A friend asked me, “will you cook aloo posto…your typical Bong way…invite me for lunch…and”. She cut off the conversation feeling shy to have said to be invited for lunch.
And I made up inviting her for lunch the very next day with my aloo posto along with bhat, dal, macher jhol, tomato chaatny (chutney) and her favourite aloo posto.
Posto…do you know this is the Bengali name of poppy seeds. Poppy and opium are both close relatives. That’s not what to talk about now. Now I want to concentrate on cooking aloo posto.
Ask a Bong about posto and you can get the list of the different dishes cooked with it. The list is long from jhinga (ridge gourd) posto, murgi (chicken) posto, chingri (prawn) posto, postor bada, and even raw posto batta (ground) with green chilies and musard oil that tastes good with bhat and dal. The most popular dish is aloo posto. Whenever there’s a guest for lunch, there can or shall I say should be aloo posto dish served for lunch.
It is the white poppy seeds that is ground into a paste and used for cooking. The posto paste helps to thicken the gravy…used for…mostly for vegetarian dishes.
Back to aloo posto. All we need is:
Potatoes 4-6 cubed
Posto (poppy seeds) 2 tbsp made into a paste
Green chilies 3-4 (slit in the middle)
Bay leaves 2-3
Haldi powder ½ tsp
Red chili powder ½ tsp
Jeera (cumin) powder ½ tsp
Sugar to taste
Salt to taste
Cooking oil (Bengali’s prefer mustard oil)
Cooking (time about 10-12 minutes):
Heat oil in a thick bottom kadhai. Once the oil is hot add the bay leaves and throw in the green chilies. Now put in the cubed potatoes and stir for a minute and two. Now add the haldi, jeera and red chili powder and stir. Add salt and sugar and stir fry for another couple of minutes. Add water, cover it up and let the potatoes cook. Before the water dries up completely and the potatoes are cooked completely add the posto paste and cook. Let the water dry up completely. Now it’s ready to be served.
The lunch was good and spent a good time enjoying the Aloo Posto which was the Dish of the Lunch.