For the next month or so if you happen to be living near or in an Asian neighboured, or passing by an Asian grocery store, you might just chance upon a wonderful Asian vegetable known in Bengal as kakrol, or you may have heard it referred to as kantola. Then again you may have never heard or seen this Asian vegetable before as it’s pretty unique and is it’s only in season for a month or two.
It’s a type of Indian gourd that does not have a bitterness like it’s cousin the korola. It’s seriously delicious and actually reminds me pool, which I equally love. It’s in season NOW so seize this opportunity and seek it out. I love the bright vivid greenness of its skin. It’s so inviting it just wants to be eaten!
You need to half it lengthways and then half it again and then quarter it. Similar to the ones that I have in the photo above. You do not need to peel the skin, simply cut off either end of the gourd.
The brightness from the turmeric, Kashmiri chilli and the vegetable itself makes for some colourful cooking – just don’t wear a white shirt when cooking.
I tend to accompany mine with some dal such as red split lentil or cholar and serve it with some freshly prepared chapatis. It’s absolute heaven and the perfect vegetarian/vegan meal. If you do manage to find them and cook this please let me know as I love to hear feedback from readers.
Have a lovely weekend.
Kakrol and Potato Curry
2 tbsp groundnut/olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 potatoes, halved lengthways and then quartered
5 kakrol/kantola, halved lengthways and then quartered (see photographs above)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp of Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt
a few tbsp of water to help soften the kakrol
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp ghee
1. Heat the oil in the pan and when it is hot add the cumin seeds and move them around the pan for 20 seconds before adding the chopped potato pieces. Turn the heat down and let the potatoes begin to bronze slightly. This will take around 4/5 minutes.
2. Add the kakrol along with the turmeric, chilli powder, salt, cumin powder and coriander powder. Use a spoon to cover the kakrol and potato in the spices.
3. You may need to add a little water to begin with to help the kakrol to soften. Place a lid on the pan to help steam and soften it. Turn gently at intervals and add a little more water if necessary. Cook on a low heat for 25-30 minutes, by which time the kakrol and potato will both be softened.
4. Before serving add the ghee and garam masala, stir into the curry and serve with hot chapatis or other Indian flat bread.