Thursday, October 29, 2015

Palang Alu Posto Bhaja - Stir-Fried Spinach & Potatoes with White Poppy Seeds

Palang Alu Posto Bhaja
I usually use frozen spinach because it's so convenient, but nowadays one pound packages of pre-washed baby spinach are available in supermarkets and membership stores. They can be used right out of the container because they have been triple-washed and are very fresh. 

Sprinkling white poppy seeds or posto over vegetables as they cook is a common stir-fry technique used in the Bengali kitchen. Stir-frying the poppy seeds before adding vegetables leaves them toasted and crunchy in pleasant contrast to the softness of the cooked spinach and potatoes.

This spinach dish is seasoned very simply with sliced onions and ginger paste. More flavour is imparted by tempering dried red peppers at the start of the cooking process. Leaving them whole imparts flavour from the dried peppers without releasing a lot of heat.

Stir-fried spinach can be served as a side dish over steamed long-grain rice or with any kind of Indian bread. 

1 (16 oz.) container of pre-washed baby spinach
1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. white poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. nigella/kalonji seeds
4 dried red chilies, left whole
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. white poppy seeds for garnish
salt to taste

  1. Heat oil over high heat and stir-fry poppy seeds until they turn golden brown.
  2. Add kalonji and chilies, stir-fry until chilies darken and add the onions.
  3. Stir-fry onions until they become translucent, add potatoes, ginger paste and salt to taste.
  4. Turn heat down to medium, add a sprinkling of water and cook potatoes until half-cooked.
  5. Dump all the spinach into the skillet, stir well and add salt to taste.
  6. When the spinach wilts and all moisture is absorbed, transfer to a serving dish and garnish with a teaspoon of white poppy seeds.
Serve with steamed long-grain rice or chapatis

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