Dolmas have always been my favorite. Not only because they are extravagant and rich in taste. But the artwork of precisely scooping the wrap, preparing the stuffing, meticulously filling them, and then cooking the dolma to perfection gratifies my heart, gives me a sense of achievement. I have always enjoyed making them. Some more dolma recipes on my blog are Niramish jhinger dolma, Mukhi Kochur Dolma (Niramish)
When preparing uchher dolma, if you do not like it bitter, then the bitter gourd skin should be scraped and rejected. On the other hand, if you like your dolma bitter, leave the skin and you can also add the scooped out flesh of the bitter gourd to the stuffing. However, if you do not want to add the flesh as well as not throw them away, store it in your refrigerator/ freezer according to the time you want to store them and you can use them in any bitter gourd preparation.
How do I prepare my Bengali Garam Masala?
Earlier, to save me a bit of work, I used to often buy garam masala powder. But soon I realized, that in about a time of one-two months they become only powder and are no more garam masala powder. They lose all their aroma. I still survived with bad garam masala. But once I decided to prepare my own garam masala powder, and the difference between homemade and store-bought garam masala powder was evident. And ever since, I have never purchased garam masala powder. So, how do I prepare my Bengali garam masala powder? 2 inches of cinnamon stick, 7-8 green cardamom pods, 5-6 cloves dry roasted in a pan, and ground to a fine powder. Strain the powder to remove the biffer chunks and the garam masala powder is ready.
- 9 nos. medium sized uchhe/ bitter gourd
- 350 gms of shrimps/kucho chingri
- ¾ cup of finely chopped onions
- 1½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon of red chili powder
- 1½ tablespoon of ginger garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon of Bengali garam masala powder
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- Marinate the shrimps with ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder and salt and keep it aside for about 20 minutes. Lightly saute them and keep them aside. (See Notes)
- Take the uchhe/bitter gourd chop the heads and tails of the bitter gourd. With a sharp knife, gently make an incision longitudinally on the skin of the bitter gourd.
- With the back of the spoon, carefully scoop out the flesh of the bitter gourd taking care that you do not rip off the ends of the bitter gourd or the other side.
- Coat the inside and outside of the bitter gourd with lot of salt and leave it aside for 30 minutes. (This reduces the bitterness of the bitter gourd)
- After 30 minutes, wash the bitter gourd thoroughly in water to remove all the salt.
- In a pot add lot of water and bring it to boil. To the boiling water, add the bitter gourd and let it cook in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. (The time will depend on the size of the bitter gourds. If they are small it should not take more than 10 minutes and if slightly bigger should take around 15 minutes. Care should be taken not to overcook them.
- Strain the bitter gourds from water and let them cool.
- Meanwhile, we will prepare the filling. In a kadai add one tablespoon of oil and heat it. Once the oil is hot, add the finely chopped onions and fry them for about one minute.
- Now, add the ginger garlic paste and saute them for about 30 seconds
- Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, bengali garam masala powder and salt to the kadai.
- Fold all the spices together.
- Add about 2 tablespoons of water to the kadai.
- Cook the spices till you see oil leaving the sides of the kadai.
- Add the kucho chingri to the kadai and fold them along with the spices in the kadai.
- Add about 2-3 tablespoons of water to the kadai and continue cooking till the shrimps are thoroughly cooked and the mixture releases oil from the sides (the mixture should be dried completely). Let the mixture cool.
- Take a generous amount of the mixture and stuff it inside the bitter gourds with a spoon. Repeat the same for all the bitter gourds. Fasten the bitter gourds properly with a thread and keep them aside.
- In a kadai, take about a tablespoon of oil and heat it. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the stuffed bitter gourd in the kadai.
- On low medium flame, fry the stuffed bitter gourds in hot oil. Gently Flip them to fry all the sides uniformly. The dolmas are ready now.
- Kucho chingri/ shrimp tastes best in this doma. But if kucho chingri is not available, you can use the bigger ones. Chop them into smaller pieces before putting them in kadai.
- If you want your dolma to be still less bitter, carefully scrape the skin of the bitter gourd and discard it.
- If you do not want to discard the flesh of the bitter gourd, you can use it in your dolma. You will just have to use less of the shrimps. But your dolma might be slightly more bitter than without the flesh.
- You can also store the flesh of the bitter gourd in your freezer and use it later.
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