Chal Potol Recipe, A Bengali Lost Dish With Pointed Gourd
Image Credit: Decadent chal potol recipe,

My family has always celebrated the Bengali New Year, Nobo Borsho or Poila Boisakh, with great fanfare ever since I can remember. Despite our upbringing in Odisha and our status as Probashi Bengalis or expatriates, my family has never lost touch with its Bengali heritage. Traditional practices have been honoured, and the original flavour of Bengali dishes has also been preserved. Such intricacies like planning an elaborate Bengali food for Bengali New Year and strictly adhering to the norm of Bengali course meals are deeply ingrained in me. From numerous recipes I was introduced to, chal potol is a delicious dish that left a culinary imprint on me. Pointed gourd or potol is a summer vegetable, and Bengali cuisine celebrates this seasonal produce in its most simple to decadent recipes. The latter category is where chal potol resides. 

My grandmother passed down the recipe for chal potol to my mother, saving it for the warmer months and special events. Especially during Noboborsho or Poila Baishakh meal, when we are having visitors for lunch, or on my birthday, which coincides with the Bengali new year.

Short-grained, aromatic rice like gobindobhog is used to prepare potol (pointed gourd) and aloo, then topped with raisins and cashews for presentation. The recipe might vary a little from household to household. A few like to add a profuse amount of dry fruits, such as cashew nuts and raisins, to make it more decadent. In contrast, some don't include it in the ingredient list. Those aware of Bengali muri ghonto might find similarities with this recipe of chal potol, as it also uses rice in the curry. 

Making of chal potol in traditional style, Video Credit: VillFood@YouTube

Chal Potol Recipe


  • 500 gram pointed gourd or potol
  • 50 gram gobindobhog rice
  • 200-gram potatoes
  • 50-gram tomato
  • 10 ml vegetable oil
  • 35 ml mustard oil
  • 15-gram cashew nuts
  • 15-gram raisins
  • 15-gram ginger paste
  • 2 pcs dried red chillies
  • 1 pc cinnamon
  • 2 pcs bay leaves
  • 2 pcs cardamom
  • 2 pcs cloves
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 8-gram cumin powder
  • 4-gram coriander powder
  • 3-gram turmeric
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 20 gm sugar
  • 2 pcs green chillies
  • 8 g ghee
  • ¼ tsp garam masala‍
  • 350 ml hot water

Perfectly cooked chal potol recipe, Image


  • Wash the gobindobhog rice and put it out in a colander to dry in the air.
  • Peel the pointed gourd in alternate strips, then wash it thoroughly. Cut the pointed gourd in half lengthwise. 
  • Potatoes, tomatoes, and green chillies should all be cut into 1-inch cubes. 
  • In a bowl, combine 50ml water with ginger paste, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, and red chilli powder.
  • In a kadai, heat 10 ml of vegetable oil. Toss the cashews and raisins, and cook for 20 seconds on low heat. Fry the dried gobindobhog rice until it gets translucent. Take out of the oil and put it to the side.
  • Add 35 ml mustard oil to the same pan. Toss in the potol with salt to taste and cook them over medium heat till it turns golden. Expect 6–8 minutes for this. Remove from the oil and put to one side.
  • Next, add dried red chillies, bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and cumin seeds to the oil and quickly stir. Throw in the diced potatoes. Cook for nearly 4 minutes or until the potatoes have taken on some colour.
  • Mix in the premade spice slurry. Cook, covered, over medium heat, separating oil from spices. When the pan starts to dry up, just add a little water and keep cooking.
  • Toss in 10 grams of salt and 20 grams of sugar, and keep the stove on. Include two slit green chillies and tomato dice in the mix as well.
  • Add the fried cashews, raisins, and gobindobhog rice once the tomatoes have softened. Cover and simmer over low heat with the spices and water as needed until the rice is almost done.
  • Now stir in the cooked potol. Keep cooking until the potol and rice are tender, but be careful that neither becomes mushy. The potol and rice need only a small amount of water at a time to cook.
  • Add two more sliced green chillies, garam masala, and ghee for a finishing touch. To let the flavours blend, cover and let sit for 2 minutes.

Serve it hot and relish!