(Lima) Beans and Delhi Cha(a)t

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hit the Heat with Potatoes and Greens

This blog has not kept pace well with the rest of the food blogging world. The reason if you ask me is just one--summer. While I am aware that summer is a time for frolick across many European countries, in north India, it's living hell. Temperatures ranging between 40 degree C (106 F) to 47 C (113 F), unending power cuts, acute water scarcity, extreme humidity. The result? It leaves me listless and cranky, and food--eating or cooking--is the last thing on my mind.

However, just because I feel sad to be away from this blog and you all for long, I keep returning. I will, even if the walk is a little slow until the rains come.

And now, to cut the enervated rambling, here's the crux of the matter. Today's dish is Bengal's own comfort food, an item Bengalis might claim a patent for, just like the South of India can for Dosas and Idlis. It's a poppy-seed paste based dry dish, with potatoes and ridge gourd as the main ingredients. What else goes into it? Let's find out!

Alu-Jhinge Posto (Potato-Ridge Gourd in Poppy Seed Paste)


Ridge gourd: 1, chopped into small pieces
Potato: 2, medium sized, cut in cubes
Poppy seeds paste: 2 tablespoons
Nigella: 1/2 teaspoon
Green chilli: 3-4, slit lengthwise
Salt, to taste


1. Heat oil in a wok and add the nigella seeds.
2. Add the potatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes. Now add the ridge gourd. Stir for another two minutes.
3. Add the poppy seeds paste.
4. Cover and cook, stirring in between.
5. Add half a cup of water and let simmer.
6. When potatoes are cooked, add salt and the slit green chillies.
7. Serve with hot rice.

Bengalis usually cook this using mustard oil, but you can use any vegetable oil. The taste of poppy seeds paste is unique and has a magnetic effect on the foodie subjected to it. So do give this very Bengali dish, a part of the culture's everyday fare, a try. And if you do, don't forget to let me know how you liked it.

And while we are at it, let this be my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, insituted by the famous Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. This weekend, as Kalyn is off to San Fransisco for a trip, WHB is being hosted by Gabriella of the wonderful blog My Life As A Reluctant Housewife. All of you interested in learning about herbs from across the globe, peek into Gabriealla's blog for the round up.

Until the rains come...

~ Sury

11 comment(s):

Your post reminded me of my native place. We have these high temperature summers and power cuts for more than 12 hours a day!!!. But still it is a good place compared to what I stay now. Only good thing in Kansas City is, we can atleast switch on AC at home. but if we go out, god should save us :).
I liked the posto recipe very much.thanks for sharing.

By Anonymous shilpa, at 3:02 AM  

Hi! looks great. I have never had anything like it.

What is Nigella?

Look for the round up on Monday.

By Anonymous Gabriella, at 1:21 PM  

Looks great! I will have to try this week.

Gabriella - Nigella is also known as Kalonji. Sometimes called "onion seed," although it is not - it's the seeds of the flower called "Love In The Mist. You can get it at Indian stores.

By Anonymous Diane, at 9:37 PM  

Sorry to hear about the dreadful heat. Here in Utah it's around 95F most days, which is hot enough, and it's not at all humid, which makes it a bit better. Above 100 with a lot of humidity would be very hard to handle.

Sury, you are too kind, but really I am NOT famous!! Only in my dreams.

By Anonymous Kalyn, at 7:36 AM  

Anonymous comment:

Thanks for the recipe. My parents living in North India complain about the same thing.

By Anonymous Sury, at 8:09 AM  

So you get the idea about the heat, Shilpa. It's really terrible. Do let me know if you try out the recipe :)

Thanks, Gabriella! I see Diane answered your question on nigella rather well, so I won't repeat. If you search for it on Google, you will get a ton of information as well :)

Diane, glad you like the recipe. Do let me know how it turns out in your kitchen :)

, thanks for the sympathies. And of course, you are famous. I doubt there are many in the food blogging world who don't know you. And it's quite a sizable world at that.

Anonymous, thanks for the kind words :)

By Anonymous Sury, at 8:16 AM  

I hate it when it's too hot. But thank you for making this wonderful looking dish for us.

By Anonymous sher, at 1:12 PM  

i simply LOVE posto, i love eating 'kacha posto' spiked mustard oil, slit green chillies and salt with rice.
sury, do you ever make 'panta bhat'? if yes, how?

By Anonymous rums, at 2:54 PM  

Thanks, Sher. For the sympathies and the kind words :)

Kacha posto, Rums? You mean ground into a paste, right? I love that too!

When my granny was alive she used to make panta bhat often. I will try to share it soon; need to ask Ma a bit.

By Anonymous Sury, at 7:01 PM  

ohh sury, your alu-posto snap has left me with severe hankering for posto. As we are presently based in UAE, POSTO is a strict No-No here. it is almost one year now since i last tasted posto except once when my mother-in-law smuggled in some Kacha Posto BaNta with her in a very unassuming "Chabanprash" container at the time she visited her.

By Anonymous kutus, at 4:09 PM  

LOL, Kutus, that's a hilarious story. I didn't know posto was banned in UAE. Poor you.

Thanks for dropping by. Keep checking in :)

By Anonymous Sury, at 9:03 AM  

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