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.
What You need
Potato chopped in cubes ~ 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
Poppy seeds (Khaskhas/Posto) ~ 5-6 heaped tbsp 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
Sugar ~ 1/2 tsp or none according to taste
Oil ~ for Cooking
Mustard Oil ~ a dash i.e. about 1 tsp of mustard oil to sprinkle on the top
Red Masur Dal
Finely Chopped Onions
Fresh Coriander Leaves
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
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