Saturday 28 May 2022
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Potoler dorma/dolma

There is a famous saying among Bengalis: baro mashe tero parbon, which translates to “13 festivals in 12 months”. We are a fun-loving people; so we need an excuse to rejoice all the while. Rath Yatra in Bengal refers to the first step of Goddess Durga’s journey to her parent’s house where she is carried on a wooden palanquin. The next in line is the Biswakarma Puja. Shopping for these festivals has already started in most parts of India, especially West Bengal. I think shopping is the 14th festival for us. And we Bengalis earn to eat, so all our festivals mean the belly’s delight. I take this opportunity to share the first recipe of the festival season with a dish highly savoured by people in Bengal — potoler dorma.

Servings: Count on the number of potols/parvals/kambupudalais as you wish. Maybe 2 per serving.


  • Parval: 8-10 (as you need)
  • Rohu or any kind of carp (sea bass will also go): 2-3 pieces
  • Potato: 1 (medium)
  • Onion: 1 (chopped)
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 2 tblsp.
  • Tomato: 1 (medium)
  • Green Chilli: 1 or 2 (chopped finely)
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Garam masala: [Cinnamon stick: 1 (1/2″),Cardamom: 2-3 pods, Cloves: 3 pods]
  • Turmeric powder: 2 tsp.
  • Coriander powder: 1 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder: 1-2 tsp. (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil: 2 tblsp.
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing


For stuffing

  • For this recipe, take fish fillets. Cook the fish in boiled water with a tsp. of salt or pressure cook them for 3-4 minutes. Take them out, when cool, mash the fish pieces after separating the fish bones and skins. Don’t throw the excess fish cooked water. Keep it.
  • Cut potatoes in small chunks. Chop onion and tomato.
  • Heat oil in a pan; fry the potato pieces with a pinch of salt. Keep aside. In the same oil, add bay leaf and all the whole spices under garam masala.
  • When they start to crackle, add chopped onions. When onions turn brown, add ginger-garlic paste, stir for a minute, and then add tomatoes, green chillies, turmeric, chilli and coriander powder. Add 2 tbsp. water in it and fry the masala well.
  • Add fried potato pieces, mashed up fish and fish cooked water. Stir fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add little more water, about 1/3 cup. Season with salt and cover with a lid.
  • When potatoes are cooked and water dries up completely, give it a good stir and remove from heat. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

For gravy

  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Whole Garam masala: 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cardamoms, 4 cloves
  • Onion: 2 (medium, thinly sliced)
  • Ginger: 1″ piece
  • Green chilli: 1
  • Tomato: 1 (big) or 2 (small)
  • Turmeric powder: 2 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder: 2 tsp.
  • Cumin powder: 1tsp.
  • Coriander Powder: 1 tsp.
  • Garam masala powder: 1 tsp. ( grounded powder of cardamom, cinnamon & cloves)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil: 2 tbsp. (for gravy) + 1 tbsp. ( for frying the parwal/pointed gourds)


  • Wash and clean the parwals. First scrape the whole skin of the parwals with a knife. cut one tip a little, right from the edge and the other tip little big, so that we can enter back of a spoon to scoop out the seeds from inside. Rub with a pinch of salt and keep aside for 5-10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, you can prepare the filling. Recipe is given above.
  • Heat 1 tblsp. oil in a pan, fry the parwals or Potols until lightly brown from all sides, keep aside. When parwals are cooled, stuff each one with the prepared filling. Carefully fill the parwals using your finger and try not to break them. Keep aside.
  • To prepare the gravy, in the same pan, add little more oil for the gravy, when hot add bay leaf first, then cardamom, cinnamon and cloves together, when aroma comes out, add sliced onions and sauté them until they change colour, then ginger-green chilli paste and again sauté for 1 minute, then add chopped tomatoes and sauté until tomatoes turn soft. Then add turmeric, chilli and cumin-coriander powder and 2 tbsp. water and mix well with onion-tomatoes. Stir well until oil separates.
  • Now add stuffed parwal/potols in the gravy and add 1 cup water. Season with salt and let it cook covered for 7-8 minutes or gravy has thickened and parwals are cooked. Lastly add powdered garam masala powder, mix well in the gravy and remove from fire.
  • Potoler dorma or stuffed parwal is ready to serve. Enjoy this with plain rice or light pulao.

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Baishali Ghosh
Baishali Ghosh
Commentator and food blogger

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