Jhinga aloo Posto

Poppy has been used as a remedy of number of ailments for hundreds of years, but during Mughal ages it started to become a recreational drug. During the British era, thousands of paddy fields in Bengal were transformed into poppy fields by the British raj to extract the drug. The dried out pods, which are non-narcotic made its way in to the Bengali kitchen.

The ground poppy paste with its nutty taste enhanced the flavor of simple meals like panta bhaat. Soon enough the posto use made its way in to the making of goyna or nakshi bori. Since then posto has made it’s way in the heart of all Bengalis.

Posto is one of the most essential ingredients in a Bengali kitchen. It is a very versatile spice, and can be used in vegetarian recipes like simple posto bata as well as in non-vegetarian dishes. While, aloo posto is one of the most popular substituting the potatoes with other vegetables like ridge gourd, green beans, and even zucchini is not heard of. The recipe doesn’t take much long to prepare if you cut both the potatoes and ridge gourd in similar sizes.

2 medium ridge gourd, cut in 1″ squares
1 large potato, cut in 1″ squares
2 tablespoon poppy seeds, ground to a paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3-4 green chilies
1 tablespoon mustard oil
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
Salt to taste

I a medium size wok heat the oil and lightly fry the potatoes and ridge gourd separately. Keep them aside and add in the nigella seeds, use a little more oil if needed. Transfer the vegetables back to the wok.
Add all the spices in a small bowl and pour in 2 -3 tablespoon of water, season with salt. Pour the paste, and mix well with the vegetables.
Pour in a cup of water and cook covered for 5-7 minutes in medium heat or till the vegetables are done.
Serve with warm white rice.

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