Poshto roughly translates to poppy seeds and refers to the singular ingredient that takes an array of vegetables, envelopes it in its creamy paste and turns it into something spectacular.
You've often heard me brag about my mother-in law's excellent culinary skills. So on a recent visit, when she was cooking some wonderful dishes for a dinner party, I stood around handy with a note pad and camera and scribbled and clicked away.
There are many veggies that are used to make poshto though potato seems to be an ever present entity. In this version, ridge gourd a.k.a tori readily found in Indian grocery stores is key.
This is what it looks hanging on its vine,
Like most gourds it holds on a ton of water so you chop up what looks like a massive bowl of veggies only to be left with a teeny tiny bit after cooking.
That said, gourds are my favorite vegetables sue to their delicate flavors.
The poppy seeds are first soaked in boiling water and then ground into a fine paste. You dont want to omit this step or you just end up with a whole bunch of seeds in the veggies and no paste.
Then come the seasonings;
Panch phoron which is particular to Bengali cuisine are whole seeds is equal parts - nigella seeds, fenugreek, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds. If you have these at home, use 1/2 tsp and mix these together in a bowl or buy ready made at the Indian grocery store.
Once you get the grocery store run out of the way and have the ingredients, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying this incredible dish. Shy cooking it of course.
Serve traditionally with a simple dal and fried fish or macher jhaal (mustard fish) and boiled white rice or equally delish with some rice and ghee if you're just not up to thr whole spread.
Dig into this veggie and you'll get why its so beloved by so many. Including moi.