I wanted to make Aloo posto for such a long time. Every Time I thought about trying this, either I had run out of poppy seeds or potatoes. Or worse, mustard oil. One time I had all the things in the cupboard and guess what! I ran out of green chilies. I couldn’t believe my luck. The most basic thing in Indian cooking and I spent a day without it in my fridge. By the time I bought it 2 days later, I had no mood to try a new recipe and got settled at the simple Batata chi bhaji instead.
My blogger friend Suchi is the main reason why I wanted to make it so badly. She has very kindly sent the dish for me and S twice and we loved it. This dish I made is slightly different than her version though since hers had zucchini added to it. Which was great, but I wanted to try the basic version first and then move on to the variations.
BTW, Bengali cuisine is my new found love. After making the Bengali Ghugni chaat few days ago, I am now looking all over the internet and bookmarking all vegetarian recipes. I cant believe how many ways you can make potatoes in just one cuisine. I have all of those lined up for my experiments now. Yohoo!
Poppy seeds have a unique texture and taste of their own. They are known to be used extensively in baking like this Lemon poppy seeds yogurt cake. But in India and adjoining countries, it is used is preparing gravies and desserts. It works wonderfully in both the courses though, with its immense health benefits and amazing taste.
So coming back to the recipe- this simple dish, armed with only poppy seeds, panch phoron, ginger, cumin, turmeric and green chillies can compete with any gravy dish on the table. So lets see how to make this super easy and delectable Bengali Aloo posto.
Cuisine: Bengali, East Indian
Course: Side dish
Cooking level: Easy
Nutritional info: Rich in minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium etc. Vegan & gluten free side dish
Accompaniments: Plain boiled rice, paratha or roti (flatbread)
Recipe Source: Saffron steaks
What you need?
- 4-5 large potatoes
- 4-5 heaped tbsp of poppy seeds (posto bata)
- 2-3 green chillies
- 1-2 dried red chilies
- 2 tbsp Mustard oil
- 1 tsp Nigella seeds (kalonji/kalo jeera)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- A pinch of sugar
- 2 tsp Ghee (optional)
How to make?
Soak the poppy seeds in 2 tbsp water for at least 4-5 hours or overnight if you have time. The longer the poppy seeds are soaked, easier it would be to grind them in a paste.
Wash and peel the potatoes. Dice them into small cubes and soak them in warm water till required for cooking. About 5-7 minutes.
When making the Poppy seeds paste (after soaking), add green chilies and grind using very little water. Since its a small quantity, it would take a bit of time to get a smooth paste done.
Heat the mustard oil in a wok or pan. Temper with Nigella seeds and mustard seeds, allow to splutter. Add red chilies and fry for 3-4 seconds.
Add potatoes along with salt, cumin powder and turmeric powder. Put the lid on and let the potatoes cook for 3-4 minutes. Open, add about ½ cup of water, stir and cook for a further of 8-10 minutes, just till the potatoes are almost (but not fully) done.
Now, add the poppy seeds paste (you may use a tbsp of water to swirl around in the blender jar), coat the potatoes with it and let it cook for a further of 5-7 minutes.
Finally, check if the potatoes are cooked properly (but not mashed up), add sugar and let it cook uncovered for a few minutes till the liquid is evaporated. And it has become a semi-dry dish. Turn off the gas.
Serve Aloo posto with a dollop of ghee on top. Or some raw mustard oil if you like.
The size of the potatoes cubes I diced was slightly bigger and it took more time to get them cooked. Also the taste of the posto i.e. poppy seeds paste was not very prominent due to the big size. So i suggest you chop the potatoes into about 1-2 cm sized cubes and not any bigger.
Use a high power blender to make the paste since it would require a few pulses to get it smooth. Only use more water if required or you would end up having a runny coarse paste
Adding sugar is optional, I don’t usually add it when making this dish for myself.
More potatoes sabji recipes:
Batata chi Bhaji – Maharashtrian potato stir fry with coconut
Mathura ke dubki wale aloo– A unique potato sabzi from the state of U.P.
Punjabi Gobhi aloo– Delicious cauliflower & potato stir fry
Aloo dhaniya– potatoes with coriander leaves
Aloo palak– potatoes with spinach