Pnyaj, Tomato diye Posto: Onions & Tomatoes cooked in Poppy Seed Paste




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.

Poppy Seeds with Onion and Tomato Collage 1


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.

 Poppy Seeds with Onion and Tomato Collage 2


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)

  1. 2 cups packed sliced onions, pref. red onions
  2. 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes
  3. 1/2 cup white poppy seeds
  4. 2 – 3 tablespoon oil (pref. pure virgin mustard oil)
  5. salt to taste
  6. a pinch or about 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)*
  7. 5 hot green chili pepper
  8. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  9. 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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25 comments to Pnyaj, Tomato diye Posto: Onions & Tomatoes cooked in Poppy Seed Paste

  • An interesting recipe! I really like the idea of cooking with poppy seeds.



  • poornima krishnan

    What an unusual recipe! Definitely worth trying out.Great clicks as usual.

  • delicious and inviting dear…

  • Never used poppy seeds this way before. Looks like a great accompaniment to rice.

  • beautiful clicks Soma.

    What is the reason we are immersing the seeds paste in a water bowl while we need the water to be as lill as possible??

    The seeds are soaked, not the paste. I think the way I had written the method was confusing. I changed the order and updated the post. Sorry about that. Soaking softens the seeds and helps in grinding esp. if a blender is used. Back home the paste is made on the grinding stone! and that is the best way to it. I mentioned using less water in grinding as the water scatters the seeds around in the blender and it does not blend well. It should be a creamy paste.Hope this helps.

  • Though I love posto, I have to admit the posto addiction is not as much among the bengali dishes in Bangladesh. I make a similar dish with green mango instead of tomato without the posto. Do you think posto will go well with kancha aam?

    I think it will be divine! Now I have to try Posto with Knacha Aam. Thanks for this delicious idea. I agree that the posto is more of a typically West Bengal thing.

  • wow this must taste really fantastic! Your pictures are always so beautiful Soma! Love that embroidered ( kantha work?) fabric too- so conveys the origins of the dish!

    Thanks Rose. Yes that is knatha work. It was a blouse piece of my mom, which she never got chance to get it stitched. I had saved it for memory and used part of it to make a tiny dress when P was born. This strip was left over from that.

  • Kaushiki

    Soma – my fav but without tomatoes and onions. With panchforon and Kancha lonka…..yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm with gorom bhat…ahhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Yes Yes to everything posto. Knacha posto bata with knacha pnyaj, lonka and shorsher tel is another of my favorite!

  • Wow I have never tasted this curry something very different to what I have tried all this while…

  • Yay, another wonderful dish to add to my Indian cookery. I won’t normally add as much chilis but this is so good. I am so glad you had a good time with your cousin.

  • Wow!! I never had poppy seeds with tomato. My Maa makes it with onion only, called pneyaj posto. Looks delicious. It will be on our dinner table soon. Thanks!

  • Harpreet

    Hi Soma,
    I was raised in Kolkata and therefore, the association with the Bengali food. I was looking for a vegetarian dish with posto. Looks delicious! I will be trying this soon.

  • Though Ghotis use more posto but even we are not far behind 🙂 Particularly ei combination with pyaanj diye kori ni kintu tomar recipe pore ichhe hoche aajkei banai..

  • Mohana

    Lovely way of posting this didi…makes me feel honored !!!! miss you and the deliciuos food that I was pampered with at your home… !!!!

    Missing you….. LOTS!

  • Ooo you have white poppy seeds! I only know the black ones here so I’m assuming that will make the dish look very different. Is there a difference in flavor?

    To tell you the truth Simone, I have never made a paste with the black poppy seeds. have only used them in baking like everyone else 🙂 I have not a clue. But other than the color, I do not think there would be much difference.

  • Such gorgeous clicks Soma. I love the Kantha work prop. Looks so pretty. I have never made or heard a dish by name posto. I am going to try it for sure.

  • That is one gorgeous, spicy number! Love the dish, the story and the pics.

  • Hi there. The current Food on Friday is all about onions! So it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Wishing you a great week.

  • Pia

    I’d never have thought of cooking posto quite like that – but I can tell that it’s going to be GOOD!
    We’re on the edge of going home, so I foresee lots of posto-diye-ranna. But before we take off for Kolkata, I wanted to stop by and say: a very merry Christmas, and a happy new year to you and your family, from me, D and Chotto-Ma. Holiday hugs and much love, Soma 🙂

  • I don’t know what is more beautiful. Your recipes, your pictures or the gorgeous utensils you use Soma. Love the post.

  • Soma, bhaat boshiye dao….posto khete aschi…my all time favourite.


  • paola

    Hi, your recipes are really fantastic and you photos great! I have a question, I’m Italian and I’m used to see poppy seeds black….the one you used are a different kind, or if I use the black one (the only one I found) I can do the same recipe? Thanks!

    I think you could, although I have never used the black ones for this recipe. But I know the white poppy seeds are hard to find and I really have not seen them anywhere else other than the Indian grocery stores. But I suppose they have similar taste and flavors (the black and the white). The looks would however change 🙂 Good luck! Thank you!

  • Fantastic recipie ,

    Your illustrations are spot on feel like munching it off the screen ( LOL )

    Now I cant make a curry without making this condiment to accompany it.

    Im totally addicted to it , full of flavour & always a party pleaser.

    Thanks a lot….

  • abid javed

    so nice ……sweet dishe’s amazing

  • Poppy seeds are not something that is used so much here in the UK.

    What type of specific flavour do they bring to dishes like this please?

    Also like the poster above, I only ever saw black poppy seeds. Can anyone expand on how the white ones differ?

    It is very hard to explain the kind of flavor it imparts. It is very mild. In India the white poppy seeds are used and they are used mostly as a thickening agent or to make the dish creamy. Since it has a very mild taste, it can be used in many recipes. The difference between black and white is probably regional. I suppose (might not be true) that in warmer climates the white ones grow – the variety of poppy might be different. In India these are called “Khuskhus/Khaskhas”. In UK, you will find these in most India grocery shops.

    I think they will taste the same, though I have never tried the black poppy seeds in the way as in this recipe. Personally I feel that the black ones are a tiny bit larger as they feel crunchier. But that could be my personal opinion.

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