Aloo Posto is a Bengali delicacy. Aloo means potatoes and posto is poppy seed. In layman’s terms, this is a dish of potatoes coated with poppy seed paste. Simple, isn’t it? But even though this dish is quite simple, it is delicious. All you need is some steamed rice to enjoy this dish with!
Aloo Posto Recipe
Poppy seeds are derived from the opium poppy - yes you heard that right. The opium poppy has a very old relationship with India. Although it was not used as a gourmet cooking ingredient, it found uses as a medicinal plant. Then when the Mughal emperor came to India, it took the form of recreational drugs. After the drug is extracted, tiny white seeds are left behind, which are interestingly non-narcotic. These seeds then made their way into the royal kitchens. They were used for thickening gravies or adding a bit of texture to dishes.
One of the results was this delicious and simple recipe for aloo posto. While traditionally Bengali, it is definitely a dish you would find served in many Indian households.
What Potatoes are Best for Aloo Posto?
You can use any potato for this dish that you have on hand. It is best to peel the potatoes and cut them into small cubes before cooking.
One of the better options to use, however, are new potatoes or baby potatoes. They tend to be tender while still holding their shape and not turning mushy. You want the potatoes to be fork tender but not fall apart.
What do I Serve Aloo Posto With?
Aloo posto is typically served with steamed rice. It can be a side dish or a main entree. If you want to add it alongside another entree for a meal, it works with many different curries or dishes.
I would serve with rice, some homemade naan, and something like this mushroom masala or chicken kofta korma for a full meal. Of course, what you serve alongside it also depends upon if you need a vegan or vegetarian option. You can also serve with a traditional mango lassi drink on the side!
Is Aloo Posto Vegan?
Yes. This recipe is naturally vegan making it a great choice for any family or friend that is plant-based.
What are Nigella Seeds?
Nigella seeds are often called black cumin and are native to the Mediterranean region but are found in Egypt, India, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. They add a flavor similar to oregano but truly the flavor is unique and not like any other spice.
What Can I Substitute for Nigella Seeds?
It is hard to find anything that is exactly like nigella seeds, but there are a few options that are similar enough in flavor and texture to work in a pinch. Before you substitute anything for these, I recommend checking your local Indian, Asian, or African foods markets. You will likely find them easily in an ethnic cuisine store or market.
You may also find them under the names: charnushka, black caraway seed, kalonji, or black cumin.
If you are replacing them in this recipe, the most common substitutions for nigella seeds are sesame seeds, cumin seeds, or celery seeds. Just know that they are not identical in flavor so it will change the overall flavor of the recipe slightly.
What If I Can't Find Mustard Oil?
It is easy to make your own substitute for mustard oil by combining 6 parts vegetable oil to 1 part dry mustard. For this recipe you would use 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder. Mix together well to create your own version of mustard oil.
Is Aloo Posto Spicy?
While not as spicy as some Indian curries and dishes, this aloo recipe is indeed spicy. The heat mostly comes from the green chile in the poppy seed paste. While you can use less in the recipe, it really is best to make as shown.
If this is too spicy for your tastebuds, mix it with steamed rice when eating so you are distributing the heat a bit more. It can also be served without the chile on top as well as with a bit of plain yogurt or cream.
Ingredients For Posto Paste
- White poppy seeds
- Green chili
Ingredients For Aloo Posto
- Posto paste
- Mustard oil
- Nigella seeds
- Turmeric powder
Optional garnish: sliced green chile
- Food processor, chutney grinder, or mortar and pestle - for making posto paste
- Large skillet
- Wooden spoon
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups and spoons
How to Make Posto Paste
Place the poppy seeds and water into a bowl and soak for 5 hours up to overnight.
Drain the water off of the seeds, then grind them and the green chili into a smooth paste in a food processor, chutney grinder, or with a mortar and pestle.
If needed, add additional water one tablespoon at a time to make the paste.
How to Make Aloo Posto
In a large skillet, heat the mustard oil and nigella seeds for 1 to 2 minutes until aromatic.
Add in the chopped potatoes and saute for 4 to 5 minutes until the potatoes are beginning to brown around the edges and are about 60% cooked through.
Next, add in the turmeric powder and salt, and stir to combine.
Add the poppy seed paste and mix well coating the potatoes. If you want more heat, add in sliced green chilies at this point.
Simmer over low heat until all liquid has evaporated. If it seems too dry, you can add water by the tablespoon to create the consistency of gravy you prefer.
Garnish with fresh sliced chilies and serve with rice.
Tips for Storing Leftover Aloo Posto
Aloo posto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a hot skillet or in the microwave before serving.
More Indian Recipes
If you want to add more tasty recipes to your menu, below are some of our favorite authentic Indian recipes. Delicious rich flavors that are aromatic and traditional and sure to please.
- Aloo Gobi Indian Potatoes & Cauliflower Recipe
- Indian Sambar Lentil Vegetable Stew
- Aloo Matar Paneer
- Indian Papdi Chaat Street Food Snack Recipe
Aloo Posto Bengali Poppy Seed Potatoes
- Chutney grinder or food processor
- Large skillet
For Posto Paste
- 3 tbsp White poppy seeds
- 1 green chile
- ½ cup water
For Aloo Posto
- ¼ cup water as neded for gravy
- 1 green chile sliced for garnish
How to Make Posto Paste
- Place the poppy seeds and water into a bowl and soak for 5 hours up to overnight.
- Drain the water off of the seeds, then grind them and the green chili into a smooth paste in a food processor, chutney grinder, or with a mortar and pestle.
- If needed, add additional water one tablespoon at a time to make the paste.
How to Make Aloo Posto
- In a large skillet, heat the mustard oil and nigella seeds for 1 to 2 minutes until aromatic.
- Add in the chopped potatoes and saute for 4 to 5 minutes until the potatoes are beginning to brown around the edges and are about 60% cooked through.
- Next, add in the turmeric powder and salt, and stir to combine.
- Add the poppy seed paste and mix well coating the potatoes. If you want more heat, add in sliced green chilies at this point.
- Simmer over low heat until all liquid has evaporated. If it seems too dry, you can add water by the tablespoon to create the consistency of gravy you prefer.
- Garnish with fresh sliced chilies and serve with rice.