Monday, 18 September 2017

Potol Posto...seasons don't matter!

Potol Posto (Parwal with Khus Khus / Pointed Gourd with Poppy Seed Paste)it’s officially autumn, so what am I doing cooking a summer vegetable in a typical summer prepseasons don’t matter when you are away from home and cravings strikeseasons also don’t matter when your weekly visits to the Indian Food market reduce to monthly visits and then dwindle down to quarterly, you grab what you see, pack 10 bags full of grocery and come back home skipping because you just found goldseasons especially don’t matter when someone tells you that Indian food needs a million ingredients to taste nice...well, then you just have to prove them wrong, don’t you?😊
(The next few recipes on the blog will be simple Indian food recipes using 5 ingredients or less – typical home cooking and not what you see in restaurants or curry housesso stick around!)

Bengali Parwal recipe mmskitchenbites

Potol Posto (Parwal with Khus Khus / Pointed Gourd with Poppy Seed Paste)


  • Potol/Parwal/Pointed gourd, 8- 10 pieces
  • Posto/Khus Khus/ White Poppy seeds, ¼ cup
  • Green chillies, 3-4
  • Kalo Jeera/Kalonji/Nigella seeds, ½ tsp
  • Onion, finely sliced, 1 medium size *refer to notes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp (preferably Mustard Oil, or else any white oil of your choice- Peanut/Sunflower/RiceBran/Vegetable/Canola/Rapeseed Oil) 

Optional Ingredients:*refer to notes
  • Turmeric powder, ¼ tsp + 1/8 tsp
  • Red chili powder, ½ tsp for heat or Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder, ½ tsp for colour
  • Sugar, ½ tsp or to taste


If you have a wet grinder: Soak posto in ½ cup of hot water for half an hour. Grind into a nice white paste with 1 green chilli and some salt.
If you have a dry spice grinder: Dry grind the posto and then mix with water to make a thick wet paste.

Wash and pat dry the potols. Scrape the skin off, cut off the ends and peel off the skin in alternate strips.

Potol or Parwal mmskitchenbites

Now you can either slice the potols lengthways into 2 or 4 slices each or simply make long slits on both ends.

Toss them with a little salt and ¼ tsp turmeric powder, if using and keep aside 

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and on medium high heat, fry the potols until lightly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

In the same pan, add the balance 1 tbsp oil. When the oil is hot, add nigella seeds and let them splutter.

Add in the sliced onions and 2-3 green chillies slit through. Sauté till the onions change colour to light brown.

Add salt and the remaining turmeric powder, chilli powder & kashmiri chilli powder, if using. Stir to mix well.

Reduce the heat and add the posto paste. Sauté and stir well for 3– 4 minutes till raw smell of posto goes.

Add the fried potols and stir gently to mix with onion and posto paste.  

Add half a cup of warm water and sugar, if using.

Cover and cook till the potols are fully cooked and almost all the water has dried up. The gravy should coat the potols nicely and should not be runny.

Serve with plain riceheaven!! 


  • Remember, salt is added in three stages – first while making posto paste, then while frying potols and then finally with the onions. Adjust quantity needed accordingly.
  • I like the texture onion gives to the gravy, you can skip if you want. 
  • In my husband’s family, turmeric is usually never used with posto (it interferes with the flavour). If you want to use turmeric to get some colour, I have specified when to add should you choose to use it. 
  • The green chillies used in the posto paste and then with the onions mean there is normally no need to add red chilli powder for heat. I have specified above when to add in, in case you choose to.
  • We don’t add Kashmiri Red Chilli powder to keep the posto gravy colour. I have specified above when to add in, if you want to add it for colour.
  • Normally a little sugar is almost always added to posto dishes. I prefer to skip. 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Lemon Butter Pasta with Artichoke...eyes, hearts and habits!

Lemon Butter Pasta with Artichokeevery time I promise myself that I will cut down on carbs, something pulls me ina picture here, an ingredient thereand off I go reaching for rice, bread or pasta (or all three together!!)I call it the “Greedy Eyes” syndromethis time it was the artichokesthey were not on my shopping list – far from it, they were not even on my mind zonebut once I saw these, I convinced myself that I will buy these for a nice Mediterranean saladoh boy, was I fooling the time I reached home, the only thing on my mind was a buttery lemony pasta with these hearts for my heart...old habits die hard!! 😊

Lemon Butter Pasta with Artichoke


  • Pasta of your choice, 450gms
  • Artichoke Hearts, marinated in oil*, 250gms ( *I used fresh grilled artichokes bought from Waitrose, if using jarred/canned- ensure you use the ones marinated in oil and not in brine)
  • Shallot, finely chopped/minced, 1 small to medium
  • Garlic, peeled and minced/crushed, 2
  • Parsley leaves, finely chopped, 2 tbsp
  • Thyme leaves, finely chopped, ½ tbsp
  • Lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • Lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • Stock of your choice, ½ cup (or just use pasta water)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Chilli flakes, to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 tbsp (if using jarred/canned artichokes, use the oil from the jar)
  • Butter, 2-3 tbsp
  • Parmesan, shavings, to serve


Bring a large pan of heavily salted water to the boil.  Cook the pasta according to package instructions or until al dente (reserve about a cup of pasta water for sauce)

(** Please don’t wait for pasta to cook before starting on the sauce. Start the sauce when you put the water to boil**)

Meanwhile, heat a large fry pan/skillet over medium high heat and add extra virgin olive oil.

Add the shallots, garlic and chilli flakes to the pan. Sauté together for a couple of minutes till the shallots soften.

Add the artichokes, lemon zest and thyme. Toss through and sauté for about 5 minutes to let the artichokes colour a little.

Stir in half of the parsley.

Lower the heat; add the butter, lemon juice and ½ cup of the stock/pasta water to the pan.

Season with salt and pepper and let the sauce simmer on low heat till the pasta is ready.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss it in the pan with the sauce and remaining parsley.

If the pasta seems too dry, add the reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time, to loosen it a bit.

Add additional salt, pepper, and lemon to taste, if desired.

Finish with some Parmesan and/or parsley to serve.