W est Bengal and poppy seeds have an indisputable connection through ages. A prime ingredient in many of the region’s dishes, poppy or posto (as it is locally called) is used generously both for vegetarian as well as non vegetarian items in a Bengali kitchen. Understandably then, the East Indian people devised methods of consuming the poppy seeds in various formats.
Unique to West Bengal’s Bankura district, are the lip-smacking poppy fritters or more popularly termed, Posto Bora. Primarily a Ghoti dish (Ghoti refers to the section of people who originally belonged to West Bengal and did not migrate from Bangladesh), Posto Bora has been a common delicacy in the districts of Bankura and Birbhum. People of these regions prefer eating these fritters hot out of the frying pans, along with a steaming plate of rice, dal and a dollop of ghee (clarified butter).
The mixture for the fritters is generally made from poppy seed paste, along with diced chillies, garlic and onion. This is done for two reasons. First, it’s unhealthy to consume fritters made only of poppy seed paste (due to its high opium content) and secondly, poppy is an extremely expensive ingredient. Additionally, the onion and other ingredients provide a body to the dish, making the batter thicker and easier to fry.
However, the purists may object to such inclusions, since the inhabitants of Bankura originally prepared Posto Bora as a strictly vegetarian dish, devoid of onion or garlic. It was made solely with the paste and used to be prepared as a big, round cake of sorts, from which they would break portions and serve it up.