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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lau Posta (Bottle gourd in poppy seeds gravy)

How do I classify if a recipe is 'authentic' odia or not ?? How far do I need to travel back in time to unearth its origins ? Now that people keep asking me that question, I have set my own parameters to gauge the authenticity of a recipe. If it was a dish that my 'Jejema/Dadi' or 'Aai/Nani' used to cook up, then I deem it as authentic else i contribute it to external influences. It is not a foolproof yardstick as both my grandmothers spent the better half of their adult lives in a place like Rourkela which has a very cosmopolitan feel to it. You find a lot of Bengalis, Biharis, people from the North and South alike due to the presence of SAIL in the city. But still they would have learnt a lot of cooking from their respective mothers ( girls in those days were trained in the kitchen at a very young age ) and picked up the nuances of regional Odia cooking.

However, I cannot say the same for the next generation ( my Mom, MIL, mausi, etc ) who were influenced to a great extent by magazines like Women's era, Grihalakshmi and the sort. Now this would vary from person to person given the kind of environment that they were exposed to. Not very accurate, many would argue. I agree on that point.  Given some kind of documentation, things would be easier to decide but sadly Odia recipes are not very widely published. One might find something written in Odia but it is difficult to find a good book that has been written in English. That acts as a hindrance for some people of my generation who are not very fluent in the written word owing to a convent school background within the state or maybe because their fathers were working in another part of the country or even abroad. But with a lot of Odia blogs coming up these days, things are looking brighter and better.

Coming to the recipe that I am sharing today, I first read about it in a Facebook group. It is very similar to the 'Janhi-Posto' but cooked using the traditional 'batibasa' method. Very easy and quick to make and quite delicious tasting too. Read on for the details -

















Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 small bottle gourd (peeled and diced)
  • 1 medium sized potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1 medium sized onion (cut into small pieces)
  • 10 garlic flakes
  • 1 medium sized tomato ( finely chopped)
  • 2-3 green chilis
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric
  • 1/3 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp mustard oil + extra for drizzling later
  • 1-2 tsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp badi chura ( urad dal vadis, fried and crushed )
  • salt to taste


Preparation - Dry grind the poppy seeds with 1 green chili and 7 garlic flakes. Then add little water and grind again to get a smooth paste.

Take the chopped vegetables, chopped onion, slit green chili, turmeric, red chili powder, mustard oil, bay leaf, half of the cilantro, poppy seeds paste and salt in a wok. Add 1/2 cup water and mix well.

















Cooking - Put the wok on a low flame and cover with a lid.

Stir once or twice in between. Do check for water and top up with more hot water if it is catching at the bottom. ( Usually the vegetables leave a lot of water and extra water will not be required )

Once the vegetables are cooked through, add some more mustard oil (another 1-2 tsp), crushed garlic flakes and chopped cilantro. Give a stir and remove from flame.

Garnish with the badi chura just before serving.

















Enjoy with white rice or even rotis.

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