This is a traditional Bengali recipe that I have tweaked by adding the white poppy seed sauce and replacing bottle gourd with chayote squash.
2 bottle gourd or 5 Chayote Squash, peeled & cut in strips
1 russet potato, peeled and cut in strips
1 lb. medium size shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. nigella seeds (a.k.a. kalo jeera/kalonji)
2 tsp. ginger paste
3 tsp. white poppy seeds (a.k.a. posto/khus khus)
1/4 tsp. sugar
Salt to taste
3-5 green chilies
1 tsp. ghee
- Peel gourd/squash & potato. To cut gourd in strips, cut in half lengthwise, slice crosswise into crescents, stack crescents and cut into strips. To cut squash, remove tops, cut in half and soak in water. Place one half cut side down on chopping block and slice crosswise into crescents, then cut into strips. Cut potato in the same way. Set all aside.
- Soak poppy seeds in boiling water and set aside to cool.
- In a blender, combine poppy seeds along with water, 1 green chili and some salt. Liquefy in blender until paste becomes smooth and turns white.
- Toss shrimp with salt and saute lightly in oil until pink. Set aside.
- Sputter nigella seeds in hot oil, add onions and fry until translucent.
- Add gourd/squash, potatoes, salt to taste and ginger paste. Stir well.
- Cover and simmer on medium heat until done.
- Add shrimp, sugar and blended poppy seed paste. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Garnish with green chilies, cilantro and ghee. Remove from heat.