Monday, July 16, 2012

Pyanj Posto

This is for Bengalis all over the world who love their posto and siesta. In that same order. During my life in Delhi, I’d be surprised how the entire stretch of CR Park would look deserted in the PM hours of 1-4. All the Bengalis would shutter down their shops and stores and do a tene ghoom, Bengali for undisturbed, worry-less sleep. Very disturbing for the economy of the small migrant Bengali business community in Delhi. But who cares! Bengalis are not a business community anyway.

When we were kids, there was a convenience store or Dadu’r dokaan in the neighbourhood in Patna. I don’t even know why we called a 50-year-old man a Dadu! “Uncle” or Kaku sounds more respectable for a man that age. What made it worse was even our parents called him Dadu.

Now Dadu would shut shop during lunch and until dusk set in and go into temporary hibernation everyday. The grapevine had it that Didima would wake him up around five with a steaming cup of chaa and ready him with her kucho nimki, muri and tele bhaja, or some days a gorom shingara. These would propel Dadu back to work, before he shut shop again by eight. So we had a small window from 10 AM to 12 noon and again from 5:30 to eight in the evening to get our refill of lemonchus, chanachur, toffee, chire bhaja, pachok, dim, pauruti, makhon, jam, jelly, etc.

And Dadu would do it everyday for years. That’s how loyal he was. About getting his Zzzzs. Maybe he also had Pyanj Posto for lunch in lavish quantities along with his gobindobhog rice. But that we will never find out.


Ingredients for Pyanj Posto are:

1 large red onion, thinly slivered
4-5 tablespoons of white poppy seeds/posto + a little more to sprinkle
3-4 green chillies, slit
Half teaspoon turmeric powder
3-4 tablespoons mustard oil

Start by grinding the posto. Many people ask me how to do it in a grinder. Here is an easy way. Start by dry grinding first and then add water, little by little. To get the right consistency for the dish you are making. For Pyanj Posto, we will need a not-so-smooth posto bata/wet ground poppy seeds. You could throw in a couple of green chillies too when you are grinding the posto for extra heat.

IMG_2607With the posto done, start by heating a thick pan. Then add the mustard oil.

IMG_2608IMG_2609Throw in the slit green chillies when the oil is very hot. Then add the onions. Sauté the onions in low-medium heat till they are pink in color.


Then add the posto paste. Move everything around to coat the onions with the posto.

IMG_2611IMG_2612The Pyanj Posto should be cooked well till you see a thin line of oil at the sides of the pan.

IMG_2614IMG_2615At this stage, you can add a little sprinkle of whole posto seeds. You don’t have to, if you don't want to. Add the turmeric too. Season with salt. Let everything mix well for the last time.

IMG_2629Turn the heat off when the Pyanj Posto is bhaja-bhaja. Take the pan to the dining table to serve the Pyanj Posto with plain white rice. You may experience bouts of bliss eating the Pyanj Posto with bhaat.

Other posto recipes from me are here.


Nandini Bagchi said...

would love to try it... looks delicious

sunando patra said...

It's one of my fav dishes (because I can make this!)... thanks for that whole posto seeds tip... will definitely try next time! :)

krishna said...

i read it very late.. so i can't have piyaj-posto and bhaat now.. someday i'll definite have n go for a siesta.. :)

Priya said...

Irresistible dish.Quite inviting..