Posto Bata: The Dish That Gives Every Bengali A High
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Poppy seeds or posto is one of Bengali cuisine’s most prominent ingredient. Cooked in combination with vegetables like potatoes, onions and cauliflower and even with prawns or hilsa fish, poppy seeds are known to be consumed in various delicious ways. Deep-fried poppy fritters (posto bora) are a well-known snack, usually eaten during teatime. The unique element about most dishes in Bengali cuisine is how well-blended the flavours are along with the minimal use of spices, letting the freshness of the ingredients shine through.

The posto bata, a simple preparation of soaked and ground poppy seeds on a sil-batta, tempered with mustard oil, chillies and onions, is a vegetarian offering that is typically eaten with rice. It comes in two variations; one of which is the kacha posto bata, a raw poppy seed paste and the other being the bhapa posto bata, which is steamed or baked. The nutty side dish punctuated by the strong flavours of mustard oil and chillies, perfectly complements rice. The idea of incorporating poppy seeds in Indian cuisine happened as a result of the high cultivation of poppies as a cash crop during the colonial rule. Although there is no direct link to contemporary Bengali cuisine and how poppy seeds came to be an integral aspect of the food culture, it’s safe to say that the much-relished posto bata comes from rather humble beginnings.

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Delicious Posto-Based Dishes That You Can Try At Home



  • ½ cup poppy seeds
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 4 green chillies
  • 2 + 1 tablespoons mustard oil

Image Credits: Piya Mallick


  • Soak the poppy seeds in water for 30 minutes and strain. Transfer the soaked seeds into a jar and add a tablespoon of mustard oil and two green chillies, before grinding to a smooth paste.
  • Transfer to a small bowl and top up with the remaining chillies, chopped finely, chopped onions and mustard oil. Heat some water in a pressure cooker or a large kadhai. Once it comes to a boil, place the bowl of posto in the vessel and steam for 6-7 minutes. Serve hot with rice and ghee.