Aloo beans posto is a gem from Bengali cuisine. It celebrated for its subtle, creamy flavors. In this curry, cubes of potatoes and chopped green beans (French beans) are cooked in a creamy and delicate poppy seeds sauce.
This recipe is my version of the classic Bengali dish that I savored at my friend’s home in Kolkata, West Bengal. My friend’s mum prepared this dish in different ways - potatoes (alu postu), long bean, broad beans or hyacinth beans (sheem aloo posto), or pointed gourd (aloo potol posto). She ground the poppy seeds with green chillies to a fine paste in a stone grinder. I was amazed by her skill and speed!
For my aloo beans posto recipe, I substitute green beans for broad beans and I definitely prefer a spice grinder over a stone grinder 😀.
What is your favorite curry? Do let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you! xx Padma
This post contains helpful notes and tips to help you make the perfect dish. However, if you are in a rush, please use the "Jump to Recipe" link above or the "Jump to" links below to get to the section you want.
Allergens Free Labels
This Bengali aloo posto and green beans recipe is naturally vegan and grain-free. It is also free of:
- tree nuts
- alliums (no onion, no garlic)
This dish also does not have any tomatoes.
This recipe is different from the usual curries - it does not use powdered spices such as turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, or whole spices like black cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom.
As always, see the recipe card for quantities.
Nigella seeds: These tiny tear-drop-shaped seeds, also called kalonji in Hindi, add a heady onion-like flavor to the dish.
Mustard oil: Use this oil for the best results. The pungent tone of the oil complements the creaminess. Alternatively, you can use any good quality vegetable oil.
Poppy seeds: These are the main ingredient of this recipe. These tiny ivory-colored seeds are rich in taste and nutrition and give this dish its signature creamy texture. See the section below for more about this ingredient.
Potatoes: This recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, so make sure to pre-boil your potato. As you do for aloo palak, use a variety that is firm and does not become too mushy with cooking.
Green chilies: Use them sparingly if you can’t handle too much heat!
Garnishes: Totally optional - fried onions and finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves).
Have a question regarding the ingredients? Feel free to ask in the comments section below and I will try my best to answer it for you.
This recipe is so nice because it is so simple. You can make fresh, homemade food that tastes great with little effort. Why not cook at home, right?!
Let's make this easy aloo beans recipe.
Also see the video at the end of the recipe card.
Step 1: Make the poppy-seed paste (posto bata).
Soak the poppy seeds in warm water. This will soften them and they will grind to a smooth sauce with little effort.
Add the seeds, the water in which they were soaking and chili peppers to a mixer jar. Use a mixed grinder or a food processor to grind them to a paste: start with the water that you have in the jar and then add ½ cup of water, or as much as is required, to make a fine paste. Keep aside.
Step 2: Prep the vegetables.
Chop the green beans into about 1-inch pieces. Chop the potato (skin and all) into bite-sized pieces.
Measure the rest of the ingredients and keep them ready.
Step 3: Make the aloo beans posto.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it smokes. Add the nigella seeds and fry them until they are aromatic.
Then add the chopped beans and some water. Cover the skillet and let the beans steam for 5 minutes or until they are tender-crisp.
Remove the lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the chopped potato, salt, and the ground poppy seeds. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes or until the raw smell of poppy paste is gone.
The sauce will become thick and cover the vegetables. This is how we want this curry to be. Add a splash of water (only if required) to loosen the sauce.
When the sauce absorbs the water and covers the vegetables thickly, the curry is done and ready to serve.
I told you it's easy!
This is the perfect side to some steamed rice. See the section further below on paring this with other dishes to make a meal.
About poppy seeds
Poppy seed is the tiny, hard, kidney-shaped oilseed of the poppy flower. It comes in two colours: the blue-grey variety is common in European cookery and the ivory-coloured seeds are popular in Indian cooking. The poppy is a source of opium, so it is also called opium poppy, but the seeds lose their narcotic effects as they ripen.
You know the phrase that good things come in small packages, right?! Well, this is true for poppy seeds - these tiny seeds have healing powers. Read more about the health benefits of poppy seeds here.
Poppy seeds are used in Indian cooking and have different names - postu or posto in Bengali, khus khus in Hindi, gasagase in Kannada, gasagasalu in Telugu.
Cooking with poppy seeds: In European/Western cooking, these are usually used as a topping on bagels and muffins. In Indian cooking, they are used with other nuts and seeds as gravy/sauce for curries. There are also amazing desserts such as khus khus halwa and poppy seeds payasam.
Notes and substitutions
Should I roast poppy seeds? This is a question I get asked often. The answer is no. You do not need to roast the poppy seeds for this recipe.
No mustard oil?: Use any good quality vegetable oil or any other cooking oil of your choice.
Swap: Potato with sweet potatoes or red potatoes - for a delicious sweetness. Baby potatoes will work well too.
Green beans: You can find fresh green beans , also known as French beans, all year round these days. Use the tender ones for the best taste, texture and quick cooking. Frozen green beans are also good for this recipe. Just put the frozen beans in the pan, cover it and let them steam. Canned green beans, however, are not suitable for this dish because they can get mushy and spoil the texture of the dish.
Flavor boost: This recipe uses few ingredients to create more. The delicate flavors make this dish almost irresistible! You can, if you like, amp up the flavors by adding minced garlic and onion. Add them in before adding the beans.
Any doubts or questions? Feel free to ask via the comments below. I will try my best to answer them for you. - Padma
Top tips and time saving ideas
- Heat the mustard oil until it smokes before adding other ingredients. This will reduce its pungency.
- To make the best creamy aloo posto recipe, you need a smooth, fine poppy seed paste. If possible, soak the posto for 10-15 minutes longer.
- Do not chop the potatoes and beans too small. They should hold their shape and not turn to mush.
Meal Prepping Ideas:
- Use pre-boiled potatoes as mentioned earlier - this will save you time. I always have some boiled potatoes in the fridge as part of my weekly meal prep routine.
- Prepare the poppy seed paste in advance - a day or two before and store it in the fridge.
Serving and storage
My favorite way of having it is with freshly cooked rice and this green moong dal.
The mild flavor and the consistency of this curry makes it a good filling for a wrap.
Storage: This dish will stay good for 2-3 of days in the fridge. Store it in a fridge safe, airtight container.
Add these to green beans for flavor:
1. Minced garlic
2. Nigella seeds
3. Red chili flakes
4. Lime juice
Long flat beans are called broad beans or hyacinth beans in English and sheem in Bengali.
Green beans and potatoes work perfectly well together! They are the perfect balance between fibre and carbs. Potatoes do take longer to cook than green beans and so make sure you cook the potatoes before adding the beans.
Posto or poppy seeds is the tiny, hard, kidney-shaped oilseed of the poppy flower. It comes in two colours: the blue-grey variety is common in European cookery and the ivory-coloured seeds are popular in Indian cooking. The poppy is a source of opium, so it is also called opium poppy, but the seeds lose their narcotic effects as they ripen.
If you have made this mild and creamy aloo beans posto, please take a moment to leave a comment and /or a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! xx Padma
Aloo Beans Posto (Potatoes, Green Beans, Poppy Seeds)
- 1 heavy bottomed skillet with lid or a Dutch oven
- 1 big spoon for mixing
- 1 mixer-grinder
For the posto paste
- 3 tablespoons (~45g) posto (white poppy seeds)
- 5 green chili peppers, as mild or as hot as you like
- ¼ cup (~80ml) warm water
- 3 and ½ ounces (100g) green beans (French beans)
- 1 large (7 oz. ~200g) boiled potato
The rest of the ingredients
- 1 tablespoon mustard oil
- ½ teaspoon kalonji (nigella seeds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup warm water, keep another 2-3 tablespoons handy
Garnishes (totally optional)
- fried onions
- finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
Make the poppy seeds paste (posto bata)
- Soak the poppy seeds in water for 15 minutes. The trick to getting the best creamy posto recipe is to make a smooth, fine poppy seed paste. If you have the time, soak the posto for 10-15 minutes more.3 tablespoons (~45g) posto (white poppy seeds), ¼ cup (~80ml) warm water
- Add the poppy seeds, the water in which they were soaking and chili peppers to a mixer jar. Use a mixed grinder or a food processor to grind them to a fine paste: start with the water that you have in the jar and then add ½ cup of water, or as much as is required, to make a fine paste. Keep aside.5 green chili peppers,
Prep the veggies
- Chop the green beans into about 1-inch pieces.
- Chop the potato (skin and all) into bite-sized pieces.
- Measure the rest of the ingredients and keep them ready.
Make the beans aloo posto
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it smokes. Add the nigella seeds and fry them until they are aromatic.1 tablespoon mustard oil, ½ teaspoon kalonji (nigella seeds)
- Then add the chopped beans and some water. Cover the skillet and let the beans steam for 5 minutes or until they are tender-crisp.½ cup warm water,, 3 and ½ ounces (100g) green beans (French beans)
- Take the lid off, lower the heat to medium-low and add the chopped boiled potato, salt, and poppy seeds sauce. Mix well. Cook for 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken and coat the vegetables. This is the consistency we are looking for for this curry.1 teaspoon salt, 1 large (7 oz. ~200g) boiled potato
- Add the garnishes, if you prefer.fried onions, finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
- Serve as a side with your favorite meal. I love having this curry with jeera rice.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only.
The nutrition information is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.