Bowl of Katola Ki Subzi
(click to enlarge)

Potatoes with Kantola Gourd
  -   Aloo Kantola Ki Subzi
3 w/rice  
1 hr  

This is a simple recipe, but with sophisticated flavor and satisfying substance. It can serve as a side for 4 to 5, or a main dish for 2 to 3. A subzi [sabzi, sabji] is a simple, relatively dry vegetable stir fry. We have adapted this recipe for more available vegetables: Long Beans and Opo Gourd (my favorite).

Kantola (1)
Potatoes (2)
-- Tempering
Cumin Seeds
Asafoetida (3)
-- Spicing
Fennel Seed
Coriander Seed
Amchur Powder (4)
Chili Powder (5)
Mustard Oil (6)
PREP   -   (14 min)
  1. Wash KANTOLA and trim ends. Cut lengthwise to 6, 4 or 2 pieces depending on size.
  2. Peel POTATOES and cut into pieces a little larger than the Kantola. Mix with Kantola and keep in cold water to cover until needed.
  3. Mix Asafoetida with Cumin Seeds (see Note-3).
  4. Grind together Fennel and Coriander. Mix all Spicing items.
RUN   -   (40 min)
  1. Drain Potato mix.
  2. IF using Mustard Oil, heat it in a coverable kadhai, wok or spacious sauté pan until you see the first wisps of smoke. Immediately take it off the heat and allow to cool to a frying temperature (see Note-6). IF using any other oil, just heat it to frying temperature.
  3. Stir in Tempering mix until Cumin is aromatic, then immediately stir in Potato mix and Turmeric. Fry stirring just until well distributed.
  4. Cover and sweat the vegetables over low heat until potatoes are cooked through (about 30 minutes). Tumble the vegetables occasionally. If it seems too dry, you can add a Tablespoon of water.
  5. Stir in Spicing mix until well distributed, then cover and sweat another minute.
  6. Serve hot with Basmati Rice or Roti.
  1. Kantola Gourd:   This gourd is closely related to the Karala (bitter gourd) but has only a faint hint of the bitterness. For details see our Kantola Gourd page.
  2. Potatoes:   White Rose and Red Potatoes work well for this method of cooking. Yukon Gold type can be used here, though the flavor is different and they don't have those in India. For details, see our Potatoes page.
  3. Asafoetida - Hing:   This is the resin of a giant fennel plant, used in India by sects forbidden to eat onions or garlic.   Caution: there are two forms: Pure Hing (asafoetida beads or ground) and the more common "Hing Powder". The "powder" is heavily cut with rice flour. The amount given here is for pure asafoetida. Use about 3 times as much if what you have is the "powder" form, and stir into tempering at the last moment. For details see our Asafoetida page.
  4. Amchur:   Used as a souring agent, this is a powder made from dried unripe mangos. It is available in markets serving an Indian community. If you don't have it, use 3 T Lemon Juice.
  5. Chili Powder:   1/2 teaspoon Khandela or Reshampati will make this dish moderately hot by Southern California standards. If in doubt, use Kashmiri powder. For details see our Indian Chilis page.
  6. Mustard Oil:   This is the traditional cooking oil of Bengal and north central India. It is handled differently from other oils. Mustard oil is heated in the pan with no other ingredients until it reaches a temperature where the first wisps of smoke appear (about 480°F/250°C). Immediately take it off the heat and allow to cool to a more reasonable frying temperature (around 360°F/180°C) before adding other ingredients. This procedure removes the acrid taste of the raw oil and renders it quite pleasant. Mustard oil is available in markets serving an Indian community. It will always be labeled "For Massage Use Only" due to lack of FDA approval, based on reasons no longer considered valid. For details see our Mustard Oil page.
  7. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste

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