Sunday, January 07, 2018

Alu Potol Posto - Potatoes & Pointed Gourd in White Poppy Seed Gravy

Alu Potol Posto
Potol used to be available only on the Indian subcontinent but is now available year-round in the Indian markets of North America. I remember guests visiting us in Rangoon, Burma, from India would bring potol with them. It was such a treat for us!
Decades later in India, my son returned from a shopping trip with his paternal grandfather, and recounted his adventures at the open-air market. He proudly declared that they had brought back 'pot-holes' from the market. He giggled hysterically as he watched me figure out that he was talking about potols. His favourite pasttime is to twist Bengali words into English words, often times with hilarious results.

Alu Posto is a favourite side dish served with Bengali meals. Alu Potol Posto can be eaten with hot, steamed basmati rice or with chapatis or parathas.

25-30 potols/pointed gourd, slit vertically in quarters

1 russet potato, cut to the size and thickness of the potol
1/2 cup white poppy seeds, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes

2 green chilies, diced
salt to taste
1 large onion, minced
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1/4 tsp. nigella or kalonji or kalo jeera seeds
2 Tbsp. mustard or vegetable oil
salt and sugar to taste
1 Tbsp. ghee


  1. Boil half a cup of water and soak poppy seeds for half an hour. 
  2. Heat half of the oil over medium-high heat, brown potol and potatoes and set aside.
  3. Heat remaining oil over medium-high heat and sputter nigella seeds and onions.
  4. Add ginger paste, salt to taste, potol and potatoes, stir and cook until tender.
  5. Blend poppy seeds along with water in which they were soaked, salt to taste and diced green chilies.
  6. Add poppy seed paste and adjust salt & sugar to taste.
  7. Stir and simmer until gravy evaporates and vegetables are cooked.
  8. Garnish with ghee and serve with hot cooked rice.

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