A classic Bengali “healthy” appetiser of mashed bitter gourd and potatoes drizzled with sinus clearing mustard oil

‘Uchhe Alu Bhaate’ literally means bitter gourd and potatoes in rice. ‘Bhaate’ is a type of frugal Bengali dishes where vegetables are boiled along with the day’s rice. Once cooked, the boiled vegetables are fished out, and then may be mashed, seasoned with salt and garnished with pungent mustard oil. A tiny helping of this is served just at the beginning of the meal with rice. Such foods open up the palette to other more extravagant dishes to come. Uchhe or bitter gourd is also eaten during the spring when winter turns to hot summer in Bengal, and various contagious diseases such as measles and pox become common. Bitters were believed to help protect the body against these diseases.


COOKING TIME 20 minutes
YIELDS 4 servings


Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
70 g Korola (bitter gourd)
100 g Potatoes
5 g Mustard oil
3 g Salt

Equipment

  • Boiling pot

Method

  1. Wash the korola and potatoes thoroughly, and then cut them roughly into 6-cm chunks.
  2. Add these to your pot of rice while it is boiling. Once the potatoes and korola are tender, fish them out.
  3. Peel the potatoes. You may remove large seeds from the korola, if any. Mash these together roughly with salt and mustard oil. Do not overmash as we do not want it to be absolutely smooth—some lumps are good.
  4. Divide into four equal portions and serve.

Served with

  • A small helping of Rice before the meal