Shorshe (mustard seeds) and Posto (poppy seeds) are two essentials of the Bengali cuisine. Nothing can be more Bengali than the combination of the two! The locally grown shorshe and its oil packs a pungent punch while posto – an ingredient popularized in Bengal by the British, thanks to their Opium Wars with China – smoothens the palate by providing a nutty, neutralizing flavour. This simple yet heady mixture can be used to make a variety of traditional Bengali dishes.
How to use Shorshe Posto like a local:
1. Mix 4 tsp Shorshe Posto for 250g fish/vegetables in little water to form a smooth paste. Keep aside
2. Heat 2 tbsp mustard oil until white smoke emerges. Add 1/4 tsp kalonji (Nigella seeds) or 1 tsp Bengali panch phoran mix (equal amounts of kalonji, fenugreek/methi, mustard, cumin and fennel seeds). Let the seeds pop
3. Add green chilis sliced along the length (optional, since this mix already contains dried green chili powder). Add Shorshe Posto paste. Fry lightly for a minute. Add desired quantity of water (warm)
4. Add shallow fried fish/prawns, or ridge gourd, or paneer or other vegetables of choice. Bring to boil. Dress with raw mustard oil for added punch (optional)