Poppy seed is an integral part of the platter in all Bengali households. Preparations with poppy seeds mainly include vegan dishes, but there are also some dishes where poppy seeds are used with fish or meat. The love for poppy seeds among Bengalis started hundreds of years ago. Alu posto is the most common form of poppy seeds use in Bengali cuisine, at times the potatoes are also replaced with ridge gourds, onions, aubergine, or even chicken.
The herbal concoction of the seeds is also beneficial in treating all kinds of nervous disorders. Apart from consuming poppy seeds in its raw form or toasted on bagels and sweet breads, a paste made from the seeds can be used as a poultice in obtaining relief from swellings and joint pains. Finely ground powder made from poppy seeds can also be consumed to treat insomnia and diarrhea. Apart from adding flavor to food, poppy fields also present an added advantage of providing health benefits to the human body. It also supplies essential enzymes and fatty acids as a form of nutrition. In ancient days, athletes would consume or blend of poppy seeds with honey entwined to ensure strength and good health. The oil derived from poppy seeds is used in various cosmetic preparations for the head and skin as balms and conditioners.
Potato (Alu): 4 medium sizes
Poppy seeds (Posto): 3 tablespoons
Nigella seeds (Kalo jeera): 1 teaspoon
Green chili (kancha lanka): 3
Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon
Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste
- Make a soft fine paste of the poppy seeds and keep aside
- Cut the potatoes into small square pieces
- Heat oil in a wok over low flame, add the nigella seeds
- Throw in the potatoes along with the turmeric powder, green chilies and salt
- Pour in about a cup of water and let the potatoes get half cooked
- Add the poppy seed paste and cook till the potatoes are well cooked
- Pour in water if necessary
Take out of flame and serve with rice or chapattis.
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