Bengali Chingri Posto: Rich, Easy & The Perfect Dinner Dish
Image Credit: Chingri Posto is a simple yet festive Bengali dish. Image courtesy: Facebook/Monalisha

When it comes to Bengali cuisine, there are perhaps no two basic ingredients as integral as poppy seeds or Posto and mustard seeds or Shorshe. You might be cooking a mighty Ilish or a humble potato, but Posto and Shorshe—whether used alone or in combination—can uplift every other ingredient. Of these two, Posto is hands down this author’s favourite because it has always had a cooling effect. As a Bengali kid growing up in Gujarat, every Posto dish from my mother’s culinary kitty helped throughout summers. This Bengali Chingri Posto is definitely one of those favourites of mine, and here’s why you should try it too. 

Posto is woven into the very fabric of Bengali cuisine despite its exploitative colonial antecedents. When turned into a paste, poppy seeds turn a creamy, rich white colour with a nutty flavour. When added to any dish, Posto paste naturally turns it creamy, white, rich and flavourful. That is one aspect of Chingri Posto that makes the dish outstanding. The other aspect is brought in by the Chingri or prawns. While people from East Bengal have always loved Ilish fish from Padma River as the ingredient that finds a place of pride, for West Bengalis, prawns have done the same.  

Just like Posto, Chingri is an ingredient that is added by West Bengalis, also known as Ghotis, to vegetarian dishes to enhance them. From bottle gourd to pointed gourd, Chingri has successfully turned the most boring of vegetables into dishes that are served at wedding banquets, feasts and get togethers. In that sense, both Posto and Chingri have transformative superpowers, and one Bengali cook in the distant past must have asked herself or himself this critical yet life-changing question: What if I put Posto and Chingri together? 

The result, to put it mildly, is nothing short of pure culinary magic! Many people use potatoes and ridge gourd to make this dish more filling, but I feel sticking to the basics and playing on the strengths of Chingri and Posto is the best thing to do. Why bring in sidekicks to overshadow our superheroes?  If you use jumbo or tiger prawns for this dish, and add a few cashews to your poppy seed paste, this Chingri Posto can turn every meal into a feast that your palate deserves! Here’s the Chingri Posto recipe for you to try out. 

Image courtesy: Facebook/Piyali Rakshit Naha


200 g tiger prawns, shelled and deveined 

6 tbsp poppy seeds, soaked 

3-4 cashews, soaked 

2 onions, finely chopped 

6-8 green chillies, slit 

1 tsp ginger garlic paste 

½ tsp nigella seeds 

1 bay leaf 

1.5 tsp turmeric powder 

1 tsp cumin powder 

1 tsp red chilli powder 

½ tsp garam masala 

½ tsp sugar 

Salt, to taste 

2 tbsp mustard oil 

Water, as required 

Coriander leaves, to garnish 


1. Wash, clean and dry the tiger prawns. Add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and salt to marinate the prawns for half an hour. 

2. Place the soaked poppy seeds and cashews in a small grinding jar, add water and grind to a fine white paste. 

3. Heat the mustard oil in a wok. Add the marinated prawns and fry them until golden brown. Remove and set aside. 

4. In the leftover mustard oil, add the nigella seeds, green chillies and bay leaf. 

5. Once these stop spluttering, add the onions and ginger garlic paste. 

6. Saute until the onions turn brown, then add the turmeric powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder and salt to taste. 

7. Mix well, then add the poppy-cashew paste. Saute until the paste and the spices are properly cooked. 

8. Now add water, mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.  

9. Remove the cover, add the fried prawns, mix well and continue cooking until ready. 

10. If you want a richer look, then let the Chinri Posto cook until the gravy is thick. 

11. Add sugar, mix well and switch off the flame. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.