Aloo Poshto

I had never tasted this dish before until one of my friends prepared it for me. My friend had come over to spend a day with me. I must say we had a lot to catch up on! For lunch I had already prepared some chicken curry and rice, knowing she is a hard core Bong who loves non-vegetarian. As we got talking she told me about the preparations she was making for their festival ‘Durga Puja’ and that she had to make many varieties of dishes for this festive period. Just the mention of those yummy dishes had me lip smacking, so I asked her about the ‘aloo poshto’, as the name sounded quite interesting.

She went on to explain that this is a favourite of the Bengalis. The ‘aloo poshto’ is an easy to make dish and delicious too. The main ingredients in this dish are potato and poppy seeds. The potatoes are tossed well in a paste made of poppy seeds (in Bengali- Poshtodana). On reading more about the use of poppy seeds in Bengali dishes, I learnt that it forms an integral part of the platter in all Bengali households.

Preparations with poppy seeds mainly include vegan dishes. Aloo poshto is a common form of poppy seeds used in a vegetarian dish. At times in the vegetarian diet, the potatoes are also replaced with ridge gourds, onions, aubergine or paneer (cottage cheese). Among the non-vegetarian dishes the preparation usually includes fish or chicken.

The love for poppy seeds among Bengalis started hundreds of years ago and so, the tradition continues. Though the aloo poshto is a common dish, the ingredients may vary in each home. Some do not prefer sugar and especially when made during the fasting period the garlic paste and onions are avoided.

Aloo poshto a Bengali special from the exquisite ‘Bengali cuisine’ ….

Ingredients:

  • 2 green chillies (finely chopped)
  • 5 – 6 medium potatoes(boiled)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp pure ghee
  • 2 tblsp mustard oil
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 tblsp poppy seeds (khuskhus)
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp- garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp onion seeds (kalonji) (use onions, finely chopped, if this ingredient is not available)
  • Water ¾ cup

 

Method

  • Boil the potato and dice them into medium pieces.
  • Make the poshto bata – poppy seed paste – in a mixer/blender.
  • Add 3 tbsp oil in a kadai/deep pan and heat it. Add kalonji (onion seeds) or onion, garlic paste and potato and mix well.
  • Add salt, sugar, green chillies, turmeric powder and water (as per above proportion) and stir well.
  • Cover with lid and let it sit on the flame for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the poshto bata – poppy seed paste.
  • Gently stir and see that the water dries up completely in the heat and you are left with the poshto paste smeared on the potato cubes.
  • Add 1 table spoon of mustard oil and stir well.
  • Aloo poshto is best served with boiled white rice. You can also relish it with rotis.
  • Garnish with green chillies while you serve (optional). Enjoy your meal.

Preparation Time: 25-30 minutes

Serves: 4

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