Aloo posto is one of the most popular Bengali vegetarian food. It holds a special place in the hearts of food enthusiasts. It has a rich aroma and unmatchable flavours of poppy seed coupled with soft small cubes of potatoes. Alu post is a classic dish that exemplifies the essence of Bengali comfort food.
Come summer, alu posto becomes a common dish made for lunch along with biulir dal. Aloo posto and biulir dal (split black lentils) are a classic combination. Posto bata is known to be a calming food and after having a considerable amount of posto bata, an afternoon siesta will follow. Did you know that poppy seed is banned in several countries? It is after all a by-product of opium. There’s a very interesting article on deem posto and you can read all about it here- Link
Aloo posto is a traditional Bengali dish originating in Bengal. “Aloo” refers to potatoes, and “posto” means poppy seeds, which are the primary ingredient of this recipe. The dish is deeply rooted in Bengali culture and is quite a common dish. It holds a nostalgic value for Bengalis, evoking warm memories and a sense of tradition. Despite its popularity, it is quite a controversial dish as well when it comes to cooking techniques. Every district or region makes alu posto differently. Having grown up in a Bangal household, the way I ate aloo poshto is quite different from what Anindya ate, being a ghoti with origins from Bankura- Bardhaman. The tempering also differs. You can make this with nigella seeds and green chillies, panchphoron- taj pata-red chillies, turmeric- no turmeric, onion, no onion, runny consistency, stir-fried, there are hundred different ways to make alu posto.
How to make Aloo posto?
The beauty of aloo posto lies in its simplicity. The dish requires only a handful of ingredients that come together to create a burst of flavour. Here’s a list of the key ingredients and this is how I have learned from my mother-in-law. Potatoes are the main ingredient. They provide a hearty and satisfying element to the dish. Poppy Seeds are the star ingredient that adds a unique nutty and earthy flavour to the dish. Poppy seeds or posto are first soaked in water for 15- 20 minutes and then ground into a paste using green chillies. The best result would be from grinding on a sil batta or a mortar and pestle but then in the modern day and age, a grinder works fine. You cannot make aloo poshto without mustard oil. Also, you need to be generous with it. Green chillies add to the heat and that beautiful zing. Turmeric powder is optional. As I said, I grew up eating aloo posto with turmeric powder but people from Bakunkar and Bardhaman don’t use turmeric powder in posto. And adding a little bit of sugar is a must to balance all the flavours.
Here are more posto recipes that may interest you
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Aloo Posto | Alu Posto Bengali Recipe
- 4-5 nos potatoes peeled and cut into small cubes
- ½ cup poppy seeds
- ½ tsp sugar
- 4-5 nos green chilies
- 4 tbsp mustard oil
- salt to taste
- Peel and cut potatoes into small cubes (half-inch cubes). Keep the potatoes submerged in water before cooking.
- Soak poppy seed beforehand (about 20 minutes) and then grind it into a paste along with green chilli.
- The paste need not be very smooth. a little coarseness is preferred here.
- Now heat 2 tbsp of mustard oil in a kadai and add the chopped potatoes (without any water). Fry the potatoes on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Then sprinkle salt and cover and let the potatoes soften on low heat. Keep stirring time and again so that the potatoes don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, uncover and add poppy seed paste.
- Again on medium heat, stir this till the poppy seed dries out and the entire dish becomes like a stir-fry.
- Add sugar and add salt if needed. Finally, add 2-3 split green chillies and drizzle raw mustard oil over this.
- Take it off the heat and serve with rice.