Wednesday 22 February 2012

Aloo Posto

Sounds like a selfish thing to do but most boarders missed home for the food. 
Some Chosen Ones had their local guardians, some had God Parents & some super lucky ones had both. I belonged to the last category. I would go to my LGs every weekend. Dadu Dida loved me & I reciprocated. That was before I grew my wings & became nonchalant.

Then I met my God parents. Kakima & Sir. Dr.Sircar was the most revered faculty in the department. He exemplified everything an admired teacher stands for. Knowledge, restraint, dignity. He stood tall. In a world of sycophants, here was a man who was upright & looked up to by the HOD himself. While the student body thought nothing of bunking other classes, Sir's classes went houseful. He did not merely teach. He taught us to be. 
I gained admittance to Sir's class as a student & left the university as his daughter. Could not have happened without Kakima's role in it. She was his wife, his beloved, mother to him & their only son. A marriage ahead of its time, Sir had married a teacher from the school his mother headed. Kakima, five years his senior, was the centre of his existence. He had no friends, no hobbies. He only had her. 

Kakima welcomed his students to their home with the warmth of a mother. She hosted endless lunches for us & took our side in debates against him. The love between them was so palpable that it made a regular luncheon an affair to remember. We would often tell him to give our guys(when we had them!) a crash course on love. How devoted was the couple to each other. How immortal can love really be in the practical world. Not just teaching poetry to groups of youngsters but believing in it. Living it. We sure grew up with the right example.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Aloo Posto was an unmissable part of Kakima's menu. She knew we loved it & would make it without fail, apart from the other sumptuous dishes she excelled in. A popular Bengali dish, Aloo Posto(Potato in Khus Khus) is a must-have in most households. If you are a Bong, don't read any further. If you are not, read on to be intoxicated by these poppy seeds!   
Ingredients:[serves 3-4]
 1. 2-3 large potatoes- cut into small cubes
 2. 1-2 large onion- cut into small cubes
 3. 1/2 cup ground khus khus[soak in water & grind to paste]
 4. 2 green chillies - ground with the khus khus
 5. 1/2 tsp paanch phoron
 5.  Salt- to taste
 6.  1tbsp oil- to cook

1. Allow panch phoron to splutter in hot oil. 

2. Add salt & saute the onion & potato for 7-8 mins.

3. Cover the wok & let potatoes cook on low flame for 8-10mins.

4. When the potatoes are done, add the ground posto, mix well & take off flame when dry.

For those of you who like gravy, add 1 cup water @step 3. 
Different households make it differently.  

Aloo Posto is ideal with plain rice & ghee. You may like to have daal, bhaat, aloo posto too.
If you have a Kakima in your life, ignore this recipe. If not, learn the ropes.                                   
RIP Kakima. Sir is looking after himself.



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