aloo posto

ALOO POSTO: Potatoes in Nutty Poppy Seed Gravy

Aloo posto is a classic Bengali dish. It’s a superb and ambrosial veg palate often taken with steamed white rice. Sparing in its use of spices, this preparation relies on the flavours of potatoes, green chillies and nigella seeds for its taste. What stands out, however, is the nutty piquancy of the roasted poppy paste, which also provides body and dense texture to the gravy. This apparently bland looking dish with just potato and posto also known as khuskhusis capable of rousing much passion among Bengalis.

Although aloo posto is cooked without onion or garlic, in my family we sometimes add a little fried onion to the aloo posto for a pleasant variation.

YIELDS

5 servings

COOKING TIME

20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 60 g mustard oil
  • ¼ tsp kaalojeere (nigella seeds)
  • 2 pcs dried red chillies
  • 25 g onions
  • 500 g potatoes
  • 50 g posto (poppy seeds)
  • 4 pcs green chillies
  • 12 g salt
  • ‍8 g sugar

METHOD

  • Soak poppy seeds in water for two hours. Strain and add to a grinder jar, along with 2 green chillies and 75 g water. Grind to a coarse paste. Set aside.
  • Peel and cut the potatoes in 1-cm cubes. If using onions, slice them too.
  • Heat mustard oil in a pan. Once smoking lightly and pale yellow, add the onions. Fry until lightly coloured (about 1 minute). Drain from the oil and set aside.
  • Temper the oil with dried red chillies and kaalojeere also known as nigella seeds. Add the potatoes. Fry for about 5 minutes. The potatoes should not brown, so keep stirring them regularly.
  • Add the poppy-seed paste, along with salt and sugar. Cook on low heat until the raw smell of poppy paste goes away. This should take about 4 minutes.
  • Continue cooking on low heat, with lid on until the potatoes are soft. Once in a while, when the pan dries out, you may have to add a splash of hot water to ensure the potatoes don’t stick to the pan.
  • Finish with 2 slit green chillies and 1 tsp of mustard oil.
  • If you fried the onions earlier, add those now too, and give a final stir, before serving with hot rice and dal, or with roti.

-Travelrasoi

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