Stuffed Spiny Gourd or Stuffed Kakrol

For some strange pompous reason I assumed Momordica dioica is Bengali. Kakrol is what we call it in upstate West Bengal and I kind of thought no other community even knows of this bristly balsam pear commonly called spiny gourd. Well, please do not take offence as honestly it is not really a luscious piece of lamb or a white juicy piece of fish that we are talking about. The hero here is an oblong prickly slightly mildly bitter Asian vegetable. No great flavour lender to a curry but with the traditional scoop out & scoop in recipe I am about to share, it is, my friends a delightfully traditional and classy little piece of cookery art.

Wash the gourd well and cut them by half through the centre longitudinally. Then with a spoon scoop out the fleshy seedy centre till the vegetable looks like an open boat. Next in salty water parboil it for about 5 minutes or so. Set aside on a tissue and allow it to lose any water droplets.

In a small blender jar, make a mustard paste with black mustard seeds, a green chilly, a dash of salt and a tad bit of water. For 4 gourds, take 2 tbsp mustard seeds. Next take half a dry coconut and make a white wet paste again in a blender. Also chop one large red onion finely.

In a warm iron wok, take one and a half tbsp mustard oil and allow it to warm. Gently slide in the onions and cook till pink and transparent. Time to add the mustard paste, salt to season, a dash of chilli powder and turmeric and cook it all for 2 to 3 minutes. Next add the coconut paste and stir well and in another 2 minutes add the scooped out flesh of the gourd. Cook everything well, stirring all the time for about 4-5 minutes in medium to low flame. Taste the filling. It should be sharp and delicious.

Now spoon in this filling when at room temperature into the depth of the open boats of the spiny gourd and fill them right upto the brims or the edges.

In a bowl, take 4 tbsp gramflour, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp nigella seeds, salt and chilli powder to season. Spoon everything around well and make a thick paste adding water. Remember the paste needs to be of a ‘pakora’ consistency.

In an open deep pan, warm any white oil. Now dunk the filled boats into your gramflour paste and fry like a ‘pakora’. The whole half gourd should be coated with the gramflour paste. Fry till golden on all sides. While frying keep the pan covered for a bit as the skin cooks a little more at then step.

Enjoy hot with plain white rice. Just squash the ‘pakora’ and the mustard coconut filling will ooze out and merge with the rice with the crisp skin adding to the palate senses. It is a village imagery I am creating for you which I assure you will make you feel loved, warm and fuzzy.

Enjoy the way I like my kakrols!

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Category: Recipes, Tried & Tasted

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