When you think about poppy, the first think comes to mind is a field of beautiful red flowers moving with the wind. But, if you are a Bengali, poppy is synonymous to comfort food. Posto is a versatile spice in a Bengali kitchen, whether cooked with just potatoes, the famous aloo posto or added to make a quick egg curry, posto is as versatile as it can get.
The British had many influence on Bengali cuisine, but the introduction of poppy or posto to the Bengali kitchen was a byproduct of growing opium in Bengal. The farmers in Bengal during the mid 18th century were forced to cultivate poppy for opium trade. After extracting the opium from the seed pod, huge amount of non-narcotic seeds were left behind. To the surprise of many these seeds entered into the Bengali kitchen merely to enhance the frugal meals.
Posto bata is a comfort food to me, you cannot go wrong with this recipe. Served with warm white rice, it is one of my favorite food. You can also stir fry the paste or make posto bora. You cannot go wrong with posto in a Bengali recipe.
1/2 cup poppy seeds
1 small onion, chopped
2 – 3 dry red chilies
2 -3 green chilies
3 tablespoon mustard oil
Salt to taste
In a spice grinder, grind the poppy paste in a fine paste. Mix with 1/4 cup of water to make a paste. Season with salt
Raw posto bata –
Heat oil in a frying pan, once the oil is hot, add in the dry red chilies. Add the chopped onion and green chilies, fry for 2 – 3 minutes, just until the onions are pink but not brown.
Pour it over the poppy paste. Serve immediately with warm white rice
Fried posto bata –
Add in the poppy paste to the frying pan, fry for 2 to 3 minutes, stir constantly.
Serve immediately with white rice.