Galmbyaso Polov or dried shrimp polov is a variant of the traditional Mangalorean ash gourd based curry which is usually meat based. This curry features dried shrimp as the main protein instead of mutton or beef.
What is a polov?
Polov is a coconut based curry that is lighter in colour and milder in flavour than its spicier and brighter coloured counterparts. While coconut is an integral part of Mangalorean curries, there are several recipes that do not call for it. However, the polov cannot be made without it. In fact it is rich with two types of coconut added to it – fresh and roasted. While the former provides the gravy base and the creamy flavour and texture to the curry, the latter when slow roasted to a golden colour provides the nutty aroma and flavour that is inherent to this type of a curry.
When is the polov generally cooked?
The polov is a classic Mangalorean Catholic style curry that is reminiscent of the traditional Roce ceremony when this curry is prepared and served with a large bun or bread. In the olden days this curry used to be prepared by home cooks for the celebration and today, the caterers have taken over this job. I am told that a few decades ago, shrimp was added to the curry as meat was not affordable by all. Today, the polov is synonymous with a meat curry
Type of shrimp to be used
Shrimp or prawn as we commonly call it in Mangalore is the main ingredient for this dish apart from ash gourd. The small variety of dried shrimp is aromatic and available only during the summer season in Mangalore (between mid Feb to end of May or mid June). It is caught using hand nets in rivers. This variety is used in the preparation of the shrimp chutney. The bigger variety which you can see in the pictures below is sea shrimp and not as tasty so I highly recommend you to use the smaller variety for best results. I am sure that the same preparation can be made with fresh prawns as well but I haven’t tried it as yet.
Tried these other Polov variants?
- Traditional Wedding Style Mutton Polov
- Mutton Polov Using Readymade Vegetable Masala Powder (Easier Method)
Galmbyaso Polov | Dried Shrimp Curry
- 1 kg ash gourd
- 1 cup (35 grams) small dried river shrimp (galmbo)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup coconut milk optional
- salt to taste
For the masala
- 1 cup grated coconut
- 1 medium onion roughly sliced
- 6 flakes garlic, with skin
- 2 tablespoons Mangalorean vegetable masala powder
- 1 marble size ball tamarind
- 1/2 small onion finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Wash the dried shrimp in 2 changes of water. To do this place the shrimp in a bowl and add water to it. Gently squeeze out the water and transfer into another bowl. You will notice that the impurities such as dust & sand will remain at the bottom of the bowl. Repeat this process one more time. Then keep aside.
- Wash, peel and cut the ash gourd into quarters. Remove the pith (seed area) and then cut into small cubes. Transfer the cubes to a pan and add enough water to cover it (approximately 1-1/4 cups). Add just enough salt to flavour the pieces. When the pieces turn translucent they are cooked. Do not overcook as we will boil them again along with the gravy. Turn off the heat and keep aside
- While the ashgourd is being cooked, heat a small skillet and dry roast the washed & drained shrimp till you get a nice aroma. Remove from heat & keep aside.
- In the same skillet, dry roast the coconut on a low heat till you get a nice aroma. Then add the onions & the garlic and roast some more till the raw smell of the onions vanishes. Add the vegetable masala powder and give everything one mix. Remove from heat and let this mixture cool completely. Grind the mixture along with the tamarind and approx 1/4 cup (or more) of water to a fine paste.
- Add the ground mixture to the cooked ash gourd and bring the curry to a gentle boil. Then add the roasted shrimp and continue to boil for half a minute. Do not add any salt at the moment as the shrimp will lend some saltiness to the curry. It is advisable to prepare this curry at least an hour before you serve so that you can check the taste and add salt only if required. Turn off the heat
- To temper, heat coconut oil in a small tempering pan and add the sliced onions. Fry until they turn golden, then pour this mixture into the gravy. Cover the pan immediately to trap the aroma
- Serve piping hot with boiled rice
The nutritional values are only indicative.