Bengali Potol Posto Recipe, A Summer Special Traditional Curry
Image Credit: Bengali potol posto, ik_burstingflavours@Instagram

From ancient times Indian kitchens have been following the practice of seasonal and regional foods. Such eating habits align the body with nature's cycle of change in its seasons. It has been mentioned in our traditional science of Ayurveda. Being born in a Bengali family which upholds time-tested values, I have grown up watching and embracing such ritualistic beliefs and practices. Thus, our summer diet has always included many vegetables and produce in hotter months. One among them is potol or pointed gourd. It is common in Bengali kitchens to use this healthy and seasonal vegetable in various dishes. While there are decadent renditions such as potoler dolma, one also comes across potol posto. 

Bengali Potol posto is a simple preparation of pointed gourds in a thick posto or poppy seeds paste. The basic recipe follows more or less similar steps in the cooking method. It is one of the go-to niramish or sattvic (vegetarian dishes barring onion and garlic) Bengalis add to their summer meal platter. Potol posto is an easy recipe and tastes best with steamed rice. The use of poppy seeds paste lends it a creamy texture. A few people also like to add coconut paste to the poppy for extra richness. It falls into the dry curry version and is served as a side dish. One can tweak the spice levels according to preference. 

It is essential to pick the tender pointed gourds for this recipe. Look for the ones which are green and slim and long in shape. Avoid the potols which have turned yellowish; these are ripened. Wash them thoroughly and cut them lengthwise to make authentic Bengali potol posto. 

Bengali potol posto recipe, Video Credit: Soumali's Kitchen@YouTube

Potol Posto Recipe

Delicious potol posto, Image Source: Treat.Cuisine@Instagram


  • 20 medium-sized pointed gourds (potol)
  • ½ teaspoon salt to marinate the pointed gourds
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 dry red chilli 
  • ½ teaspoon kalo jeere or Nigella seeds 
  • 4 tablespoons mustard oil 
  • 1 teaspoon ghee 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • ¾ cup water 

For the poppy seeds, paste

  • ¼ cup posto or poppy seeds 
  • ¼ cup grated coconut
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2-3 tablespoons water


  • Start by cutting off the tips of all the pointed gourds, then peel back some of the skin. Cut the pointed gourds in half lengthwise with a knife. Make sure the potol is undivided.
  • Wash the pointed gourds and then massage them with a mixture of half a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder.
  • Soak 1/4 cup of poppy seeds in warm water for half an hour. It's helpful to crush them up uniformly.
  • After the poppy seeds have soaked, strain the water and place it in the grinder's tiny jar. Put in two or three teaspoons of water and cover. Make a paste by pulsing it.
  • Put two green chillies and a quarter cup of shredded coconut into the jar. Repeat the pulsing for a further couple of seconds. Save the paste for later
  • In a skillet, warm the 3 tablespoons of mustard oil. Fry the marinated pointed gourds in a single layer over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until soft. Place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil and set them aside.
  • If more oil is needed, add it to the same pan. Throw in one bay leaf, one dried red chilli, and half a teaspoon of nigella seeds and let them splutter.
  • Give the poppy seed-coconut paste a good stir before adding it to the pan. Reduce the heat level and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the raw smell is gone and the oil separates from the paste.
  • Add salt and 1/2 teaspoon of red chilli powder to the pan, stir to blend. Maintain a low heat for one minute.
  • Add the fried pointed gourds to the skillet along and blend well in condiments and poppy seeds paste.
  • Put a quarter cup of water in the pan and whisk it around. Turn the heat up high until the gravy comes to a boil, and then reduce it to a simmer. Toss in a couple of green chillies.
  • Keep the lid on the pan. Keep cooking for another 10 minutes over a low temperature to ensure the pointed gourds are tender and juicy
  • Blend in 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of ghee into the pan and stir well to combine
  • Cook for a few seconds with the stove on high heat, then turn it off

Transfer Bengali potol posto to a bowl and serve it hot with steamed rice.