Bengali Classic Aloo Posto Recipe

Bengali Aloo Posto recipe

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Aloo Posto is a classic Bengali dish where potatoes are cooked with poppy seed paste. if there is any dish that screams comfort food in Bengali cuisine then it has to be this aloo posto. It is a vegan, gluten-free vegetarian, dairy-free, recipe. It comes together in 15 minutes and is often served with the side of rice and Dal.

Aloo Posto recipe Bengali style

What is posto?

Poppy seeds or posto in Bengali is one of the most important ingredients used in Bengali cooking. A byproduct of opium cultivation, poppy seeds were not meant to be included in Bengali cooking. It was during the unfortunate historic event of the Bengal famine when people were forced to look for alternate sources of food. One such happened to be the seeds of the opium plant which were often left behind as agricultural waste.

An enterprising lady took these seeds to ground them into a smooth paste. She mixed it with some mustard oil and salt and served it with rice. And hence began the journey of poppy seeds into the culinary annals of Bengali cuisine.

What is so special about this recipe of aloo posto?

If asked then 9 out of 10 Bengalis would clearly express their love for this dish of aloo posto. The combination of aloo posto with dal and bhat Is something that can be enjoyed all around the year. Honestly, I was quite surprised to find out that my blog hasn’t yet included this Bengali vegetarian staple dish.

This niramish aloo posto is one of those dishes which often make an appearance in the lunch menu, at least once in my kitchen. We are very fond of it and pair it with Biulir Dal or Bengali Urad Dal, or Kacha Aam Dal or Bengali Green Mango Dal. I am telling you, the day I make this menu, everybody is happy. I have to spend exactly 30 minutes in the kitchen and get to see everybody relishing the meal without a single complaint! Totally win-win!!

The success in making this aloo posto recipe without onion lies in the fact of how do you make a paste from poppy seeds. It has to be absolutely smooth without any graininess. Traditionally, poppy seeds are ground over a large stone slab (known as sheel) using another cylindrical stone grinder (known as nora). Using a splash of water, poppy seeds are ground between the two stone surfaces which yield a smooth, milky white paste.

In modern kitchens, this sheel nora has been conveniently replaced by mixer-grinders which can also give the perfect result, if certain things are kept in mind. In case you are wondering, how do I paste Posto into the mixer? Read on.

How to grind poppy seeds into a smooth paste?

One of the most important steps of cooking with poppy seeds is grinding it into a milky white and smooth paste. Until it is so, you won’t be able to get the maximum flavour out of these tiny little seeds. In this aloo posto Bengali recipe, it is very important to grind the posto absolute smooth to get a homogenous crispy texture, the one we call the perfectly done aloo posto bhaja!

In order to make any dish using poppy seeds, first, we have to learn how to grind them into a smooth paste. For this, we need a high-speed wet grinder with a jar having its blades close to the bottom of the jar. This would ensure that the poppy seeds paste is smooth with minimum efforts.

Take the desired amount of poppy seeds onto a sieve and put it into a bowl of water ensuring that the seeds are completely immersed. Wash the seeds in this way a couple of times. Now put these poppy seeds into the jar of your wet grinder and add a couple of teaspoons of water. Run the grinder till you get a smooth and white paste. Keep it aside for cooking.

If you are comfortable with spicy food then you can grind a couple of chilies with the poppy seeds as well. However, I tend to skip it because first, chilies can be very temperamental. Second, I prefer using red chili powder for the controlled heat and the dramatic colour it gives to my alu posto dish.

Now, let’s get cooking this ever-so-popular Bengali Aloo Posto.

How to make Bengali Aloo Posto – Ingredients list

  • Potatoes
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Mustard Oil – alternate would be any other oil
  • Salt
  • Red Chilli Powder – alternate would be Paprika Powder
  • Turmeric Powder

Please note, there are many recipes that use Nigella Seeds or Kalonji for tempering. However, I don’t prefer using it. However, you may use a pinch of it for some flavour. Also, as I mentioned, you may use Green Chilies instead of Red Chili Powder. It is totally upon you and your level of tolerance for heat.

Ingredient Substitutions for Poppy Seeds

Many countries do not allow the consumption of Poppy Seeds. Also, if you are running out of Poppy Seeds in your pantry, or have it in smaller amount, you can use White Sesame seeds here. White Sesame seeds work perfectly as an substitute to Poppy Seeds in this Aloo Posto recipe.

Step-by-Step Instructions on how to make niramish Aloo Posto Bhaja in Bengali style

  • Cut the potatoes into small cubes
  • Grind the poppy seeds with as little water as possible, into a fine paste
  • Heat mustard oil in a pan and drop the potato cubes in it. Season it with salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder and give it a mix. Lower the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Cook till the potatoes are tender and cooked at the centre
  • Next, add the poppy seeds paste and stir. It will stick to the bottom of the pan, just scrape it gently. Do not add water if you want a dry and crunchy texture. As it continues to sizzle, keep scraping the bottom of the pan and give it a stir
  • Once you see that the potato cubes have got a coating of nice and crunchy poppy seeds, turn off the heat and serve

In some regions of Bengal, for instance in the Bankura region, people prefer their aloo posto with some gravy. So, in case you want to have it that way, add some water along with the poppy seeds paste and let it simmer. Check that it’s not sticking at the bottom of the pan.

There is another very popular version of this Aloo Posto recipe with Onions known as Aloo Peyaz Posto. Here, along with potatoes, onion is also added to the dish to add some flavour and texture. You can check out my recipe for Aloo Peyaj Posto here.

How to serve Bengali style Alu Posto?

As I told you before, the classic way of serving Aloo Posto is with Biulir Dal (Bengali White Urad Dal recipe) and Bhat (Rice). In summers, we often replace the Biulir Dal or Kolai Dal with Toker Dal or Kancha Aam Dal (Bengali Green Mango Dal). There is no other food that can top this as wholesome comfort food.

Have you tried this Ol Bhaate recipe? I would love to hear about it.
Tag me on Instagram @priyankabhattacharya.sa or Facebook @hashdiaries and I will share it further.

Bengali Classic Aloo Posto Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

Aloo Posto is a classic Bengali dish where potatoes are cooked with poppy seed paste. if there is any dish that screams comfort food in Bengali cuisine then it has to be this aloo posto. It is a vegan, gluten-free vegetarian, dairy-free, recipe. It comes together in 15 minutes and is often served with the side of rice and Dal.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Bengali
Keyword: Bengali Vegetarian Recipes, Gluten Free Recipes, Poppy Seeds Recipes, Potato Recipes, Vegan Recipes, vegetarian recipes
Servings: 2 people
Author: Priyanka
Ingredients
  • 2 Potatoes Large
  • 2 tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • 3 tbsp Mustard Oil
  • Salt to Taste
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
Instructions
  1. Cut the potatoes into small cubes
  2. Grind the poppy seeds with as little water as possible, into a fine paste
  3. Heat mustard oil in a pan and drop the potato cubes in it. Season it with salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder and give it a mix. Lower the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Cook till the potatoes are tender and cooked at the centre
  4. Next, add the poppy seeds paste and stir. It will stick to the bottom of the pan, just scrape it gently. Do not add water if you want a dry and crunchy texture. As it continues to sizzle, keep scraping the bottom of the pan and give it a stir
  5. Once you see that the potato cubes have got a coating of nice and crunchy poppy seeds, turn off the heat and serve

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