Kumro Posto’r Chatni/ Pumpkin, Poppy Seed Paste Chutney9:56 AM
Ever since Sourashtra kitchen has announced the Think Spice: think poppy seed event, am literally drooling. Not only because one of our famous comfort food Alu posto is prepared with this but kancha posto bata or poppy seed paste with chopped onion, green chilly and a dash of mustard oil is something will give you good slumber. Poppy seeds are known for their cooling effects. Mainly for this reason poppy seeds are very popular in districts where the weather is very dry and hot like Birbhum and Bankura. But otherwise also it the most popular comfort food for Bengalis. Most Bengalis will eat their plate of rice with plain red lentil soup (musur daal), Alu Posto and fried fish. Apart from kancha posto and alu posto we also make peyanj posto (with onion), jhinge posto (ridge gourd), Chingri (prawn) posto, bati posto (ground poppy seed mixed with spices cooked in a bowl) and so on. For chachari which are another dominant Bengali style of cooking vegetables, also use Poppy seeds and mustard paste. Posto bora or Poppy seed paste mixed with spices and fried as fritters is another Bengali delicacy. Apart from these dishes where poppy seeds play the dominant role we have gravies where posto is used to thicken it and to give more texture.
These days price of the seeds are shooting sky and in most small shops they are not storing it. If you need it you have to order for it and give advance. But that cannot restrain posto loving Bengalis from their most favourite dish so the tradition is alive and kicking. But I have gathered a small tip from my in laws. They mix white sesame seeds with posto in 1:1 ratio. And I can bet you won’t be able to tell the difference. But I dare not as there are some Bengalis who are Posto lovers and even can tell whether the paste was kept in fridge or is freshly ground or more strangely whether the paste is ground in mortar and pestle or in a mixer grinder…well I know it as I have one such person in my family, my sister in law or Boudi. She loves posto so much that no meal is complete without it. Even after travelling for 6 hours and reaching home at 9 in the evening she happily could grind Posto and cook it. No, am not that Posto lover but love my rice with jhinge alu posto and patla dimer jhol (light egg curry).
But this time am not posting anything from these famous Bengali delicacies but something that most of you will find unusual in combination. Its kumro, Psoto’r chatni or pumpkin Chutney cooked with poppyseed paste. I never had this dish anywhere out of my family.
Like any other Indian chutney this also has that sweet and sour balancing taste. Where the sweetness comes from the pumpkin and sugar and the tartness comes from Amchur or dried raw mango. If you are a chutney lover you should try this once as all the ingredients are available in most of the kitchens. So without much ado here is the recipe
Kumro Posto'r Chatni
Pumpkin: 1 cup finely chopped
Poppy seed paste: 2 tablespoon
Amchur: 1 large piece
Mustard seeds: 1/3 teaspoon
Dry red chilli: 2 pieces
Oil: 1 teaspoon
Sugar: ¼ cup
Method: first prepare the amchur. Cut it in small pieces and soak in 1 cup warm water for 30 minutes. Then mash it with your hand and reserve.
Now heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Once hot add the mustard seeds and the red chillies. Let it splutter and release the aroma.
Tip in the chopped pumpkin, a pinch of salt and turmeric. Stir and cover. Let it cook for 3-4 monutes on low. Stir in between.
Add the poppy seed paste and lightly fry till the pumpkins are nicely coated and release a lovely aroma.
At this stage add the amchur with the water. Mix in the sugar and stir well.
Check the seasoning, it should be both sweet and sour but you can adjust according to your taste.
Serve at room tempararture as a last course.
This goes to sourashtra kitchen who is hosting the Think spice event for the month of December. This popular event is a brainchild of Sunita of sunita’s world.