Lao Posto (Opo Squash with KhasKhas/Poppy Seed)

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Posto or khaskhas or poppy seed is a pretty popular ingredient in bengali kitchens. It has this euphoric sleepy effect, which makes it a perfect ingredient for those lazy weekend afternoons, when all you have in the days plan is some reading and a nice long afternoon nap. And in a bengali household, thats usually the plan. We love our adda (chit chat/debates/political discussions), literature, good food and lazy afternoon naps followed by Cha (tea) and biscuit cookies (pronounced biskut) at 4:00 pm.

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Its not often that I find opo squash or bottle gourd in the local farmers market. I always do a little happy dance when I find them (Yes, fresh produce makes me happy! I am weird that way). This vegetable is one of my favorite, its versatile, light and packed with health benefits. But if your unable to find some, you can replace it with zuccini or summer squash as well.

Opo squash is very high in water content and usually shrinks to 1/2 the quantity when cooked so be careful while adding salt. Less is more, remember you can always add more salt later if need be.

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Time for Prep: 10 mins     Time to Cook: 30 mins     Yield: 4-6 Servings     Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized Opo Squash, cubed (around 3 cups)
  • 6 tbsp khaskhas/poppy seeds
  • 5-6 fresh green chilli, slit in half
  • 2-3 dried red chilli
  • 1 tsp black cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tsp ghee or 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste

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Process:

  1. Soak khaskhas/ poopy seeds in water for 15-20 mins.
  2. Heat 2 tsp of ghee in a pan in medium -high heat, add black cumin and dried red chilli, wait till they splutter.
  3. Add the chopped opo squash/ bottle gourd, pinch of salt and fresh green chilli, saute for 3-4 mins.
  4. Cover, reduce heat and let the squash cook until tender, 15-20 mins.
  5. In the mean time, drain and transfer the soaked khaskhas/ poppy seed to a blender, add a couple green chilli and salt to taste and grind to make a smooth paste. The paste should be thick and not watery.
  6. Once the squash is tender, add the poppy seed paste, mix it in so that its evenly coated, cover and cook for 5 more mins.
  7. Turn off the heat, add 1 tsp of ghee and 1 tsp of sugar, mix it in.
  8. Serve with plain rice.

 

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