Aloo Potala Rasa ~ Potato Pointed Gourd Curry – Odisha

After four days in the northeast, we travel to the east to another historical and cultural state of Odisha, formerly known as Orissa. The state borders West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Bay of Bengal on the east. The state in ancient times was the kingdom of Kalinga and Cuttack was the capital for centuries until Bhubaneswar was made the new capital in 1948. Odisha is known for its rich culture and numerous ancient temples. Well known temples are the Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneswar, Puri Jagannath Temple and the Konark Sun Temple. Oriya is the dialect spoken in the state.

Alu Potala Rasa, Potato Pointed Gourd Curry, Blogging Marathon, Oriya Cuisine

Oriya cuisine is predominately seafood based. Fish, shrimp and crab are very popular. Chicken and mutton are consumed but occasionally. Cuisine also has some vegetarian delicacies despite seafood being very popular. Only 6% of the Odisha population is vegetarian. Mustard oil is used for cooking and chenna / paneer / Indian cottage cheese is a very common ingredient in many preparations, mostly in sweets. Panch phutana, a spice mix of cumin, mustard, fennel, fenugreek and kalonji (nigella) is used for tempering vegetables and dals, and garam masala is used for non-vegetarian curries. Oriya cuisine is lot similar to Bengali cuisine and some dishes are common in both the states. Very popular rasgulla originated in Odisha. Some of the dishes from this cuisine are Anna, Kanika, Dalma, Khata, Dahi Machha, Machha Jhola, Pitha, Chennapoda, Rasabali.

Alu Potala Rasa, Potato Pointed Gourd Curry, Blogging Marathon, Oriya Cuisine

Today’s recipe is aloo potala rasa. Potala is pointed gourd and known as parwal in north India. A variation of this curry, without onion garlic is prepared as an offering to god at Puri Jaganath Temple. For this state I wanted to do a fish recipe and was debating between machha jhola and dahi machha (yogurt fish). Then I came across aloo potala rasa and since I never cooked with parwal, I finalized this dish to represent the cuisine of this state. I found two recipes and was not sure which one to follow. I asked an Oriya friend M and she said one of the recipes is similar to how she makes. She also suggest some variations to the recipe. I went ahead with the recipe that is similar to her’s. The curry was flavorful and liked the parwal a lot. Parwal looks like ivy gourd but is little harder than ivy gourd but when cooked, it was quite flavorful. I have another recipe from this state that I did for Indian Cooking Challenge, which is Chenna poda. I used raisins and cashews as the recipe I followed called for and friend M says that authentic chenna poda doesn’t have raisins and cashews, however newer generations add it. Authentic famous sweet houses in Odisha still don’t add it.

Parwal, Point Gourd,

Source: Super Yummy Recipes
Total Time: 25 – 30 minutes
Preparation: 5 – 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 1 – 2


  • 7 Parwal ~ Pointed Gourd
  • ½ cup diced Potatoes or ½ small – medium sized or 85 grams Potato (I used red potato)
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Mustard Oil or any vegetable Oil
  • 1/8 tsp. Cumin
  • ¼ cup chopped Onion or ½ small Onion chopped
  • 1 tsp. Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1/3 cup chopped Tomato or ½ medium sized Tomato chopped (I used vine ripe tomato)
  • ½ tbsp. Coriander Powder
  • ½ – ¾ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¾ tsp. Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp. Turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. Cumin Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Garam Masala (I used store bought)
  • 1 cup water or as required
  • Coriander Leaves or Cilantro to garnish


  • Wash and scrape parwal lightly with a knife or a peeler. Cut the tips and cut it into half.
  • Peel and cut potato into small cubes. I cut ½ the potato into 14 pieces.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a pan and shallow fry parwal on medium flame until they become soft, about 2 minutes. Remove from oil and keep aside.
  • Add potatoes and fry until potatoes are golden brown, about 2 -3 minutes.
  • Add remaining ½ tbsp. of oil to the pan, when hot add cumin seeds. When seeds splutter, add onions and fry until translucent.
  • Add ginger, turmeric and sauté until raw ginger smell is gone and onions are light brown.
  • Add salt, tomatoes and sauté for couple of minutes until tomatoes are soft and mushy.
  • Add coriander, chili powder, cumin powder, garam masala and mi well and cook until oil starts to separate.
  • Add potatoes, parwal and mix well until spices coat the vegetables.
  • Add water and bring it to boil. Cover and cook on medium flame for 5-7 minutes or until potatoes are cooked. If the gravy is too thick, add a little water, bring to a boil and simmer for couple of minutes.
  • Turn of the stove, transfer aloo potala rasa to a serving bowl, garnish with cilantro and serve with rice or roti.


  • One variation is adding a little cashew paste or powder when it is almost done.
  • Another variation is using a paste of onions, ginger garlic and coconut. This doesn’t have tomatoes.

Note (copy pasting from the recipe source):

  • To cook food with mustard oil, first heat oil until the mustard oil begins to smoke otherwise the mustard oil would smell and spoils the dish.
  • Dont peel the skin of parwal completely otherwise it will become mushy.
  • Cooking with mustard oil is purely optional, but I prefer to cook my gravies with mustard oil for the authentic flavor and healthy benefits.
  • Parwal is normally is deep fried before using in the curry however I preferred to shallow fry.

This day in 2009 – Black & Yellow Chickpeas in Sweet & Sour Spicy Sauce
This day in 2010 – Egg Roll
This day in 2012 – Fattoush
Recipes I posted this month in 2009, in 2010, in 2011, in 2012 and in 2013.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 39



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