Bhat kerala is known by different names in different parts of India. It is also called Spine gourd, Momordica dioica, kantola, kantoli, Ghi korola. This recipe is a famous Bengali / Assamese preparation of stuffed and deep fried spine gourd Fritters. It is usually a side dish but also can be taken as a snack with tea or coffee.

Preparation Time : 45 minutes
Serves : 4-6 persons

Ingredients :

Spine gourd / Bhat Kerala : 10
Salt as per taste
Besan / Chickpea flour : 1 cup
Red chilli powder : 1/2 teaspoon
Hing / asafoetida powder : 1/4 teaspoon
Jeera / Cumin powder : 1 teaspoon
Garam Masala : 1 teaspoon
Refined oil for deep frying
Poppy seeds / khus khus / aphu guti : 3 tablespoons
Mustard seeds : 1 tablespoon
Onion : 1 chopped
Ginger garlic paste : 2 teaspoon
Water as required

Method :
Remove outer spiny rind of the spine gourd. Boil it whole with small cut insertions adding a little salt in a
pressure cooker for 1 whistle. Now take out the gourd and cut it into two halves. Scoop the inside of the gourd with the seeds carefully with a spoon and keep in a bowl without breaking the outer skin crust.

In another bowl, add the Besan, 1/2 teaspoon red Chilli powder and salt and make a semi thin batter using enough water. Keep aside.

Soak the poppy seeds for 20 minutes in warm water. Now in a grinder add the scooped out spine gourd seeds and the poppy seeds and grind coarsely. Also separately soak the mustard seeds for 20 minutes in warm water and make a paste. Now, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pin, add the asafoetida and the ginger garlic paste. Sauté and add the chopped onions. As soon as the onion turns slightly brown add the poppy seeds and spine gourd seeds mixture. Add salt, red Chilli powder, Jeera powder and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes and add the mustard paste. Now add the Garam Masala and cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes. The stuffing is ready. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. Now take one half of the spine gourd and stuff the scooped out seeds side with the poppy seeds mixture. Now coat in the Besan batter and slowly fry in hot oil on medium flame until golden brown. Similarly make the other Fritters and serve hot with rice and Curry or evening tea.