Hi! When I read RV has announced the theme of Think Spice as Poppy Seeds, I knew I have a perfect entry for the same. I had made this preparation for S’s birthday in a complete jiffy but it came out so well that S mentioned to me that it’s better than what we ate in “Oh Calcutta”. For people who do not know about Oh Calcutta, let me tell you that it is one of the most renowned Bengali Restaurants.
Before I tell you the recipe let me tell you some thing more about Aloo- Posto. It is pronounced as Aloo-Poshto, is a very popular dish from West Bengal and is popularly served in marriages along with Poori/Luchhi or steamed rice.This is a dry recipe in which the potatoes are cooked in Poppy paste and has very mild flavors. I have read various versions of this preparation where people add bayleaf, panch phoron etc, but I have always preferred only Nigella seeds over them.
I had this for the first time at a Bengali friend’s place. That time I forgot about the preparation completely and then tasted it again in “oh calcutta” which had opened in my neighbourhood in Andheri during my stay in Mumbai about 4yrs back. S who has been a big fan of Bengali food took me out for dinner there and that’s when I had aloo-posto and luchhi. To tell you truly I was not at all impressed with this preparation there and kept wondering what’s so special about it. But as you know the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I attempted making this at home for him and over a period of time have mastered the preparation and has become one of ‘OUR FAVORITES’.
5-6 medium sized potatoes
4-5 tbsp poppy seeds
6-7 green chilies
1/2 tsp nigella seeds/ kalonji
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp turmeric pwd
mustard oil + sunflower oil for cooking
salt to taste
Peel and wash the potatoes and cube them.
Soak poppy seeds in 1/2 glass of water for an hour. Drain the water and grind the poppy in a coffee blender ( I used my stone pestle and mortar).
Add 1/2 tsp mustard and grind it with the poppy.
Chop the green chilies and add it to the poppy paste and grind it coarsely along with it.
Heat the mix of oils and add in Nigella seeds followed by the turmeric. Put in the cubed potatoes and mix properly. Cover and cook till half done.
Put in the poppy paste, salt to taste and a glass of water. Mix properly. Cover and cook till done. The water prevents the poppy sticking to the base plus it helps the poppy to coat the potatoes properly and does not make the curry too dry.
Serve hot with steamed rice/ Pooris.