I grew up with eating a lot of poppy seeds and absolutely adore them. They somewhat make me feel snug and my grandmothers poppy seed cake is one of my most delicious childhood memories.
After marrying my Bengali husband I figured that Bengalis love their poppy seeds as well. They are used lavishly in Bengali cooking, but in a very different way to what I knew.
Posto is the Bengali word for poppy seeds and they are mostly ground to a creamy paste, which is often mixed with vegetables and eaten with rice. It’s fascinating how a familiar ingredient incarnates to something else in a different cultural background. I quickly fell in love with this posto. And my husband, on the other side, became a big fan of poppy seed cake. Yeah.
This recipe for poppy seed curry is loosely adapted from a dish our Bengali cook Budhan-da cooks. Traditionally posto is cooked with white poppy seeds, but it also tastes nice with the black variety. It’s best eaten together with some plain white rice, but we also like it over mashed potatoes.
Spring Onion & Poppy Seed Curry
For 3 - 4 people.
- 60 gram poppy seeds (white or black)
- 2 medium potatoes
- 3 - 4 spring onions
- 1 tablespoon mustard oil
- Salt to taste
1. Add the poppy seeds and 100 ml water to a small blender and grind the seeds to a paste. Add a bit more water if it feels too dry.
Grinding the poppy seeds properly is the most important step in this recipe as poppy seeds only release their flavour when ground. The paste won’t be completely smooth, but don’t give up too early. You will understand it best by rubbing it between your fingers and tasting it. Once the seeds are broken down properly it will feel slightly creamy and the taste will change. Set the paste aside.
2. Peel the potatoes and cut into small wedges. Boil in salted water till almost soft.
3. Separate the white and green parts of the onion. Cut the white onions into wedges and the green part into 2 cm long pieces.
4. Heat the oil over medium high heat and add the white onion wedges. Fry for 3 - 4 minutes till they are soft and slightly brown. Add the potatoes and green onion pieces and fry till soft. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary. Reduce heat too low.
5. Now add the poppy seeds paste to the pan. Clean the blender jar with another 100 ml water and also add this. Heat through and it is ready to eat. Make sure you don’t cook the poppy seeds too long, especially the black poppy seeds tend to get unpleasantly dry quickly.