Pyaz posto or peyaz posto is a Bengali classic and I hope I am not spoiling it. I love bengali food and have seen many families have subtle differences in cooking style of the most simple things too. Even pyaz posto looks different in different home although the taste doesn't change much as there is very little seasoning in there. Notes of nigella seeds and green chilly paired with nuttiness of poppy seed paste, balanced by sweetness of onions, this is what you expect from this dish.
It is a tasty comforting dish you would like to have more and more. Something which is healthy and wouldn't take you to the Guilt-land. Probably to the lala land of sweet dreams as it is supposed to induce sleep. No, it does not cast it's sleep spell on me. May be it does for you as it does to many happy bongs all around the world. Yes they are all very sentimental about their mustard and posto...
I have adopted Posto quite happily. The UP version of Posta (as it is called in UP) chutney and halwa has been a childhood favorite and those are yet to come to this blog. My maternal grandmothers' place was a Poppy hub, being a cultivation center of poppy since the time of British, this small town called Ghazipur is known for it's opium factory.
Our supply of poppy seeds was good and my mom loved making different things with it. But she never cooked any Bengali recipes. I learnt all these from my Bong friends, this one actually from an Oriya friend. Here s a dry version of pyaz posto.
All you need to make pyaz posto is ...
1/2 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup to 1 cup diced onions (depends on how much onion you like, I use less)
chopped green chillies to taste (keep it mild)
1/2 tsp kalonji or nigella seeds
1 tbsp mustard oil (do not substitute with any other oil please)
salt to taste
The recipe is simple...
Soak the poppy seeds (white Indian variety) for a few minutes, drain water through a fine sieve and grind in a chutney grinder of your trusted mixie. Adding little water while blending to move the blades well. A generous cup of paste can be made using about 1/2 cup of dry poppy seeds.
You need some Nigella (kalonji) seeds, some chopped onion and some green chillies and salt to taste. Just that.
And a little mustard oil to fry the chopped onion. The quantity of onion, green chillies etc can be varied according to how much of what you want in the finished dish. I used 1/2 cup of chopped onion for a cup of poppy seeds paste here.
Heat the mustard oil and tip in the Nigella seeds, immediately add the chopped green chillies and then the chopped onions. Fry till softened and pinkish. Take off the flame, add salt and mix with the poppy seeds paste.
Add boiling water to make the pyaz posto thinner if you are having it with rotis.
Serve hot or cold.
The dry version pairs very well with plain Khichdi or a brown rice, split green mung and Bottle gourd Khichdi is what I made with it. On the side is a begun Bhaja. A true Bong meal.
You would like it with Chapati, Paratha or even sandwiched in slices of bread as well. Some people like it mixed with plain boiled rice too. It is a flavorful scramble of a dish.
If made dry the pyaz posto looks like egg scramble to me. The husband often thinks it is an egg scramble. On that note, it can be a good breakfast dish too, even for Paratha loving Punjabis...
The pyaz posto can be thinned down a bit and cubes of paneer added, it makes a delicious curry with minimal spicing.
You decide whether it is a mash a scramble or a curry. But try it if you haven't already.
Pyaz posto or peyanj posto as a true Bengali will say, is irresistible if you love the subtle nuttiness of poppy seeds...