Every day when you see the sun setting over the Hudson there seems to be a part of your heart which sails away to those sunsets over Princep Ghat. While still I’m starting to groove to the American way of life, every cell within me drags me to those dusty roads of Kolkata.
While the chicken teriyaki tastes good, and the brownies softer than ever, I still miss the alu posto and the soft warm rasogollas. Talking about posto, the only thing over which the Ghotis and Bangals never fight or do they?
The ways in which poppy is used in Bengali recipes is just uncountable. Bongs can kill for their soul alu posto. The soft bite sized potatoes cooked in gravy of poppy paste – will surely tickle all your taste buds. Posto goes with alost all vegetables, another very popular posto preparation is the posto begun. Chicken is also cooked in thick gravy of poppy and cashew nut.
When it comes to poppy the way you can cook it is innumerable. But, posto also is a killer when its all by itself. The posto vada or the posto bati is a common first course for almost all Bengali household. An easier version of the posto vada is the posto bhaja. It gets prepared in minutes and you can enjoy it with just war white rice.
Indian, Side, Authentic bengali recipe, Posto bhaja, Poppy paste fry
1/2 cup poppy seeds
3-4 green chilies, chopped coarsely
2 cloves of garlic chopped coarsely
1/4 size small onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon mustard oil
Salt to taste
Dry grind the poppy seeds to fine powder in a coffee grinder. Soak with salt and turmeric in 3 tablespoons warm water
Heat oil in a skillet. Saute the onion and garlic. Add the poppy paste and green chili.
Fry till the paste is little dried and the color changes to a darker shade
Which came first – the egg or the chicken? This question will probably never be answered. The other question is do you want egg or chicken for your next meal? To choose between chicken and eggs is equally hard.
K always says there is no way anybody can screw a chicken dish. Chicken with its inherent taste, tastes just good anyway you prepare it – be it the typical chicken-do-pyaja or just stuffed in between two bread loafs for a chicken sandwich.
On the other hands, eggs don’t require much time to prepare and doesn’t have much of the fuss as of preparing chicken. Boiling is perhaps the first things anybody learns after entering the kitchen.
I’m absolute fan of eggs. I love eggs in my breakfast, I love them as a side dish wih my rice/chapatti and I love eggs in my desserts. I just cannot live without eggs. Remember that “Sunday ho ya Monday, roj khao ande” ad. It was my favourite commercial.
Eggs are good enough for me, but when it combines with posto it just becomes a deadly combo to resist. This recipe, I learnt from my maternal aunt. She uses more mustard than poppy. But, with my love for poppy I try to prepare it the other way round. The soothing taste of poppy mixed with the tangy taste of mustard makes this egg curry very indistinct from the regular curries.
Peel the shells of f the eggs. Mix with half the chilli and turmeric powder and a pinch of salt
Peel the potato and cut it into thin slices like in alu bhaja
Dry grind the poppy and mustard if using a coffee grinder, and then soak in about 2 tablespoon of lukewarm water. If you are using a food processor then grind with small amount of water along with the green chillies
Heat the oil in wok. Lightly fry the eggs, take out of the oil and keep aside.
Add the potatoes to the same oil, season with the spices and salt. Fry till the potatoes look slightly transparent. Add about 1/2 cup water and let the potatoes get almost cooked.
Pour in the poppy and mustard paste and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Add the fried eggs
Take out of flame and serve with warm white rice or chapatti.
Hot Tips – If you are using black mustard, then pour a little vinegar, salt and turmeric powder and make it a paste to get rid of the bitter taste.
How to hard boil an egg?
Put the eggs in a deep bottom vessel like a sauce pan. Pour in water to fully cover the eggs. Boil it for 10-12 minutes. Drain out the water and put the eggs in ice cold water. Keep there for 3-4minutes take out and peel off the shells.
Spring is here and so are the thousand colors of nature. Every nook and corner of the street is filled with red, yellow, orange blossoms. Though with the heat rising in Kolkata, there’s not much feel good feeling about this time of the year but still there is a grand festival coming up in just a few days from now. Yes you have guessed it right, its HOLI time. Holi, the National Festival of India is celebrated throughout the states of the sub-continent and West Bengal too is not far behind. The main attraction of holi, or doljatra (as we Bengalis like to say) is the Boshonto Utsav or Spring Festival in Shantiniketan. Thousands gather at the Viswa Bharati grounds on the day from all over the world.
Thinking of colors, the first thing that comes to mind is red, green, blue and yellow. Remember those days in school, the houses had these names and everybody used to fight with the other houses – Yellow, yellow dirty fellow or the first love letter you wrote – roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you. Do you have any other such poems or phrases, you used to throw, then share it with us!
Thinking about a colourful preparation I scratched my head but nothing authentically Bengali came to mind. So, thought of mix matching the Western with the Eastern. And, there it is the result – paneer kofta in thick poppy paste with slices of red and yellow bell pepper to spice and color it up.
For the kofta:
400gms of paneer or cottage cheese, mashed finely
4 teaspoon gram flour or besan
1 tablespoon ginger paste
2 teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon sugar, preferably brown sugar
Sunflower oil for frying
Salt to taste
For the gravy:
4 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon sesame, ground to a fine paste with the poppy
1 teaspoon cumin
2 red and yellow bell pepper diced coarsely
2 tablespoon sunflower oil
Few black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon clarified butter or ghee (optional)
Salt to taste
Mix all the ingredients required for kofta excepting the oil and make a soft dough
Prepare small balls each having a rough diameter of 3cm
Heat oil in a wok and deep fry these balls in batches, keep aside
Heat a wok with 2 tablespoons of fresh oil, throw in the cumin seeds, as they start sputtering add the bell pepper and toss for a minute or two
Add the turmeric powder and season with salt and black pepper
Pour in the poppy and sesame paste and cook till the oil separates
Cover the gravy with 2 cups of water and stir well, cook covered for 10-12mins, check the seasoning
Put in the fried koftas as the gravy starts boiling, cook for 2-3min more and take out of flame
Serve hot with chapattis or rice
Hot Tips – Koftas tend to dry up the gravy, so if you are a gravy person try putting in more water or else, take out the koftas after cooking and serve the gravy and koftas separately.