Potol or pointed gourd is an unusual vegetable popular in Bangladeshi cooking. When cooked it tastes somewhere between cucumber, spinach and broccoli - both fresh and earthy at the same time. The best thing is that they are perennial, though more common during summer and autumn time. You can easily pick up a portion from Taj Stores on Brick Lane if you live in East London, or try your local Asian supermarket. This is a classic way of eating them: fresh tasting and fairly dry, so it works great with steamed basmati rice and a simple salad.
Rinse the potol and prepare them by top and tailing, then slice lengthways and set aside. Rinse the prawns.
Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat, then add the garlic and sauté until golden. Add the onion and salt and cook four or five minutes until just starting to colour. Stir in the chilli powder, turmeric, ground coriander and cumin and cook for a minute, then tip in the prawns and mix, ensuring they are coated evenly in the masala. Cover and cook for three to four minutes, until they’re about half cooked. Give the prawns a stir, then throw in the potol and chillies and mix. Cover and cook on a low heat for ten minutes, stirring halfway. The potol should be tender and still holding their shape. Add the chopped coriander, give everything a final stir through and turn off the flame.
Serve hot with a squeeze of lime and basmati rice.
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