Monday, June 06, 2011

Alu Potol er Dalna

AluPotolDalna, Alu Potol er Dalna, Aloo Potol Dalna

Alu Potol er Dalna | Potatoes and Parwal in  Curry

The Dalna in Bengali Cooking is a gravy dish where the gravy is thicker and richer unlike a jhol where the gravy is soupy and runny. In this Alu Potol er Dalna recipe, I have shared a rich gravy made with potatoes and potol/parwal/pointed gourd. This recipe is niramish/vegetarian. In a non-veg version of this same dish, you can add shrimp or prawns.

Little S loves bandhakopir tarkari or cabbage sabzi. Only she calls it "Baba Kopi". This makes us laugh because "Baba"=Dad in Bengali.
She does not like Fulkopi or Cauliflower as much as "BabaKopi". Also she refers to Cauliflower as "White Broccoli".

And then she calls Swami Vivekananda -- Ferdinando.

Otherwise her Bengali is impeccable.


The Dalna in Bengali Cooking is a gravy dish where the gravy is thicker and richer unlike a jhol where the gravy is soupy and runny. For evey jhol there is an equivalent Dalna. So if there is a Alu-Kopir jhol there is the Alu-Fulkopir Dalna, for a Alu-Potol er Jhol there is an equivalent Alu-Potol er dalna, so on and so forth.

The Dalna can be Niramish, which means vegetarian with no onion or garlic or can be Aamish with not only onion and garlic but sometimes fish being added to it. Also almost always dalna has a phoron of Whole Garama Masala and is cooked in Ghee or White Oil but it might vary a little amongst families.

I made the Alu Potol er Dalna yesterday after years. Potol/Parwal or Pointed Gourd is a summer vegetable back home. No one pays much attention to it after first few days of its arrival in the summer market. After that it is just one more staple summer veggie.

Here Patol/Parwal is expensive, not in its best form and seen occasionally in the Indian Grocers. Me buying Patol is same as someone buying Celery sticks in the heat of Mumbai.Does not make a whole lot of sense except for making mundane Potol a very fancy vegetable for me and cooking it as a special Sunday meal.

I made a Niramish Alu Potol er Dalna, no onion to chop always tips the scale for me. We really enjoyed it with some Rice and for once did not miss the mandatory meat or fish that is on the Sunday lunch menu.


Alu Potol er Dalna

Chop the ends of the Potol/Parwal and then scrape the skin.Chop in halves. I had about 10 potol/parwal


Heat Vegetable Oil in a wok and fry the potol with a pinch of turmeric till they are a pale golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.


Heat some more Oil in the same wok

Temper the Oil with
a pinch of Hing/Asafoetida(optional)
1&1/2" tin stick of cinnamon
1 small Bay Leaf
4 small green cardamom
4 clove
2 Dry red Chili


When the spices sizzle add 1 medium potato peeled and chopped in quarters. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of Turmeric Powder and saute the potatoes until they start taking on a pale golden color


Take 2-3 peeled whole tomatoes from a can or 1 big juicy tomato and blend to make about 1/4 cup tomato puree. Add the tomato puree to the pan.Add 1 tbsp of grated Ginger OR 1 tsp of Ginger paste

Add a little salt and fry the tomato till the raw smell is gone. If you are not the smelling type, check to see if the oil is separating from the masala. This will take about 6-8 minutes at medium heat


Time for the masala.
1/2-3/4 tsp of fresh ground Coriander Powder +
1/2-3/4 tsp of Roasted Cumin Powder
1/4-1/2 tsp of Kashmiri Mirch or Red Chili Powder

in little water and this.
Alternately, you can mix the spices with 1 Tbsp of yogurt and add the masala paste.

Note 1: I roast coriander seeds and grind them to a fine powder. Ditto with Cumin Powder. My Ma however uses jeere bata or cumin paste in this recipe. You can do that too. I also use Kashmiri Mirch so use Red Chili Powder according to taste.

Note 2: In a variation of this masala you can do this --> Dry roast 1 tsp Coriander seeds + 1 tsp Cumin seeds + 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds + 1 Dry Red chilli til fragrant. Cool and grind to a powder. Mix this powder with 1 Tbsp of yogurt to make a masala paste. Add this masala paste.

Sprinkle a little of the tomato juice or a little water and fry the spices for about 5 minutes. This is called "kashano" in Bengali or "bhuno" in Hindi and a lot depends on this step. You need to fry the masala till the oil surfaces and the masala takkes a deep red color. Don't try to hurry it. I have done that and there has been a difference in taste.


Add the lightly fried poto/parwal and gently mix everything together.


Add 1 cup of warm water. Add salt to taste. Cover and cook till potatoes are done. Potol/Parwal should be done by now. Remove the cover and reduce the gravy to your desired thickness.

Add about 1/4 tsp of sugar for an authentic Bengali taste.

Adjust for spiciness, add a little ghee and garam masala powder if you wish. Keep covered and serve hot with rice or chapati


  1. Dear Sandeepa
    1st I am going to try this recipe on Fulkopi , then on the staple summer vegetable patol.
    I like it . I take note of using roasted coriander powder, which I have never used before.
    have a nice day

  2. Hi Sandeepa
    thanks for letting me know a jhol from a dalna...I always wondered, never really knew...I like to read what you write before your actual recipe..kind of disappointed this time...

  3. Ushnish Da

    I lightly roast cumin seeds(jeera) and grind to store as cumin powder. It tastes much better than store bought cumin powder that I get here. I guess you can use regular jeere bata instead

  4. Dear Sandeepa
    Tomar boudi-ke ghum theke tul-e tomar pathano complement ta debo bhab-chhiam..suddenly good sense prevailed ..tai tomorrow morning..
    Most store bought spice powders have very less smell and taste. It is mainly because of dry grinding and over heating..Traditionally all spices were wet ground and there is no the flavor used to be great. Once in a while when I cook to reproduce some recipes of my Mom, I use wet ground makes lot of difference. I think I will also try roasted jeera powder and see how it tastes.
    Have a nice week

  5. this is very new for me!!!!!
    thnX for posting!!!
    looks yummy!!
    Happy Blogging!!!!
    Food Blog News Daily
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  6. Ferdinando? Falling off my chair (bed) laughing!

  7. Potol kono din jomlona. Even as rui maacher dolma which Didu would make.

    Thought I'll ask you the English name. Then I saw that you had put it. I could not pronounce "Phantom" as a kid when I was 7 and came to Calcutta. Used to read it in my mind as batman which I was familiar with in the UK

  8. This looks soo delicious! You are making me hungry in the middle of the afternoon! Alu Potol is still one of my favorite dishes!

  9. Love all the mispronunciations. That is so cute about kids. Love your recipe, so miss it :)

  10. Love the looks of that fiery Alu Potol. I have seen this vegetable occasionally in the Indian store but never knew what to do with it.

  11. Ferdinando?! Hilarious! Yummy looking curry. Another for my recipe file.

  12. Ferdinando? any spanish influence for the little one?
    I am seeing in my grocery store this veggie for years, never even tried out! I always thought it is a "cousin" of tindoora :)

  13. OH, I just cooked it a couple of days back and was thinking of putting it up in our blog.

  14. Looks yummy!! My Grandma used to make parmal curry - it was delicious!!

  15. Daarooon !!!

    Now that i know a jhol from dalna...i always loved this curry with a peculiar peeling pattern in bengali families . Have tried it only once . You recipe makes me think of making it again.

    FYI ..i grow a lot of celery here in Delhi and this is the only herb growing happily in my garden , all the others are snooty n demand a lot of care. Potol can also be grown successfully from stem cuttings , once it starts growing you can't tame it . Then you would have a lot of potol to make even the parval ki mithai .

  16. I always wondered about the difference between jhol and dalna. Now I know :)
    I tried potol for the first time a few months ago and loved it. This curry with potatoes sounds (and looks) GOOD!

  17. Totally new to me..looks very appealing

  18. You have not mentioned the quantity of patole required to prepare the dish.


  19. i love potol, specially the ones you get just at the beginning of summer, which have very ten der seeds. the dalna looks lovely. i have made it a few times, though i went light on the dhone and very little aada bata. the pics taken by you s delicious. i can almost taste it. with rice it will be yummy. hand crushed tomatoes will give a better taste than puree i feel.

  20. Isnt that a huge amount of oil...? there are hardly any veggies .. that much of oil we tend to use while cooking for 10+ ppl.......

  21. Yum! I can feel the seeds crunching in my mouth as I sit at my desk in the morning. Why are Potols always peeled stripey?
    Baba- kopi, will never be the same!

  22. lovely and parwal is a staple vegetable and when u talk about it in vaillages they laugh at you as nobody spends money to buy grows in their fence and it does not earn much respect...this gravy looks fantastic and I think we cna make dalna with any vegetable this way...I loved and laughed till my eyes filled reading your chalks and chopsticks post...excellent one :)

  23. My mouth is watering in the office! Baby S is so clever... Mini Basu looks at me like I am mad every time I speak in Bengali!!

  24. Eyi boyeshe Vivekananda jaaney sheyi onek ... o Ferdinando boluk ar Joganando boluk. :D
    I've tried making a paste of soaked jeera and failed miserably ... so dry powder works for me best.
    Dalna ta dekhe khide peye gelo. Next time hing diye try korbo.
    And I wonder what's anon's prob.

  25. Looks delicious. What is potol in English? Will this taste as good with lesser oil? We don't usually add that much. Any suggestions?

  26. It is looks simple recipe but yummy and healthy.. Thanks for sharing..:)

  27. Sandeepa,

    patol aar patoler dalna amaar kaachhe, baar baar i special, specially after being out of Kolkata for long 13 yrs.

    But amm still rolling in laughter over babakopi and white broccoli. But definite winner is Ferdinando....Pls give her a BIG BIGGER BIGGEST hug from me.


  28. Bengali Mom

    Ha, ha that was a good one :) At least there is someone who doesn't get bored with all that writing


    My Mom uses wet spice paste too.I just use the dry powders, didn't realize there would be a diff in taste


    Potol was not something I liked either, ekhon shob i bhalo lage.

    Phantom ke ami "Aranyadeb" bole jantam, desh(magazine) e first strips gulo porar phol


    Thanks and Alu-Potol is your fav, wow


    Do you get parwal where you live ?


    It is very popular in our part of India as a summer veggie. Supposed to cool your body and all that


  29. Cham

    Guess from her sis. We think tindora is a cousin of Parwal as tindora is not very popular in our part of the world


    You sure should put up your version too


    Yeah grandmas are the best, no ?


    Wow you must be quiet the green-thumb gardener :)


    Yeah I remember seeing Potol in one of your posts after you R2I

    It is good, try it


    Ooops will update, about 10 patol

  30. Kuhu

    I think while using paste 1 tsp should be enough, no ? I usually puree the tomatoes but my Mom would just chop them up


    The oil is on the high side, I agree. These dishes do taste good with more oil but you can lower the amount as per your preference.

    But the amount is definitely not enough for 10 ppl :) and also it depends on what you are cooking for those 10 ppl.


    Stripey to retain their form ? else they would become too soft I guess


    Patol/Parwal has a similar status back home too. After the first few days of the tender ones, it is just one more boring vegetable


    Moni Basu ke Rabindranath poriye dao ;-)


    Hing ta kintu standard noi, amar hing er gandho bhalo lage tai ekdom niramish ranna hole ektu diy

  31. WriterzBlock

    Patol is called Pointed Gourd in English though I doubt that any English-speaking human knows about this nomenclature :-)
    The oil can be lowered according to your pref. More definitely makes it a bit more tasty, would use more if cooking for guests or once-in-a-while lunch. For regular lunch/dinner I would go with less.


    Thanks :-)


    How have you been ?

  32. First time here.....loved the alu potol dalna as much as ur daughter's antics!!! Following you...

  33. koto diner por dekhlam alu patoler dalna :) love all the stories about small s and big s :)

  34. So many yummy and happy memories come back to me, as I read this post...Alu-potol is a simple Bangali pleasure, hard to beat :)

    Also, I want to take this opportunity to present to you the 'Stylish Blogger Award' for all your mouth-watering recipes with attractive food photos. Details are here:


  35. Hi
    Kolkatay daily patol paoa ta ato sahoj, ekhane bose bose tomader patol samparke taan andaj kora muskil. tomar meye ra khub bhalo, tai patol ba badha copi bhalo base. amar 4.5 yr old son broccoli k kichudin age bolto green phulcopi! I suggest tumi patoler dolma ar patoler morobba blog karo. darun jombe!

  36. Oh my gosh, I love the renaming of Swami Vivekananda as Ferdinando!! Thinking of this will give me a special extra pleasure next time I listen to our CD of the aroti (sp?) sung at the Sri Rama Krishna Temple. Funnily, in the intro to that CD, someone says that the songs give an insight into Vivekananda's personality, but the speaker was slowly relishing the word 'personality,' and my husband, mishearing it, said to me, "That's an odd phrase - Vivekananda's 'terse humanity!'" So now we know it is actually Ferdinando who has the terse humanity!

    The aloo potol looks great. I hadn't had potol before our last trip to Kolkata, and I really liked it.

  37. Authentic Oriya Food

    I got potol this weekend again :)


    Thank you so much


    Sottiy bolecho, dehse thakte potol ektu o bhalo lagto na !!!

    Wild Orchids

    What CD is that and what kind of songs ?

  38. This curry reminds me of Indian summer,will try this soon

  39. Hi Sandeepa! The CD is a recording from the evening service at Belur Moth temple. It's extremely nice - it is a cycle of songs composed by Vivekananda. They sing them at the Ramakrishna missions, with everyone participating and harmonium accompanying. I think ours is a copy from something of my father-in-law's - probably at Belur Moth they make the CD and he got it there and burned a copy for us. Maybe it is possible to find here too since Belur Moth is pretty famous?

  40. Hi,

    Thanks for this recepie, I made it today and it turned out quite fine. As i am the only one eating it, i guess the feedback would be a bit biased.


  41. I love your dalna......We cook the same way but have never put Dhone / coriander in it. Only cumin and ginger and ofcourse a little ghee and garam masala. Your anecdotes and recipes are fantastic. I enjoy reading them and feel like trying it out.

    Thanks Purba

  42. hi Sandeepa ,
    I live in sunnyvale, CA. Can u or anyone tell me where I can get the actual big potol? All I get here is from India cash & carry and they are frozen and very small.

    1. Hi

      I am in the east coast. We get the fresh patol mostly around summer here

  43. Hi Sandeepa,
    I live in sunnyvale, CA. Can u or anyone tell me where can i get the real big potol? What I get here from India Cash& Carry are very small and frozen.

  44. gr8 recipe without onion and garlic... looking forward to some more!

  45. gr8 recipe.. without onion and garlic..looking forward to some more!

  46. one question... the masala has to be prepared in a different pan and then alu and potol has to be addaed??? or the masala has to be added in tha same kadhai which already has the alu and potol????

    1. Just follow steps as written.

      1. Fry potol. remove and keep aside.

      2. In same pan continue with all next steps

      3. Add potol back when the recipe says

  47. Good recipe.. Well written..

  48. OMG!!!! This recipe is incredible! Reminds me of home cooked meals in Cal as a child. Thank you so much for posting this. Thanks for clarifying the difference between Dalna and Jhol!

  49. I would always fuss when ma made potol. Then when I went home for the first time after 2 years in grad school in the US, I stopped overnight at my cousin's place in Delhi. I was so delighted to eat potol bhaja that night. I mean I had missed potol. Who knew that was even possible!

  50. Hi Bong Mom..Sandeepa..

    Couldn't resist commenting its thanksgiving in usa nd its a holiday fr everyone of us here... yesterday I got fresh potol in an indian store here...which I hardly see around..I entered the market..nd I ws like "o maa potol !!!" As if I had seen some uberly delicious rich food.... being in chennai fr 2yrs nd not getting proper potol made me crave it fr more....nd just aftr marriage coming here to usa has made me a potol maniac... so made potol er jhol today... I always love all your recipes nd all that u write about ur kids new pronunciations... btw where do u live in usa?? I am in chicago... I just wanted to have the same taste eof potol rr jhol that my Maa used to make...miss dat a she is no more..but alas..cudnt even near dat..nd seriously the spices in powdered form r really bogus in the hating them...will make powders at home only :-)

    Thanks nd wil keep following...

  51. Love potoler jhol and dalna. Phulkopi as well, but i cut it lengthwise cause that's how my mother prefers it, and you should do in mustard oil. Takes it to another level. Yum recipe though


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