Posto - an euphoria
|Potol - Posto|
We have a special spice, Poppy !! Although infamous as the source of heroin, an euphoric addictive drug, the poppy seeds have been used by the Bengalis since long. Because processing of the seeds remove majority of its opium content, Posto dana ( poppy seeds ) have been an important ingredient in many Bengali dishes to get that perfect creamy texture. But when this spice is used as the chief overpowering component, its characteristic flavour is absolutely delightful.
Certainly, it is an acquired taste. Since most of my Non - Bengali friends do not quite like the idea of having heroin sources as food, Posto remains more of an unknown Bengali spice not experienced by many, still. But us? We just adore it. Ask any Bengali about Aloo Posto and you can immediately notice that satisfaction in their eyes. Even simply Posto bata ( a paste of Poppy seeds with some green chilli, salt and a hint of ghee or mustard oil ) with some gorom - Bhaat ( warm rice ) can give you an astounding experience. Posto is a comfort food which can soothe your nervous system, legally!!
Evidently, we are infamous for being lazy. It is a prevalent belief that we Bangalis as a community love to eat, sleep or have our fair share of leisurely intellectual exchanges ( read, adda ). But then I ask those judgemental energetics, have you ever experienced the joy of doing absolutely nothing? The pleasure you get later that peaceful nap, after a wholesome Sunday lunch is indescribable. You have to have some lyadh ( we even have a word for that laziness ) to understand us. So, Poppy with all its cooling effects ( responsible for that awesome Bhaat - ghoom ) when forced upon us by the Britishers long before independence, we welcomed it into our households and experimented with it. Several boring veggies when came in contact with this nutty Poppy paste won the hearts of many. " Potol " or pointed gourd is one such vegetable. I have never been a big fan of this one but when it absorbs all that creaminess of Posto, it would make you crave for more. Thus, presenting " Potol Posto ", the legal drug for happiness.
- Potol - 500 grams - Deskin them just partially and cut them into halves.
- Potato - 1 big, sliced.
- Onion - 1 medium sized, roughly sliced.
- Green chillies - 4 - 5, slit in halves.
- Posto - 1 tablespoon - soaked in hot water for at least 15 minutes.
- Mustard oil - 1 tablespoon
- Nigella seeds / Kalo zeere - 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Make a smooth paste of the soaked Posto seeds along with a pinch of salt and two slit green chillies.
- Heat up a kadhai and add the mustard oil.
- Add the nigella seeds, the rest of the green chillies and wait for them to slightly make some sound in that hot oil.
- Add the chopped onion and sauté them just for a few minutes.
- After the onion just wilt and becomes translucent, add the potatoes and the potol one by one. Stir everything in.
- Close up the lid and put your flame to low. Wait for around 10 minutes.
- Open the lid, add the Posto paste and another pinch of salt and mix everything up.
- Its time to fry the Posto paste well. So cook the whole thing on high flame till all the water evaporates. Add splashes of water and again wait for the water to evaporate. Do this at least 4 times to get that perfect flavour.
- Add some more water. Cover up the kadhai, lower the flame and wait for the vegetables to cook through.
- Finally, once the veggies are done, check the seasonings and keep the moisture content
Serve up this Potol - posto with some good old warm rice to enjoy it to the fullest.
P.S. You can substitute potol with jhinge ( ridge - gourd ) or can simply have just potatoes in it. You can have this same recipe with just some shrimps as well. Posto is quite an enjoyable spice, play with it. Either way it will give you an idea of how delightful life can be.