Jhinge Poshto – Ridge gourd cooked with poppy seeds
This is one of the most common but always highly regarded delicacies for a Bengali tongue. And at the same time not so appealing to a non-bong one. When I first came to Mumbai and saw a friend not exactly gushing over jhinge poshto, I actually thought he was weird, but now I know – Poshto and Bengali are made for each other and others sitting on the fence may not just understand the relationship – and that’s OKAY. So I’m posting this recipe for all my Bong friends out there - with a faint hope that atleast one non-Bong friend will try it out, maybe by tweaking the recipe a little to suit her and her family’s taste…………
Jhinge Poshto - Ridgegourd cooked with poppy seeds
What you’ll need:
Ridge gourds: 2/3
Tomato : 1 medium
Paanch foron: 1 tsp
Whole red chili: 2
Poshto/poppy seeds / khuskhus : 2 tbsp
Oil : 1 tbsp
Step1: Soak the khus khus seeds and the whole red chilies in warm water for as long as you can (say abt 2 hrs), that would make it soft and easy to grind. Grind in a mixer or a grinding stone, whatever you wish. My mom thinks grinding in the stone gives the real taste of poshto. I do it in my mixer – you guessed it right !
Step2: Peel the ridge gourd. If little skin is left, its okay, but the ridges have to be removed. Cut it into small pieces. Chop the tomatoes also and keep aside.
Step3: Heat a little oil in a wok, and throw in the paanch foron.
Step4: Throw in the ridge gourds.
Step5: When the ridge gourds are almost cooked, add the tomatoes and the salt. It will be slightly watery as ridge gourds release a lot of water.
Step6: When all the water has dried up, add the poppy seed paste and mix well. Since this paste will also contain some water, you will need to stir it a little to dry up the dish…..you’re done!
Some people like this dish a little wet, some like it dry…you pick your choice. If you like it dry, you will need to stir it for some more time…thats all.
Jhinge poshto is one of the tastiest dishes in the world…..at least for all Bengalis !!! We have it with rice...but there are stories about how Queen Victoria used to love eating rotis with Jhinge or Aloo poshto !!!