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Posto boras — poppy seed cakes — from Zaika.
Zaika is chef Romy Gill’s first book.
Our cookbook of the week is Zaika: Vegan Recipes from India by chef Romy Gill. Tomorrow, we’ll feature an interview with the author.
White poppy seeds are a staple ingredient in Bengali kitchens. Here, soaked and ground to a paste, they form the foundation for posto boras (poppy seed cakes). “You can serve these as a side dish with a main meal,” writes Romy Gill, “but I love them as a snack.”
Growing up in a Punjabi family in Burnpur, West Bengal, Gill’s mother made the cakes regularly. Anytime her father had friends over for a pint, she recalls, they would be on the table. Today, they’re a mainstay at Gill’s home in Thornbury, England as well. Her husband Gundeep — who is from Punjab in northern India, and didn’t grow up with the snack — is also a big fan.
“I love them,” says Gill, “and I wanted to (share) the recipes that had connections with my family.”
POSTO BORAS (POPPY SEED CAKES)
100 g white poppy seeds (see note)
4 green chilies, seeds in, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) grated fresh root ginger
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) cumin seeds
Mustard or rapeseed oil, for shallow-frying
Sliced shallots, and mint and coriander chutney , to serve
Soak the poppy seeds in cold water for 30 minutes.
Drain the poppy seeds, tip them into a blender and whizz to a paste. Add the paste to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, except the oil.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. While the oil is heating, make 8–10 golf ball-sized balls from the poppy seed mixture and then flatten them.
Once the oil is hot, lower the temperature. Cook the boras, in batches, until golden and crispy on all sides. Remove the boras with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain the excess oil.
Serve hot with sliced shallots and mint and coriander chutney.
Note: Find white poppy seeds at specialty shops or online (e.g., singals.ca ).
Excerpted from Zaika: Vegan Recipes from India by Romy Gill. Text © Romy Gill 2019. First published in Great Britain in 2019 by Seven Dials, an imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020