Apr 13, 2010

Janhi Aloo Posto....Ridge gourd and potatoes cooked with Poppy seed paste

A Oriya recipe finally! The recipe was sitting in my drafts for a long time and I just kept postponing it.Janhi aloo posto is one of my favourites ,the recipe posted here is straight from my mom's kitchen.This curry is a regular side dish in lunch during the summers at my mom's place.Most of the poppy seed based curries are eaten with rice in Orissa as rice is the staple diet here.Till  date I don't enjoy this with Rotis or Chapatis.
Janhi or better known as Ridge gourd in English or Turai in Hindi is cooked with diced potatoes in posto bata or poppy seed  paste or khus khus in hindi.The poppy seeds impart a rich creamy texture to the curry.The ubiquitous Posto or poppy seeds is a very common ingredient in a Oriya kitchen.It is normally ground on a shila bata or a grinding stone which is  a rare thing in modern kitchens now.The paste can be made in a mixer grinder also.
The Ridge gourd is a summer vegetable,with lot of minerals and with absolutely no fat content.It is mostly considered bland and not relished by many.
The mustard oil with its sharp taste and aroma gives a distinct flavour to the curry.In Orissa most of the curries are mustard oil based,even the pakoras or gram flour dumplings are also deep fried in mustard oil.

You Need
Ridge Gourd  - 3 long peeled and diced into 1" pcs
Potatoes      - 2 medium size diced into 1" pcs
Kalonji or nigella seeds ( kala jeera in oriya) - 1/2 tsp
Mustard oil   - 2 tbsp
Turmeric     -1/2 tsp 
salt to taste
Water      - 1cup

 To be ground into a paste
Poppy seeds or posto -3 tbsp
Garlic        -4-5 flakes
Green chilly- 2 long (if you like your curry spicy)

  1. Take 3 tbsp mustard oil in a wok and heat it till smoking point.
  2. Add the kalonji,let it splutter, then add the diced potatoes ,keep it on medium flame while stirring.
  3. When the potatoes are little cooked add the diced janhi or ridge gourd ,turmeric and salt.
  4. Stir  it ,cover and cook till the curry is nearly cooked.
  5. Add the posto bata or poppy seed paste to the curry,the posto can be ground in a mixer grinder with garlic and chilly,the poppy seeds can be soaked in little milk for 15 mins before grinding.
  6. Add the water,stir and let the veggies simmer with the paste till it is semi dry which takes nearly 5-7 mins.
Serve with Rice and  Dal and enjoy!

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