Poppy seeds are small, kidney-shaped seeds with a sweet, slightly spicy, nutty flavour. Known by a variety of names, including khus khus in Hindi, kasa kasa in Tamil, gasagase in Kannada, afu guti in Assamese, and posto in Bengali. Poppy seeds are a prominent component in korma and aloo (potato) dishes in Indian cooking. They are pounded and mixed with liquid to thicken and provide texture to meals. Although the poppy plant which belongs to the Papaveraceae family is known to be a source of opium, the seeds taken from the pods are perfectly safe. While the seeds' origins may be traced back to Egypt, it was through Arab traders that they gained popularity in Persia and India, before spreading to Germany, Turkey, France, Poland, and other parts of Europe.  

What's more intriguing is that poppy seeds come in a variety of colors besides white, which is the most frequent in India, including grey, black, and even a bluish tint. Poppy seeds have made their way into numerous cuisines around the world, particularly in India. 

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Poppy Seeds In Indian Cooking 

Poppy seeds are used to make Pudachi wadi in Maharashtra, a snack  prepared with gram flour stuffed with dried coconut, onions, coriander and poppy seeds. With just pickle on the side, a basic paratha filled with poppy seeds may be delectable. Poppy seeds are also used in a popular Goan dish called Chicken Xacuti.   

Poppy seeds are also popular in Bengali cuisine and are used in a variety of dishes. It's ground and cooked with potatoes and/or ridge gourd (aloo posto/jhinge posto), or eaten raw with chopped onions, chilies, mustard oil, and rice. Grinding poppy seeds is a difficult task. If you don't have a poppy seed grinder, lightly toast the seeds first and then ground them using a pestle and mortar. 

Poppy Seeds Benefits 

Iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium, and zinc are all found in poppy seeds. Manganese in poppy seeds even aids in collagen production. Apply poppy seed paste to the affected area if you have joint discomfort and swelling. In addition, the zinc in the seed helps to strengthen your immune system. 

Poppy seeds are thought to chill the body and prevent mouth ulcers caused by excessive heat, according to Ayurveda. It is suggested that crushed poppy seeds be mixed with a little sugar and then eaten. 

Poppy seeds are used as a natural remedy for rashes and itching on the skin. When applied to the diseased area, a paste of poppy seeds mixed with a few drops of lime juice might help to calm your skin. You may even prepare a paste using poppy seeds and milk to use as a moisturizer for your face!