>A favourite, handed down the generations


Aloo posto or potato with poppy seeds, is a favourite with any Bengali and I being one am no different in this sense. This is a dish that has been cooked in our household ever since I can remember and the recipe traded and handed down the generation. The unique thing about my family here is that, I have never seen ma make a note of the ingredients or the amount to be used. She says that years have got her to gauge the right amount and My nani (maternal grandmother) from whom she inherited the recipe apparently followed the same suit. I remember as a child on a hot summer afternoon, lunch after school would sometimes include this wonderful dish coupled with my favourite daal (lentil curry) of Urad daal or (bulir daal as known in Bengali) with plain white rice and followed by homemade yogurt, what a heavenly combination.. Now unlike my mother, my memory often betrays me and since I, under no circumstances want to lose this recipe, I ought to note it down. So here goes
Aloo Posto:
Potato 500gms diced into medium size squares
Poppy Seeds- 4tbs
Mustard oil-7-8 tbsp +3-4 tbs for the topping
onion seeds (Kalonji) 3/4th of a spoon
water 1/2 cup
turmeric 1/2 tsp
Salt as per taste
3 green chillies
4 dried red chillies

Take  half of the the Mustard oil in a heavy bottom pan preferably a kadai, an aluminium one  is useful, do not even try cooking this dish in a non-stick vessel if you want th true authentic taste. Now fry the potatoes slowly in medium heat, till they are well cooked and light brown in colour. Meanwhile take the Poppy seeds and soak it in water for about 30 odd mins and then put it in a mixer grinder to turn it into a paste. Ideally, it should be done by hand with a pestle and a stone slap or Sheel nora as it is called in Bengali, to get the true taste and correct consistency, but these days we have to make do with a blender as few of us a willing to break our backs and squat on the floor to grind them. Now take the remaining oil in the kadai, heat it add the dried red chillies to it, medium heat so as to get the right flavour and then remove them. The add the black onion seeds to the oil cooking them slowly over medium heat to extract the flavour. Now add the poppy seeds paste, turmeric, pinch of red chilli powder and mix them nicely over medium to high heat, reduce the excess water from the poppy seeds if you like your Aloo posto dry, at least I like it that way and then add the fried potatoes to it, gently mixing them over medium heat, take care not to break the potatoes, otherwise they do not taste that great. Add salt to taste and when you find the poppy seeds are sticking to the potatoes and there is very little juice left in the form of oil, your dish is almost ready. Now just before taking it off the heat, heat about 2-3 tbs of mustard oil and add the green chillies to it, as soon as they begin to crackle, pour it over the aloo posto and your dish is ready to serve.. Try it out a perfect accompaniment for lunch on a hot sunny afternoon and the only thing that can beat this dish is eating it and then follow it with an afternoon siesta… 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s