Alu posto is a classic Bengali dish. Sparing in its use of spices, this preparation relies on the flavours of potatoes, green chillies and nigella seeds for its taste. What stands out, however, is the nutty flavour of the roasted poppy paste, which also provides body and texture to the gravy.
Although alu posto is cooked without onion or garlic, in our family we sometimes add a little fried onion to the alu posto for a pleasant variation.
- 60 g mustard oil
- ¼ tsp kaalo jeere (nigella seeds)
- 2 pcs dried red chillies
- 25 g onions
- 500 g potatoes
- 50 g posto (poppy seeds)
- 4 pcs green chillies
- 12 g salt
- 8 g sugar
- Soak poppy seeds in water for two hours. Strain and add to a grinder jar, along with 2 green chillies and 75 g water. Grind to a coarse paste. Set aside.
- Peel and cut the potatoes in 1-cm cubes. If using onions, slice them too.
- Heat mustard oil in a pan. Once smoking lightly and pale yellow, add the onions. Fry until lightly coloured (about 1 minute). Drain from the oil and set aside.
- Temper the oil with dried red chillies and kaalo jeere. Add the potatoes. Fry for about 5 minutes. The potatoes should not brown, so keep stirring them regularly.
- Add the poppy-seed paste, along with salt and sugar. Cook on low heat until the raw smell of poppy paste goes away. This should take about 4 minutes.
- Continue cooking on low heat, with lid on until the potatoes are soft. Once in a while, when the pan dries out, you may have to add a splash of hot water to ensure the potatoes don't stick to the pan.
- Finish with 2 slit green chillies and 1 tsp of mustard oil.
- If you fried the onions earlier, add those now too, and give a final stir, before serving with hot rice and dal, or with rooti.