Monday, July 27, 2009

A vegetable both plain and exotic

I am on vacation in Calcutta, my home town, and I can’t find a topic better than parwal, or pointed gourd. For this vegetable is native to this part of India. While this is a familiar vegetable for people in eastern India, it’s relatively exotic in other regions, like Maharashtra, where it is four times as expensive as in Bengal (an eastern state). And in the United States, it sells for $7 a pound!

Parwal’s Latin name is Trichosanthes dioica. Called parwal in Hindi and potol in Assamese, Oriya, and Bengali, it is widely cultivated in the eastern part of India, particularly in Orissa, Bengal, Assam, and Bihar, and parts of Uttar Pradesh.

It is a vine plant, similar to cucumber and squash, though unlike those it is perennial. The fruits are green, mostly with white stripes; the size can vary from small and round to thick and long — 2 to 6 inches.

It is used as ingredients of stew, curry, or eaten fried and as “dorma” with stuffing. Pointed gourd is also converted to a sweetmeat in Bengal.

For more on the possibilities of parwal, please be patient. This post is merely a prelude. For what you can do with parwal, watch out for another post. I will need to ask my mother for help on that.


Sudeshna said...

I feel Bengalis and for that matter anybody who loves the tastes of pointed gourds wants to have them fried. I had posted about a pointed gourd fries sometime back and to my amazement it has become one of the most popular posts on my blog, you can have a look at it here -

Sudeshna said...

It would be great if you can send me your mail id. We have just started a project on interviewing fellow food bloggers and would be much obliged if you can send me your mail id so that I can send you the questionnaire, if you wish to be a part of the project.

Will be eagerly waiting for your reply. Mail me at

Angshuman said...

Sudeshna, thanks so much for your comment. I will visit your site one of these days. I have sent you an e-mail.

ExpressYourself said...

Sounds interesting.......

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Anonymous said...

It's a pity not to find any recipe, though promised.
Will there be any? =))

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Knorr Soup said...

Angshuman, you are right about the pointed gourd. It is such a versatile vegetable and contains such a variety of nutrients. Eating healthy, after all, is the best way to stay healthy, and you are on the right track. It is a fact that our eating habits can be changed by healthier alternatives to junk food: check out some expert tips and suggestions on healthy eating habits at Knorrseven.

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