No matter how hard I tried, I always failed with this dish in the initial few years of my marriage. Ingredients are minimal and I had no clue how I could go wrong with such a simple dish. Then came a day when a colleague of mine had brought this dish and I hastily asked her the recipe. She gave me almost the same procedure as I did it. I told her that I followed similar method but mine never turned out half as good as this. She gave a tip that I need to use a bit extra oil. Also, I need to add the poppy seed paste only after the veggies are cooked and then keep it uncovered. All I did that day at work was to wait to get back home and better my culinary skills at perfecting this Bengali classic dish.
Ridge Gourd - 1 medium, cut into 1 cm cubes
Potato - 2-3 medium cut into 1 cm cubes
Onion - 1 medium sized, finely chopped (optional)
Poppy seeds - 2 tbsp
Green Chillies - 3-4 or more as per your spice tolerance
Salt - to taste
Oil - 6 tbsp (I generally mix sunflower oil and mustard oil)
Panch Phoron - 1 tsp (a mix of fennel, cumin, nigella, mustard and fenugreek seeds)
1. Grind poppy seeds, green chillies and salt in mixie without adding water first. Then grind by adding water little by little until you get a smooth paste. Keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add panch phoron. Let it splutter.
3. Add onions and saute till tanslucent. (If using onion)
3. Add cubed potatoes and saute till the cubes turn golden in colour.
4. Add ridge gourd cubes, combine. Cover the pan and let it cook in ridge gourd's juices. If the water seems less at any point you may add a little for the veggies to cook.
5. Once the veggies are cooked, uncover the pan, add the poppy paste and combine. Adjust salt if required
6. Let it cook on high flame till extra moisture evaporates and you get a dry gravy.