Spicy, tangy and with unique taste and flavors, this is lip smacking good, and comes with immense possibilities of much more than just a side dish. Will that lure you to making this for yourself ? At least once?
I have to say that the Bengalis are obsessed with Posto (Poppy seeds). We cook with them with pleasure and also sort of some kind of addiction. In a Bengali home, poppy seeds are not just to thicken sauce or to sprinkle over baked goods. These very expensive little seeds are well stocked and used in good amount, sometimes every single day in some homes.
This recipe is equivalent to a mild pickle or a condiment which will instantly spark up any meal. The best way to have it is spoon it over some hot steamed white rice.
Spreading it over flat breads will work as well.
The past few weeks whizzed by like a dream; every minute was different, amusing and full of surprises as I was still trying to absorb that I was actually together under one roof with my little cousins sister, her family and their two most adorable boys, after many years.
We have been planning a lot for the past few months – to sit down to talk, to catch up the years we have missed in between, to leave the kids with the dads and escape, just the two of us and go for a massage or even a stroll. Needless to say, none of that happened. With four children in the house, we all went wild! wonderfully wild! It was a very busy but probably one of the most entertaining time of my life.
It has been a while that I have heard or deciphered any of the sweetest baby talk or picked up and hugged a cuddly little toddler. The continuous hum of conversation with them in all “baby language” has set me in the mood and I am still continuing with that with a squeal and a giggle even after they have left.
Amidst cooking, eating, talking and trying to give each other a break and also laughing and giggling over our childhood days, the days went by so fast and it was tough to say good bye, especially when the little ones assured me that they are only “going for a trip” and will be back in a day to stay with us.
What we realized is that life is quite different with a family around:) The time we dreamed of having as our childhood days back, holding hands and talking and walking the streets or calling over to one another through windows to share secrets is never going to happen. Nevertheless there is something so beautiful and comforting in spending time together with our children; see them interact with one another, bond and hope that they get to share what we did.
Well, during this short time, I tried to cook what she likes and she found time to cook some for me too. This is her recipe – quick, creative and quite unlike anything I have had before.
It is addictive and it is not just because of the “high” that you might get from consuming poppy seeds. Even the girls took generous servings to top their hot steaming white rice. No recipe can get easier or simpler than this. That it requires very few ingredients is a bonus. Go ahead and give it a try.
I might even try to make it a base sauce and add paneer or meat or fish to it. I have a feeling it would work really well! Ideas are brewing in my head and might find ways to a post too.
Pnyaj, Tomato diye Posto: Onions & Tomatoes cooked in Poppy Seed Paste
Ingredients: (Serves 4-6 as a side)
- 2 cups packed sliced onions, pref. red onions
- 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white poppy seeds
- 2 – 3 tablespoon oil (pref. pure virgin mustard oil)
- salt to taste
- a pinch or about 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)*
- 5 hot green chili pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder/cayenne
*Note: if you find that the tomatoes you have used are tart, use the sugar to balance the taste.
Place the seeds on a fine sieve and place the sieve in a bowl of water so the bottom part of the sieve is under water. Soaking them for a while before grinding helps. Make a paste of poppy seeds, and half the amount of green chillies and keep aside. While making the paste, try to use as little water as possible; grinding the seeds with too much water will scatter them around. It should be a creamy paste.
In a pan/wok heat mustard oil and fry the onions & tomatoes for about 2-4 minutes and then cover until the tomatoes are cooked through and becomes mushy.
Add the poppy seed paste, salt, sugar (if you are using) and turmeric and mix well; reduce heat, add 1/4 cup water and stir it in. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Uncover, add the rest of the green chili peppers and saute for 2-4 minutes or until the liquid dries up and the oil separates.
Adjust salt and sugar.
Serve it hot with steamed rice or as a side with parathas or any flatbread.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty Level: Very Easy
Serves: 4-6 as side
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