

potoler dorma

Filling the Potol: Once the filling has cooled, take the potol and stuff it with the mix.

The final putting it together: Heat the rest of the oil in a saucepan and temper it with bay leaves and cardamoms and cinnamon. Add the ginger paste and tomato and saute for a minute. Then add the roasted cumin seed powder, red chilli powder, turmeric and coriander powder. If you have any filling left, add it to the curry now. Add water and adjust for salt. Once it comes to a boil, add the stuffed potols in it and simmer on low heat for 8-9 min till the potol is completely cooked.

potoler dorma

Serve the potoler dolma or dorma with plain white rice.

I found a great video about stuffing the potols on YouTube. Here is the link:

Have a wonderful pujo everyone!


  1. Darun dekhte hoyechhe potoler dolma ...aami konodeen banaini ... tomar recipe diye ebar try korbo. like you I too discovered a liking for potol after coming to usa.

  2. Did you use yellow mustard seeds? Can black mustard seeds be also used instead of yellow?

  3. Happy festival,..this one is new for me ,looks yum

  4. I have never had this veg or the dish and how i wish i could have a taste. Happy Durga pauja .

  5. I really need to go find Potol. But I doubt I will have my luck.. I am drooling here, just reading thru' it and the kind of stuffing. Yes memories are very diff. and I remember this particular Potoler Dolma which was made for a huge party at home, cooked by the Thakurs at home for my 5th birthday. for some reason I remember the dolma to have light pink filling :) and it was def. not icing! go figure that now! and that is the only thing i remember of that day..

    lots of love for Poojo.

  6. Uff, darun. I have never made a dolma, my Mother makes the stuffing a tad different. You are inspiring me to learn it up and try it out now

  7. Potoler dolma looks super delicious and inviting..

  8. Wish you happy pujo, hope you have great time. this looks so good ....yum

  9. Anonymous7:14 PM

    I have been following your blog since quite a while. i recently moved into Ann Arbor and saw the mention in your post. The coincidence esp timed around pujo just kicks my nostalgia into higher gear. Do you have any email id I could use to ask specifics?

  10. Looks irresistible!

  11. Thank you everyone and happy Pujo to you too.
    Madhu - you can use black mustard seeds too.
    Soma - maybe there was some raisins involved. But pink... sounds intriguing.
    Bong Mom waiting for your version.
    Soma - You are in A-2 as well? Email me at

  12. It's amazing Mandira I left you a comment yesterday and it's not here today!! ..anyways This looks so delicious..amra Chana/paneer and dal like cholar dal diye O stuffing kori besh bhalo hoye..hugs and smiles

  13. This is really so good...brought back childhood memories for sure..we do not get potol here...need to search more.
    Well written..


  14. I google to know how to make Potoler Dorma and thank god your blog opened up!! For the first time, I didnot call up my Mom and used an internet reciepe!!

    I was quick and very tasty... The aroma reminded me of my childhood, when Maa would prepare this dish. I think, this is common.. kids dont like Potol, only when they go away from home, they crave for it!!

    Thanks again!! Your Blog is in my Favorites..

  15. Thanks for trying and posting your comment Oindrila. It's true that the childhood dishes become extra special when we go away.

  16. Nice, I didn't know there is a vegetarian version of Potoler Dorma.

  17. Aaj i banalam.. khub bhalo hoyechilo... ami ektu ekta extra jinish add korlam jhol tay.. fresh cream fetie... besh bhalo lagchilo

    1. Thank you, fresh cream er idea ta natun, try korte hobe.

  18. Nice recipe, find my version here:


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