Poppy seeds or khus khus is an oilseed obtained from poppy. It is used extensively in Bengali and Assamese cuisine, and I have been quite familiar with it since my childhood. It is what we also call posto in Bengali cuisine.
While I love alu posto and potol posto, I also like the usage of poppy seed paste in chicken curry. This chicken curry recipe with poppy seeds and nigella seeds is creamy, luxuriously thick and extremely delicious.
It goes very well with parathas, roti or rice. I like mine in a semi gravy but you can get the consistency as per your preference.
Before you make this recipe, make sure you soak the poppy seeds in lukewarm water for at least 3-4 hours. This step is essential to get a thick paste when you grind the seeds.
You also need to soak 6-7 cashews in water for about the same time before grinding it into a fine paste with some water.
Preparation time – 20 minutes
Cook time – 50-60 minutes
Serves – 4
- 1 kg chicken
- 1 bay leaf
- 50 g poppy seeds
- 2 medium onions, ground to a paste
- 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 6-7 cashews, ground to a paste
- 2 green chilies
- 20 g ginger garlic paste
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
- 3 tbsp mustard oil
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp meat masala
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- 500 ml water
- 1 tsp garam masala
- Salt to taste
- Soak the poppy seeds in lukewarm water for three to four hours. Drain them and put it in a grinder. Add the green chilies to it with one tablespoon of water. Grind it to a thick paste.
- Heat mustard oil in a kadhai. Allow it to come to a smoking point. Add a bay leaf and nigella seeds at this time.
- Make a fine paste with the onions and add it to the mustard oil at this time. Stir for two to three minutes till onions start to get translucent.
- Time to add the ginger garlic paste. Stir all the ingredients together in the kadhai till the raw aroma of it dissipates.
- Once the onions are cooked, add the tomatoes and stir till tomato starts releasing its own water to form a thick gravy. This would take about ten more minutes.
- If the mixture gets stuck to the kadhai, add just a dash of water to prevent it from happening.
- Season with salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric powder, and meat masala. Mix well for another minute.
- Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the chicken pieces. Fry the chicken in the tomato and onion paste for about fifteen minutes till they start to brown and all the water gets released. Make sure the chicken pieces are clean and dry, otherwise there will be too much water.
- Once the chicken is semi-cooked, add the poppy seeds paste and cashew paste, and mix well. Make sure every piece of the chicken gets coated in this thick masala. Be gentle with the stirring so that you do not break any meat.
- Keep stirring at regular intervals for another five minutes. Add water, cover and cook for another 15 minutes on medium heat. This is an essential step to ensure the chicken gets super soft.
- Take the lid off and check the chicken. It will be done by this time. As the last step, sprinkle some garam masala on top and give it one last stir.
- Garnish with some freshly chopped coriander leaves and green chili.
- Serve hot with parathas or roti.
Related recipe – Kasturi Chicken