Monday, October 09, 2006

Alu Posto and Musuri'r Dal for lunch

Aloo Posto, Bengali Alu Posto

Aloo Posto | Alu Posto

Aloo Posto or Potatoes in a poppy seeds paste is a favorite Bengali vegetarian dish which is more popular with Bengalis from western part of Bengal, the Ghotis. This dish is usually served with white rice and a light soupy Masoor dal or a Kalai er dal.

Aloo Posto is also very widely served with Kalai Dal or Biulir Dal

Loosely translated that’s Potato in Poppy Seeds and Red Lentil Soup for Lunch. Ok, that’s it, I would rather have my Alu Posto than this tough sounding dish.
Posto or Poppy-Seeds or KhasKhas is a popular ingredient for several dishes in Bengal, particularly in the districts of Bankura, Birbhum etc. I don’t know whether I loved it because it “induces euphoria and sleep” but I tell you it’s yummm and if you doze off to sleep after the above lunch that’s bliss too.

While Aloo Posto is the main side dish, the poppy seeds paste is also used to make another favorite called Kaancha Posto Baata or raw poppy seeds paste. This uncooked poppy seeds paste is mixed with finely chopped onions, green chilies, salt and mustard oil and had with rice

Aloo Posto | Alu Posto

What You need

For Posto:
Potato chopped in cubes ~ 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
Poppy seeds (Khaskhas/Posto) ~ 1/2Cup of the Poppy seeds paste or posto bata
Green Chillies – 2-3
Dry Red Chillies ~ 2 (optional)
Whole Jeera (Cumin seeds) ~ 3/4th tsp loosely packed
Turmeric Powder

Sugar ~ 1/2 tsp or none according to taste
Mustard Oil ~ 2 Tbsp for Cooking
Mustard Oil ~ a dash i.e. about 1 tsp of mustard oil to sprinkle on the top

For Dal:
Red Masur Dal
Finely Chopped Onions
Fresh Coriander Leaves
Chopped Tomatoes
Green Chillies
Kalo Jeera/Kalonji

How I do it

Grind the posto/poppy seeds to a fine powder. I use the coffee grinder which can be used to dry grind only. So afterwards I mix it with water to make a paste. The consistency of the paste should not be too watery. If you are wet grinding make a paste at one go.
Cut the potato in cubes and soak in water , else they develop black spots.
Chop or slit the green chillies.
Heat oil in a Kadai/Pan. Mustard Oil is preferred.
Add the whole Jeera/Cumin seeds and wait till they sputter. You can add 2-3 dry red chillies too.
Add the potato cubes in the oil with a pinch of haldi/turmeric powder.
Saute the potato lightly till they develop a golden tinge. Do not over or deep fry them.
Add the posto/poppy seeds paste
Cook on medium heat till the paste has uniformly coated the potatoes
Add little water (around 3/4 cup), adequate salt, and the chopped green chillies.
You can sprinkle very little sugar if you want.
Cover and cook till the potatoes are done. Also I make it dry so I wait for the water to dry up.
At this point you can add about 1 tsp of mustard oil and stir well before you remove from heat. Take care that the potatoes don't get mashed up though

Aloo Posto, Bengali Aloo Posto

Pressure Cook the Masur Dal with a pinch of turmeric
Heat oil and add the phoron, or as we say temper with Kalo jeera/Kalonji
Add the finely chopped onions and fry till they turn pink in color. Add slit or chopped green chillies
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they become a fine pulp
Add the previously cooked dal and mix well.
Add salt, little sugar and water.
Cook till you hear a nice bubbling sound. Remember to stir infrequently during this process.
Also continue cook till the thickness of the dal is according to your liking
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

The alu posto and musur dal go very well with plain white rice. My Ma used to make Urad Dal (or Kalai er Dal ) as an accompaniment with posto. Post that another day.

Updated on 3rd August, 2007: The original post did not have measures as I was still new to blogging. This post has been updated with the measure for alu posto. For the Masoor dal check my post on Red Masur Dal.

Trivia: Only unripe poppy seeds contain narcotic substances, not the ripe ones


  1. thanks asha
    don't know if poppy seeds is a popular ingredient in Kannada cooking, try out this though

  2. just a suggestion - Mustard oil for posto is heavenly!

  3. Hey Kausum,
    You are right, and ka(n)cha posto bata with ka(n)cha lanka and mustard oil, still better.

    1. Thank you Sandeepa for your Posto aloo recipe, I just made it, but I do add a bit of Dhania and Jeera powder. And absolutely yes to mustard oil before I turn off the stove.
      But my favorite is kacha posto bata and kacha lanka and mustard oil anyday with shukno bhaat :)
      You think I have lived in the USA for 35 yrs + but a heart bong...through and through :)

    2. yes my favorite is Kacha posto and katha lanka and mustard oil :)
      a bong through and through :)
      even after being in the USA for 35 yrs + :)

  4. mmmm...a friend made this posto for me a long time ago and it was so good but she wouldnt give me a recipe - said it was a family secret.

    i tried your recipe and i can tell you, it was way better than hers! :) haha!!!
    thank you!

  5. Sandeepa here after long. Posto bong love I guess its best know bong dish.

    Asha...try ghasgase for once with a spice...I'm saturated with the paysa here in blr.:)

  6. Hi Sandeepa,
    I have never had aloo posto, but am tempted by the name of it!
    I just bought some poppy seeds to make aaloo posto. Though you have shown potatoe cubes and posto that you used in the picture. I still hope you can guide me a bit with measurement. How much (in cups) is the posto shown in the picture.
    Thanks a tonne.

  7. Thanks for a great recipe, tried it last night, mmmm... I used kalonji instead of jeera, just tastes more bong, iykwim

  8. hey!m a major Bong fan!!the people and the Fooooood!!i dont like the sweet taste in it..but minus that..there is something fab about it!!m gonna learna lot from u!!being a Bangalorean i feel the connection getting stronger!!

  9. heyy...I made this y'day :) it was my first time with alu posto and just followed ur recipe...and I liked it with a bowl of rice...had some dal was a nice combo :)

    Btw, why this long break..? hope its just work thats keeping u busy..miss u !


  10. hey.. in aloo posto you should try paanch fodon that is the mixture of five seeds instead of only jeera or kalauji..these are kalaunji,methi seed.white jeera,mustard seeds and lil bit of ajwain..try this.

  11. i dun think using jeera or paanch foron is a good tastes heavenly widdout it!!d real flavour of posto!!1

  12. hi babi

    I have always used Jeera or Kalonji, both as whole spices as phoron(for tempering) for alu posto

    I am sure you like your posto without these spices but I like mine this way :)
    I make a Jhinge Posto with none of these spices though

  13. this looks amazing ....just a small tip maybe if you put kalo zeera (Kalonji) instead of plain zeera in the aloo posto it would taste more yummy :-)

  14. try adding one chopped onion after chaunk/ temper panch phoron. Adds a wonderful taste to Posto.

    And also try Kalai / Biuli Daal with Aloo Posto... its made with the Urad Dal. ULTIMATE COMBO

  15. Yay, you finally got credited for your lifted recipe! ;)

  16. I had some leftover boiled potato and I though of trying your recipe. It came out so yummy and awesome even with boiled potatoes.

    And yes, adding mustard oil does make a difference. When I will visit India, I am going to cook this for my mom too :)

    Thank you.

  17. Swati SucharitaJuly 03, 2011 12:04 AM

    I make aloo posto too, but fry some onions, dry red chillies with the kalonji, is that allowed in the Bengali cuisine rulebook, the onions ie? Your descriptions evoke the best memories of soul food, as Im an Odia, married to a Bong... so food habits die hard :)

  18. Hello,

    I am just loving your site, but yes I do not see a receipe of tiler nadu here. I just brought some til yesterday and wanted to cook the same. Please help. Looking forward.....

  19. Hi,
    I am a amateur cook and just learning the nuances of cooking :) wanted to get hold of some authentic bengali recipes...and i just love the ones you have posted...

    Great Job!!

  20. If i am not wrong I believe Biulir dal is the best accompaniment with any form of posto. please reply if some one is Ghoti.

  21. I just got married a month ago and I can't cook at all! My husband is Indian and I'm American, so I have no background making Indian food. I made this for lunch today and he said it tastes just like home, just like his mom's! Thank you! Best compliment I could have ever gotten, thanks to you!! Now I need to keep practicing for when the in-laws come to visit.

    1. hello my american sister, so happy to hear you are married to an Indian, I am Indian and married to an American, been married 35 yrs +. I would love to keep in touch with you if you are ok with that ?

  22. Revisiting this page after years, it is interesting to see how the blog and your style has evolved. Much love for all the food joy you bring to all our lives. @Jawhar - quite agree about the biulir dal deal.

  23. Dear Sandeepa Di,
    I am a huge admirer of yours🥰. Have been following your blog since it's inception and like most of your readers/fans I love your write-ups more than the recipe itself. There were times pre-FB when I used to check my email many times a day only for your blog post notifications 😊.
    Being a very shy person I always refrained from commenting even when I felt an urge to comment on your post. Finally, I mustered the courage today because I wanted to share my two cents on a dish that was practically had with every meal at our home in Burdwan.

    Posto or poppy seeds paste in a myriad of forms is eaten in Burdwan, Bankura and Birbhum districts. What I have learnt from my Grandmother from both sides and my Maa is it's a must in the"Ugra Kshatriya aka Aguri" community prevalent in that region. As an Aguri myself I have grown up eating posto pretty much in every meal (we even eat it with muri i.e. puffed rice) every day! Honestly, as a child I distasted this particular dish as it was a staple in our home. I never understood the much brouhaha about it during my hostel life too. I only started missing it after leaving my country for studying when I could have Bengali cuisine only during Durga pujo and Poila Baishakh (Bengali New Year) celebration.

    Growing up I had neither eaten any posto dishes with turmeric nor with any tempering of cumin seeds or nigella seeds. Only tempering of green chillies. However, in my boarding school in Calcutta "Alu posto" had turmeric in it. My Maa explained that in Burdwan district we don't add turmeric in our poppy seeds dishes.
    My sister's MIL hails from Bankura and she does the cumin seeds tempering however no turmeric.
    Sorry for the long post! Wanted to share because a dish which I literally loathed as child only to realising how much it is adored and probably one of the most featured Bengali vegetarian dishes when I left the country.
    Thank you so much for your blog and books. It's indeed a pleasure to read your posts and chuckle😃. Brightens up our day.
    Kind regards,
    Paromita 🙏🏻

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. really, you did not like Posto? Only much later have I understood the difference in posto cooking in different regions of Bengal, i always thought the dry, turmeric version was the only one.


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