Parwal Masala (Pointed Gourd Curry)

I do not know the name of pointed gourd in Tamil or Malayalam. I understand it is simply called parwal. This vegetable is plentifully available in the region where I stay. Parwal (pronounced padwal) is a summer vegetable. It is a local vegetable and very inexpensive in season. I hated this vegetable, but used to purchase once in a while, just to make myself feel good that I am eating seasonal vegetables. That was only until Hari made a Bengali dish with it. Since then, I have been a fan and prepare this in various forms – bland, spicy, curry, dry… I love the crunch of the seeds while consuming it. My recipe today is the Bengali version with which Hari floored me!

500 gms pointed gourd, washed cut into thick roundels
1 large tomato, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1″ piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tsp coriander powder (dhania powder, kothamalli podi)
1 tsp cumin powder (jeera powder, jeeraga podi)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
2 tbsp vegan yogurt
Salt to taste
Grind the onion, tomato and ginger in a blender into a smooth paste, adding a little water
Heat a pressure cooker and add the cumin seeds
When they begin to crackle, add the ground paste
Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and cumin powder
Saute for about 10 minutes
The add the chopped pointed gourd
Add salt and mix well
Add 1/2 cup water and cook for 2 whistles
Let the steam release naturally and open the lid
Add the vegan yogurt and mix well
Continue cooking for about 2 minutes
Remove to a serving bowl
Serve hot with red/brown rice or Indian flat breads

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