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Update – The first three images re-edited and resized to fit current blog template and also meet current social media requirements.
After four days in the northeast, we travel to the east, to another historical and cultural state, 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.
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 seafoods popularity. 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 is a spice mix of cumin, mustard, fennel, fenugreek and kalonji (nigella). Vegetables and dals are tempered with panch phutana and garam masala 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.
Today’s recipe is aloo potala rasa. Potala is pointed gourd, known as parwal in north India. A variation of this curry, without onion garlic is offered to god at Puri Jaganath Temple. Fish was my first preference for this state and was debating between machha jhola and dahi machha (yogurt fish). When I came across aloo potala rasa, I finalized the dish as it is a new vegetable for me.
I bookmarked two recipes for aloo potala rasa and was contemplating on which recipe to follow as I wanted an authentic recipe. I hence asked an Oriya friend M to assist me. One of the recipes is similar to hers. She also suggest some variations to the recipe. I went ahead with the recipe that is similar to her’s. Parwal or potala looks like ivy gourd but is little harder than ivy gourd. However, when cooked it was quite flavorful.
Chenna poda is a popular sweet from the state which is made with paneer. I made it for Indian Cooking Challenge using raisins and cashews. Friend M says authentic chenna poda is without raisins and cashews, however newer generations add it. Authentic, famous sweet houses in Odisha still don’t add.
Aloo Potala Rasa Recipe
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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. Remove the potatoes and keep aside.
- To the same pan, add remaining ½ tbsp. of oil to the pan. When hot, add cumin seeds. When seeds splutter, add onions and fry until translucent.
- Throw in the 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 mix 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.