Welcome to another edition of ‘I love potatoes’ 🙂
Given how integral potatoes are to Bengali cuisine, it’s only natural that I share another of my favourite Bengali recipes, like I did with the aloo bhaja one earlier.
Aloo Posto is an iconic bengali dish. Pan fried potatoes mixed with a Poppy seed paste to give it that extra oomph. A little nutty, a little spicy and just so flavourful!
This dish wasn’t made at home while we were growing up, but we used to eat it when we went to meet relatives or to Bengali restaurants.
I recently attended a talk by a culinary anthropologist who said that Posto became a part of Bengali food due to necessity. There were large fields of poppy plants grown in Bengal, as mandated by the British, due to the opium trade. While all the opium was shipped out, these poppy seeds remained. It wasn’t a time where a lot of food was available, so out of necessity, people discovered that food could be bulked up, flavoured with these seeds. Interesting right? Not sure how legit this is, but seems like a fair possibility.
The poppy seeds, once soaked for a while in warm water, are ground to a paste. Most recipes call for a plain paste, but I like to tweak it by adding some green chillies and garlic. The garlic is totally optional and not part of any traditional Posto recipe, but I like the flavour it adds.
Once the potatoes are partly cooked, add the paste to it and cook till done. It’s really that simple!
Aloo Posto is best served with rice and masoor dal.
Try this out and you will understand my love for bengali food 🙂
7 tbsp posto (poppy seeds)
1 green chilli
1 clove garlic – optional
4 potatoes – peeled and cubed
1 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
1 tbsp mustard oil
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder
2 cups water
- Soak the poppy seeds (posto) in 3/4 cup warm water for 30 mins.
- Drain and add the seeds to a grinder. Add the chilli, garlic and 2 tbsp water to make into a coarse paste.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. Once they splutter add the cubed potatoes.
- Add the turmeric powder, mix well and cook on medium heat till slightly crispy and golden brown. Stir occasionally to ensure potatoes don’t stick to the pan.
- Add the posto paste to the potatoes. Mix well so that the paste coats each piece.
- Add 3/4 cup water and salt to taste. Cover and cook till done, approx 20 minutes. If it is looking too wet by then, remove the lid and increase the heat to help the water evaporate.
- Serve with rice and dal 🙂