Potoler Dolma (Stuffed Pointed Gourd)

Continuing the journey of regional cuisines, here is a delicacy from the kitchens of Bengal. The Potoler Dolma is also known as stuffed pointed gourd. Interestingly this dish has Armenian roots but found its way into the kitchens of the nawabs of Bengal. From there has spread its influence to rank and file Bengali households. So the Bengalis now proudly claim it as their own. Now coming to the dish itself. The filling makes all the difference. It can be vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Fish and prawn are popular non-vegetarian fillings. For vegetarians, paneer, lentil or coconut stuffing are good options. I have used the fish stuffing in my recipe. Hollowing out the pointed gourd is actually not as difficult as it seems. The technique you can see from the pictures I have provided. Do not throw away the inside of the pointed gourd. You can use it to make a stir fry bhaji to be had with rice and homemade dal. The curry of the Potoler Dolma has many variations. My recipe reflects what I have grown up with in our home. As you can imagine, this is a special dish and ideal for celebrations or while entertaining guests. Kids who detest the seeds in the pointed gourd take a fancy to this version of the vegetable. One tip and something I really like to do is to have the non-gravy version of this dish along with some plain rice and warm ghee. It is just out of the world. Happy Fooding Around!


Potoler Dolma (Stuffed Pointed Gourd)

  • Author: Reetika Mitra
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 Hr
  • Yield: 12 1x


From the Kitchen of the Nawabs



Ingredients :

  • 12 large Potol/Parwal/Pointed Gourd
  • Mustard Oil – ½ cup + 2 Tbsp


Ingredients For the Stuffing:

  • 500 gms Rui/Rahu fish
  • 2 medium sized Onions finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Ginger paste
  • 2 tsp Garlic paste
  • 23 Green Chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 Tsp Red Chilli powder
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala powder
  • 23 Tbsp chopped Coriander Leaves
  • Salt to taste


Ingredients For the Gravy:

  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 bay Leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Onion paste
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
  • 2 Tbsp thick Curd (yoghurt)
  • 1 Tbsp Poppy Seed paste
  • 1 Tsp Cashew Nut paste
  • Turmeric powder
  • Red Chilli powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Garam Masala powder
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato puree
  • ½ Tsp Sugar (Optional)
  • Salt to tatse


Instruction for Preparing the Potol/Pointed Gourd :

  1. Wash, clean and pat dry the potol/parwal/pointed gourd. Light scrape the sides as shown in the given picture and cut off the tips.
  2. Gently scoop out the flesh and the seeds of the potol. I always use the handle of the spoon to do this. Care must be taken not to damage or break the sides or the other end of the potol. Do Not discard the flesh and the seeds of the potol, as you can make an easy and yummy bhaji with them later on. Please check the notes section below for this.
  3. Apply salt to the potol, both inside the hollow and outside as well. Keep them aside for 10 mins.
  4. In the meanwhile heat half the oil in a deep bottom pan. Fry the potol in batches till they turn light brown in colour. Add some more oil to the pan if required.
  5. Drain them on paper towels and keep them aside to cool.

Instruction for the Filling:

  1. Clean and pat dry the Rui/Rahu pieces. Smear lightly with salt and turmeric.
  2. To debone the fish you can either shallow fry or boil or can even microwave them for 2 – 3 mins. I opted for the last method as it is not only more healthy but is also trouble free. Also the texture of the fish turns out just right, soft and crumbly.
  3. Heat the remaining oil over medium -high heat in the deep bottom pan . Add the sliced onion and saute till they turn translucent. Now add ginger, garlic paste and chopped green chillies. Stir and saute till the colour changes to a light golden.
  4. Next add the turmeric powder along with the red chilli powder. Toss well and cook for another 2-3 mins.
  5. Add the deboned fish and adjust the salt.
  6. Stir from time to time and cook till the mixture reduces in volume and becomes more tighter. Oil should start separating from the sides as well. Finally add the garam masala powder and the chopped coriander leaves. Mix thoroughly before taking off the heat.
  7. Once the fish filling cools down, stuff the scooped out fried potols with the filling. Stuff the filling till the edges and pack them tightly.

Instruction for the  Gravy:

  1. Heat 2 -3 tbsp Oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add the bay leaves, onion paste and the ginger, garlic paste. Saute for 3 -4 mins over medium heat.
  2. In a bowl mix together the curd, poppy seed and cashew nut paste along with all the dry masalas except garam masala. Now add this mixture to the pan along with the tomato puree.
  3. Stir frequently over medium-low flame and cook till oil separates from the edges. Now add salt, sugar, water and allow to cook for another 2 -3 mins. Turn down the heat to a low and add stuffed potols. Simmer for 2 -3 mins more or till the gravy thickens.
  4. Sprinkle the garam masala just before switching off the flame.



Since the Potoler Dolma is a slightly lengthy process, you can easily make the filling ahead of time. This will help to cut down on your preparation time by half!
For those having the vegetarian option of this Dolma, you can grind the seeds and the vegetable flesh and add it to the paneer, lentil or coconut filling.
Else you may simply do a ‘bhaji’ like stir fry with a pinch of nigella seeds, some chopped onions, pinch of turmeric, salt to taste and a green chillies .Tastes delicious and yummmm!



  • Serving Size: 6

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