Macher Dim die Alu Pataler Dalna (Fish Egg and Pointed Gourd Curry)

10:55 PM

I believe many variations of recipes were born just out of necessity. Necessity to adjust because of the unavailability of certain ingredients or necessity to quicken up the process.

I have seen that happen in my house, and how later it went on to become a family favourite. Let me tell you that funny story. My mamima (Maternal uncle's wife) is an excellent but lazy cook. She would start the day with plants to do elaborate meals but as the day would progress she would start cutting down dishes from her plan. On such a day in the evening, she declared she would cook Alu patoler dalna (pointed gourd and potato recipe) and Dimer jhol (egg curry). Since the menu was simple she decided to watch some Telly and start cooking around 8. By 8 she lost all her interest in cooking and we ended up having alu patol die dime jhol (egg curry with potato and pointed gourd).

We were quite apprehensive of this weird combo but ended up having a delicious dinner. So much so that the recipe stayed on in our family as a one-pot dish with protein and veg.

Funny but true. I believe if we could go back to each and every recipe we will find reasons for which it came into existence. For example, Patol chingri or this macher dim die patoler dalna is a variation of patoler dalna. But the addition of protein in the dish included onion in the recipe to mask the flavour.
It's a very simple dish and quite satisfying to cook and eat.

Macher Dimer Bora die Alu Patoler Dalna
(serves 4)

Patol (Pointed gourd): 8 pieces
Potato: 2 medium
Macher dim/ fish roe: 200 gms
Onion: 1 medium (4 tbsp paste)
Ginger paste: 1 tsp
Tomato: 1 medium
Cumin powder/ paste: 1 tsp
Coriander powder or paste: 1/2 tsp
Chili powder: 1 tsp or as per taste
Besan/ chickpea flour: 3 tbsp
Pinch of bi-carb-soda
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Green chillies: 3-4
Tejpata: 2
Garam masala powder: 1/3 tsp
Oil: 4-6 tbsp (I used mustard oil)

Start by washing the fish roe. Do it two-three times in fresh changes of water. Remove the thin membrane and carefully mash it to separate it. Add salt, a pinch of turmeric, 3 tbsp besan and bicarb of soda, mix. 
Heat a pan, pour little oil in it and place small spoonfuls of this batter. Fry on medium for a minute then carefully flip them, Fry till golden on each side. Take out and repeat till your batter is used.

Cut the ends of the pointed gourd and scrape the skin all over with your knife. Peel the skin at 2-3 places lengthwise. Cut in 3 or 4 pieces depending on the size. I prefer to cut it on a diagonal.
Peel and cut the potatoes in 3/4" cubes.

Peel the onion and make a coarse paste.

Heat 2 tbsp oil and fry the potatoes and pointed gourds with little salt and turmeric. Fry on a medium flame for at least 8-10 minutes or till the sides of the veggies are charred. Take out.

Heat 1 tbsp oil and once smoking add the cumin seeds, tejpatta, and green chillies. Once it starts to splutter add the onion paste with a pinch of salt. Fry till the raw smell is gone (5-6 minutes). While that is being done mix the ginger paste-cumin powder-coriander powder -chili powder with 3 tbsp water. Mix.
Once the onion is fried add this paste and cook for 3-4 minutes and then add chopped tomatoes. Add little salt after checking the seasoning. Mix and cover for 304 minutes. Then mix and cook till the tomato is mushy and cooked.

Add in the fried patol and potato and mix. Then add 1 cup warm water. Taste and adjust the seasoning. At this stage I like to add 2-3 whole green chilies for flavour.
Cover and let it simmer on medium flame for 5-6 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cook till the gravy thickens to your liking. 
Switch off the flame.

Sprinkle some garam masala over it and cover and let it stand for 15 minutes before serving.

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