Sunday, October 23, 2011

Parval(Potala) Cultivation

Also known as  parwal, patol, parval, patola.
Specifications Parval or Patola - an exotic cucurbit vegetable, health food.

The parval, or pointed gourd is a cucurbita vegetable, one of the finest gourds. It is an exotic vegetable valuable for its therapeutic properties. Ranked best among all fresh vegetables in Ayurveda. It is known to have cholesterol reducing property, as well as helps in diabetes.

Colloquially, in India, it is often called green potato. It is widely cultivated in the eastern part of India, particularly in Orissa, Bengal, Assam, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. It is a vine plant, similar to cucumber and squash, though unlike those it is perennial. It is a dioecious (male and female plants) vine (creeper) plant with heart-shaped leaves (cordate) and is grown on a trellis. The fruits are green with white or no stripes. Size can vary from small and round to thick and long - 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm). It thrives well under a hot to moderately warm and humid climate.

These are climbers having vigorous growth and can be trained on 4-6 ft high trellis. Plants like warm weather and flower-fruit during the warm-cool weather.It has male and female flowers on separate plants. Tissue cultured plants yield 50% more and have longer harvesting period.

The fruit is 2 to 3 inches long, and a diameter of one inch at the thickest part. Tissue culture derived fruits are more pulpy , less fibrous and fewer seed, making it ideal for stuffing.

There are both  female and  male plants .Parval plants are to be plated in a required ratio for best yield. Plants are available in certain  nurseries or roots taken from the mother plants can be used for plantation.Plants can be grown  under shade before planting.

The plants are available  in  certain nurseries in corrugated boxes and are ideal for home gardens or small farms.Fruits can be collected by hand picking and can be fresh frozen.

Vrieties of parval

There are two types of parval available in the indian markets . One is light green with fade stripes and
another  is deep green with white stripes .Light green parval is the favourite one which atracts more price
always than the green ones . In light green variety seeds cavity has some blank space and the vegetable venders call it deshi parval(original parval) .But green parval is strong and there is no blank space in the
seeds cavity .The green variety is the hybrid one .

Chopped pointed gourd 

To prepare pointed gourd for cooking, wash thoroughly, then cut in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a sharp spoon or corer and discard.Put the washed and peeled gourd on a chopping board and chop them in small 1-2 inch sized pieces with a sharp knife.The gourd can be chopped into big chunks or small pieces as per the recipe.

Pointed gourd cubes- Remove the outer rind and take out the fleshy interiors. Deseed the gourd and place on the chopping board. Cut the gourd into small cubes with a sharp chopping knife and relish them in curries.

Deseeded Pointed gourd- Peel the gourd and cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a sharp spoon or corer and discard to get deseeded gourd.

Pointed gourd Juliennes- With a sharp knife the gourd is sliced on four sides to create a thick rectangular stick, and then cut lengthwise into approximately 3 mm (1/8 inch) slices. Stacking these slices and again cutting lengthwise into strips creates thin uniform square sticks called juliennes. It is applied to deep frying or in stir fry techniques.

Shredded pointed gourd- the gourd can be shredded coarsely in a shredded or manually, using a sharp knife. Cut the gourd in thin slices and then break up the pieces in shreds using fingers.

Grated gourd- this requires grating the pointed gourd (after peeling) in a hand held grater.

Pointed gourd peels- Peel the gourd with the peeler and the peels can be later used in soups or therapeutic stews.

Sliced pointed gourd
Cut the gourd longitudinally to get thin or thick strips or slices as per the recipe.

How to select

Young immature pointed gourds are the best for cooking: the skin is bright green in color, the flesh inside is white, and the seeds are small and tender. Do not use mature pointed gourds as they tend to be less flavourful. The fully ripe fruit turns orange and mushy, is too sweet to eat.

Culinary Uses

· It is used as ingredients of soup, stew, curry, sweet, or eaten fried and as dorma with roe or meat stufings.
· Parwal can be is cooked in variety of ways such as a boiled for soups and stews, curried or fried.
· Parwal soup is traditionally prepared for sick people in Nepal
· In the cuisines of South Asia and the West Indies, it is often prepared with potatoes and served with yogurt on the side or used in subzis.
· In Indonesia, pointed gourd is prepared in various dishes, such as stir fry, cooked in coconut milk, or steamed.

How to store

To store pointed gourd, wash and dry them gently and place them in bags. They should last a week, when stored in refrigerator at 50° F.

Health benefits

· Pointed gourd contains vitamin A, B1, B2, and C. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper and potassium.

· From the ayurvedic perspective, pointed gourd is excellent for balancing Kapha. It helps purify blood tissue, enhances digestion, and stimulates the liver.

Parval  is a popular vegetable in India .It is a all season vegetable but abundantly available in winter.

Benefits :

Good for liver
Helps in curing blood diseases
Lowers cholesterol levels
Good for weight management
High fiber content


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