Aloo posto is the quintessential Bengali recipe and today I bring our home style aloo posto from my mum’s authentic Bengali kitchen!
Being a Bengali, I have been fed aloo posto uncountable times since my childhood. I can safely say that I was literally brought up on aloo posto. This humble aloo posto used to make its appearance at least once a week without fail at our lunch/dinner table and my father was way too fond of it. This fondness towards aloo posto trickled down to me too and I hadn’t loved anything more than aloo posto during my childhood days! Posto or poppy seeds or khus khus is used differently in different regions of India which I discovered only when I was out of Kolkata for my job. In many regional cuisine, poppy seeds are used in sweets and in others it is used in spice blends in small amount.
Bengalis are really high on poppy seeds. We eat posto in multiple ways out of which aloo posto is the most common and well-loved one. We also eat posto bora, which is nothing but fritters made of poppy seeds paste. And there is posto bata, which is simply ground poppy seeds with green chili and mustard oil. All this goodness brings back my childhood memories and makes me utterly nostalgic. Plain hot rice with a bowl of warm dal and this aloo posto on the side defines the comfort food for us Bengalis! Well, the majority of it!
There are 2 varieties of aloo posto made in Bengali kitchens – one with onion and only potatoes and another with potatoes and ridge gourd (jhinge) but without onion. I am sharing the second version today, but the first one is also quite similar with just some extra pungency. In Bengali cooking, onion and garlic are considered to be non-vegetarian, so to make any vegetarian side dish, it has to be without onion or garlic and I believe that’s the reason there exists two versions of aloo posto.
I like both but slightly inclined towards the oniony version of it. But if you are new to this recipe, I am sure you will like both. There are many improvised recipes made with posto nowadays which taste as amazing but may not be cent percent traditional, like my potol posto or dim posto which I have already shared here in my blog. Posto or poppy seeds’ paste itself is so tasty that it takes any vegetable to another level of deliciousness and these are exactly my mum’s words! Try it and thank me for it later!
- Aloo/potato – 6 to 8, medium size, about half a kilo
- Jhinge/ridge gourd – 3, large, about half a kilo
- Mustard oil – 2 tbsp
- Kalonji / kala jeera – ½ tsp
- Green chili – 4 to 6, adjust as per your liking
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Posto/poppy seeds – 5 tbsp
- Sugar – ½ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Peel and cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes and keep them immersed in water to prevent them from turning pink.
- Peel the ridge gourds, then cut them into half lengthwise. Now cut each half into 2 cm pieces. Ridge gourds have very high water content, hence they will shrink down a lot after cooking; so do not make the pieces too small.
- Soak the poppy seeds in water for 30 minutes. Then grind them into a smooth paste using very little water, only as much as is needed for the grinder to run and make a smooth paste. Set it aside.
- Heat the mustard oil in a kadhai/wok. Temper the hot oil with kalonji (black cumin seeds) and slit green chilies. Let them crackle and become fragrant.
- Next add the potato cubes to the kadhai; do not forget to drain the water out before that.
- Fry the potatoes for good 10 minutes on medium heat or until they develop a golden color. Then pop in the ridge gourd pieces. Fry them on medium heat for 15 minutes more.
- Once both the veggies are nicely fried and half cooked, add the posto or poppy seeds paste. Add sugar and season with salt to taste.
- Sauté the veggies with posto for good 8 to 10 minutes on medium-low heat. If the posto tends to stick to the bottom of the kadhai, just add couple of splashes of water and keep stirring.
- Once the posto is nicely sautéed and gives out a nice toasty aroma, add just half a cup of water, cover the wok and let it simmer on low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- After about 7 minutes, the veggies should be completely cooked through and potatoes would be little mushy. Boil off the excess water; the consistency of aloo posto should be thick and not watery.
- Check and adjust seasoning, if needed. Drizzle about a tablespoon of mustard oil on top of the jhinge aloo posto as a final touch. Serve warm aloo jhinge posto with rice and dal for the ultimate Bengali comfort food! Enjoy!