Though Thanksgiving is round the corner and people may be searching for some delicious Turkey dishes, I am sharing a little uncommon Bengali recipe. It's a combination of Bengali's two favorites - fish and Posto ( poppy seeds ). Today's recipe is called Rui Posto, a fish preparation with Rohu ( a sweet water fish ) and posto. Bengalis' love for posto (or poppy seeds) has no boundaries. You will find many yummy names like jhinge posto, alu posto or onion posto in Bengali cuisine. Generally all these are veg dishes. Different vegetables like potato (aalu posto), ridge ground (Jihnga posto) or onion are cooked with poppy seeds in different ways. As usual, Bengalis slowly started trying different non-veg dishes with combination of Posto and Fish/Egg/chicken. These delicious preparations go well with hot steamed rice.
We grew up in a house where we used to have fish twice a day, both in lunch and dinner. Probably this is true about most of the Bengali family. Meat was only the weekend treat or for special occasions. When it comes to regular fish dishes, Rahu or Caatla is our first choice. Hilsa is obviously the most loved one, but it’s not available for daily preparations. These are all river fishes, also called sweet water fishes and very much available in Bengal.
We miss these river fishes in USA, though some Indian / Bangladeshi stores keep the frozen ones. Though we do not eat frozen fishes regularly; once in a while we bring this type of fish and make some of our favorite dishes. So last week when my friends came for dinner, we thought of trying an experimental dish and made this Rui Posto. It’s a very easy recipe with some basic ingredients. If you do not get Rahu, try this recipe with any white fish. Typically we cook any Bengali dish with mustard oil which adds more flavors. If you are not used to mustard oil, you can skip it and use white oil.
Rohu Fish : 10 pieces
Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp
Green Chilies : 4 to 5 or as per tolerance
Nigella seeds ( kalanji / kalo jeera ) : 1/2 tsp
Onion ( thinly sliced ) : 2 big ( preferably red onion )
Ginger : 1 tbsp ( grated )
Tomato : 1 medium sized ( chopped )
Red chili powder : 1 tsp or as per tolerance
Poppy seeds : 4 tbsp
Mustard oil / white oil : 8 to 10 tbsp or as needed
1. Clean and wash the fish pieces and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and turmeric, mix it well and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Take a blender, add the poppy seeds and 1 or 2 green chilies. Add 1/4 cup of water to it and let it soak for 5 to 10 minutes, then make a paste. Once it is done, set it aside.
3. Take a big pan or a wok, add half of the mustard oil, once oil is smoking hot, lower the flame and fry the fish pieces until they are golden in color on both sides. Once they are done, take it off from oil and set it aside.
4. Add the remaining oil to the wok, let it heat up, once oil is ready add the nigella seeds and slit green chilies.
6. When aroma comes, add the onion and fry it. Add salt and stir it until they are translucent. Add the grated ginger and again give some stirs.
7. Add turmeric, red chili powder and 2 tbsp of water, stir it and mix it well. When spices are well cooked add the chopped tomato.
8. Add salt, once tomato becomes soft and oil starts to separate from the spice, add the poppy seeds paste.
9. Give some good stirs and add half cup to one cup of warm water and salt. Let it come to a boil, add the fish pieces and cover the pan.
10. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes over medium heat. Take the lid off, check the seasoning and check the desired consistency. Drizzle few drops of mustard oil and add some chopped green chilies. Rui Posto is ready! Serve it with a bowl of steamed rice.