Posto, the residual by product of the opium poppy plant happens to be the most inevitable ingredient in Bengali cuisine.
Growing up in a Bengali household, some of the fondest summer memories that I have is plate of rice, with some aloo posto and builir daal. The ultimate summer foodgasm came from that plate. Posto, the most inevitable ingredient in Bengali cuisine. Not that easy on pocket this ingredients, is an summer delight.
Posto actually is the residual by product of the opium poppy plant. The tiny white that are devoid of any narcotic effect, sees a much delicate flavour. Known by many names like khus khus in Hindi, afu guti in Assamese, kasa kasa in Tamil, and gasagase in Kannada, poppy seeds are used in a lot of cultures but is most evident in the cuisine of Bengal and Bangladesh. In this cuisine this ingredient is used in many ways. Poppy seeds is known to cool the body and add texture and flavour to this classic dish.
Food historian and author Chitrita Banerjee writes about Posto in her book Eating India, “Combined with ground mustard, it makes a delicious sauce for fish, while the addition of tamarind allows it to be made into a tangy ambal (sour chutney). Whipped together with ground coconut and chopped green chilies, it is the raw material for crisp fritters that go down well with afternoon tea or as a side dish at lunchtime.”
Apart from the usual aloo posto, this one also used to make eggs, chicken , fish and more.
Here are few Posto dishes to relish this summer
This is a rich thick egg curry that is cooked with poppy seeds or posto. Posto can facelift any dish and mixed with eggs it’s sheer delight. There’s nothing else that goes into this dish except for some few green chilies so add to the fire. This easy to make and delicious dish pairs perfect with hot steam rice.
Jhinge or ridged-gourds being high in water content are an all-time summer favorite. Being extremely rich in dietary fibre and enriched with all the Vitamins, it's low in saturated fat, cholesterol. It's high in water content helps to relieve from gut issues too. Jhinge-Aloo Posto that happens to be classic Bengali food is much popular in West Bengal and Odisha. This dish sees ridge Gourd and potatoes that are cooked in Poppy seeds paste with some tempering of green Chillies and Nigella seeds. This veg dish that is very simple and easy recipe is best paired with some masoor dal and rice.
Kancha posto Bata
Posto Bata is one of the most delectable traditional Bengali is commin in most ‘Ghoti’ homes. In this preparation, the Poppy seeds are soaked for some time then made into a paste with green Chillies. Then the raw poppy seeds paste in mixed with some raw Mustard oil with a pinch of salt and some chopped inions and some chopped green chillies . This one goes great with some panta bhaat or fermented rice. A generous serving of posto bata is a delight during summers.
Shorshe Posto Tilapia
Tilapia happens to be a freshwater fish that inhabits in shallow streams, ponds, rivers. This mild-flavored fish is extremely easy to cook and Tilapia fish is an important fish in a Bengali kitchen. Tilapia fish cooked in mix of mustard and poppy seeds paste, this dish is much simple and flavourful. , Just increase the quantity of poppy seed paste or ‘posto’ and see how delicious this curry taste.