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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Home Style Alu Posto.....Comfort Food At Its Best



At times spice-admirers like us need a break from routine curries...yet we crave for a soothing and light which has all the goodness of a curry sans the heat and depth of spices.And then....there are days when time flies and you need to make something delicious before its lunch.JAll those times call for making this potato and poppy seed comfort food which is exceptionally light on the stomach.J

White poppy seeds add a subtle flavor and hints of sweet nuttiness which pairs perfectly with potatoes.Apart from being a favorite choice when it comes to cooking with potatoes, this dish also brings to life cherished memories. The stories and fables which kept us kids engrossed while Grandma settled to feed us small mounds of rice and alu posto enriched with a generous dollop of homemade ghee,the whiff of magic as we ran past her kitchen while this curry and numerous other goodies cooked.....that makes this curry priceless.
Enjoy this curry with Kaanika Pulav,Home Style Daal & Hot Sweet Tomato Chutney for a delectable feast.J

Serves : 4

Ingredients Required :

5 medium potatoes cleaned,peeled,cooked and cut into small cubes (about 2 cups of cubed potatoes)

4 + 1/2 tablespoons white poppy seeds (khus khus)

1 small (or half of a large) bay leaf (tej patta)

2-3 mild green chilies stalks removed and cleaned

1/2 inch fresh ginger cleaned and peeled

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (sabut jeera)

1 tablespoon ghee/oil (preferably mustard oil)

a small pinch of sugar

Salt to taste

Fresh,chopped cilantro/coriander leaves (for garnish)

Process : Place poppy seeds in a heat proof bowl.Add 1/2 cup of boiling hot water to it and let soak for 30-40 minutes.

                                           poppy seeds in heat-proof bowl
                                           added hot water

Use a small spice grinder and grind soaked poppy seeds for a few seconds.Then,open lid...add about 2 tablespoons of water,close lid and grind again till it forms a smooth and creamy paste.This step is crucial for giving the gravy a perfectly rich texture.The paste must be smooth with a few dots of seed here and there.If the paste will remain too seedy...the curry won't taste the same.Set paste aside.

                                           soaked poppy seeds
                                           ground into a smooth paste

                                           ingredients used including poppy paste

Next,chop green chilies and peeled ginger.Grind them together with a teaspoon of water into a paste.

                                           chopped chilies and ginger
                                           ground to a paste

For making alu posto...heat ghee or oil in a skillet.When hot(ghee melts),add bay leaf...stir once,add  cumin seeds and let crackle.

                                           melting ghee
                                           added bay leaf
                                           added cumin seeds and let crackle

Next,turn heat to medium and add pre-made ginger-chili paste.Stir well to coat with ghee and cook for a minute stirring occasionally till most of the moisture evaporates.

                                           added ginger-chili paste
                                           cooked till moisture evaporates

Then add cooked potato cubes and gently stir once to coat them with rest ingredients.Let cook for a few seconds.

                                           added cooked potato cubes
                                           stirred gently to coat with spices

Next,add pre-made poppy seed paste...stir gently to coat potato cubes with it and let cook for another minute.

                                           added poppy seed paste
                                           stirred and cooked for a minute

Finally,add about 1/2 cup of water,sugar and salt to taste....stir contents well and turn heat to high.As the mixture starts boiling...turn heat to medium,stir occasionally and cook for 6-7 minutes or till gravy is thick and coats potatoes well.Turn off heat.

                                           added water and seasoning
                                           cooked stirring occasionally
                                           till gravy thick and coats potatoes

Remove bay leaf and serve hot alu posto garnished with chopped cilantro along side steamed rice/pilafs/flat breads.Alu posto tastes good when at room temperature and reheats well too.



A From The Blogger’s Keyboard

ü Do not use over cooked potato cubes in this curry…we boil them till done but not mushy…else they don’t hold their shape after simmering in the curry.

ü We are more familiar with the flavor of ghee (clarified butter) in this curry.However,it tastes great cooked with (mustard) oil too.

ü Use boiling hot water to soak poppy seeds…this reduces the soaking time considerably and aids the grinding process.

ü Grind soaked poppy seeds in a small,spice grinder…add a few spoons of water to aid the process.

ü Take care the paste is completely smooth and creamy…with a few dots of seeds if any.This ensures a creamy,rich gravy.

ü Adding a bit of water while grinding chili and ginger makes it easier to paste them.We used mild green chilies…the amount varies as per taste.So use as many as you want to taste in this curry.

ü Do not use too much of any spices or herbs in this dish….else they overpower the subtle flavor of poppy seeds.

ü Stir contents of skillet as mentioned in the steps for an evenly cooked curry.

ü Take extra care after you add poppy seed paste into skillet…stir occasionally and gently to coat potatoes well.If left unattended….the poppy seed paste tends to stick to skillet surface and burn.

ü After adding water and seasoning…stir to mix and let cook till gravy thickens.

Happy Cooking & Have A Delicious Curry!!! J

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