As I shave the parwals and remove their innards in preparation of my potoler niramish dolma, I cannot help but think of the influence the Armenians have had on the sociology-economic development, culture and cuisine of Bengal.
I am not a historian and would not pretend to be one either. But you don’t need to be one to observe the indelible impressions the enterprising and enlightened Armenians left on the canvass of the city they traded in and loved.
The Armenian College.
The Armenian Church, the earliest Christian church in the metropolis.
The 6th January Christmas celebrations.
The Armenian Ghat, with its grand pillars and elegant designs.
And the dolma – vine leaves and cabbage stuffed with rice and meat.
The gastronomic Bengali took the Armenian dolma and lovingly made it his own. They took their very own humble potol, diligently scooped out its guts and stuffed it with fish. Or lamb mince. And over a period of time, lentils and even paneer.
I make the vegetarian variant of potoler dolma this morning, fill my potol with a delectable lentil-raisin stuffing and make a delicious sesame flavoured curry to accompany my dolma.
So the next time you desire something different with the humble potol, do try my potoler niramish dolma – I guarantee you shall not be disappointed !!