Friday, November 07, 2014

Jhinge Posto - Ridge Gourd in White Poppy Seed Sauce

Jhinge Posto
Ridge gourd is a dark green, tough skinned vegetable that is soft and spongy on the inside with a similar texture to zucchini.
Ridge Gourd
Notice the spines on the surface from which it gets its name. The spines are inedible and have to be peeled away prior to cooking. Some people, including me, like to leave the rest of the skin intact, but I peel the ridges and skin because Hubby prefers it that way. 

It takes very little time to cook, so this is one dish I like to include in my weekly meals. Ridge gourd is not commonly found in North American grocery stores. It is available in Indian, Asian and specialty markets. 

White poppy seeds, called posto in Bengal, India and khus khus in other parts of India, are rich in iron and is known to have a calming effect. To soften the seeds in order to get a smooth paste, it is necessary to pour boiling water over the poppy seeds, soak them and allow to cool before blending. Salt and a green chili is added to the soaked seeds to add to the flavor. The blended paste is added a few minutes before taking the dish off the fire and serves to also thicken the sauce.


Ingredients:
4 ridge gourds, peeled & cubed
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. nigella/kalo jeera/kalonji seeds
1 tsp. ginger paste
4 Tbsp. white poppy seeds, soaked in 1 cup boiling water
1 green chili, chopped
2 green chilies, slit
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. ghee
1/4 tsp. sugar
salt to taste

Directions:
  1. Soak poppy seeds, set aside until cool & blend with salt & chopped chili.
  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat & sputter nigella seeds.
  3. Add ginger paste, cubed gourds & salt to taste.
  4. Cover and cook until gourds are cooked.
  5. Add poppy seed paste and stir well.
  6. Adjust salt to taste, add sugar and garnish with ghee, slit chilies & cilantro.
Serve with steamed Basmati rice or chapatis/tortillas.



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