Wednesday, November 30, 2016

ALOO POSTO

ALOO POSTO

This popular Bengali dish was pointed out to me by my friend, Vidya Pai (who has lived for long in West Bengal) in a food group in which we are members.

I tried to find out more about this dish which gets its name from the two main ingredients namely potatoes ("aloo") and poppy seeds ("posto" in Bengali). Poppy seeds are called "khus khus" in Hindi/Marathi, and "gasagase" in Kannada. I was happy to know that poppy seeds  have many health benefits.

 I do realize that Aloo Posto gets a distinct flavour when cooked in mustard oil. However, not being accustomed to using this, I used the regular cooking oil. I feel you need to develop a taste for mustard oil over time.

According to Vidya, if you are using mustard oil, you would first heat it to a smoking point, then switch off the gas and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then you would heat the oil again. This process is called "burning the oil" and helps to reduce the pungency of the mustard oil.

This was my first time trying out Aloo Posto. The potatoes perhaps could have been coated more with the poppy seeds paste but nevertheless my husband and I enjoyed the dish very much.



Ingredients:
  • Aloo (Potatoes) 2
  • Posto ( Khus Khus or Poppy Seeds), 2 tbsp
  • Green Chillies, 3 
  • Kalonji (Nigella), 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Mustard Oil, 2-3 tbsp * I used the regular cooking oil

Method:

Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into bite-size cubes and place them in water so that they don't get discoloured
In another bowl, soak the posto/khus khus in a little water for about 30 minutes
In a small mixer jar, grind together the soaked posto/khus khus and the green chillies, adding 3-4 tbsp of water to get a thick and smooth paste. Keep aside
Heat the oil in a pan and when it gets hot add the nigella seeds and when they sizzle, add the potato cubes
Saute the potatoes on medium flame for 3-4 minutes till they soften slightly
Add salt to taste and turmeric powder and mix well
Add a cup of water and cook covered till the potatoes are done
Now, to this add the ground poppy seeds paste and mix well
Cover the pan and let it simmer till you get the desired semi-dry consistency