Poppy seeds (Khas-khas)

Poppy seed is the dried seed of Papaver somniferum, a 30-150 cm long annual herb with a 0.5-1.5 cm thick stem. The stem is glabrous and has a thick waxy coating. The leaves are numerous, alternate, horizontally spreading, and 15-25 cm long. Flowers are few and solitary, growing on a 15-20 cm long peduncle. Fruit is a waxy-coated capsule. The seeds are numerous, small, white grey, and have an oily endosperm. The poppy is a self-pollinating plant. The spice is the seed.

Origin and history of poppy seeds

Poppy originated in Europe’s Western Mediterranean region and is now grown in India, Russia, Egypt, Yugoslavia, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, China, Japan, Argentina, Spain, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Portugal for legal pharmaceutical purposes. It is also illegally grown for the narcotics trade in Burma, Thailand, and Laos (the Golden Triangle), as well as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran (Golden Crescent). Poppy is grown in temperate and subtropical climates, and it requires well-drained, highly fertile, light black cotton soil with a high percentage of fine sand. It is a licenced crop in India because the mature fruit’s latex is used to make opium, a narcotic substance.

Uses of poppy seeds

Poppy seed (Khas Khas) is a fatty oil source as well as a food. It is widely used in the culinary arts. It is used in breads, cakes, cookies, pastries, curries, sweets, and confectionery due to its high nutritional value. Its seeds have demulcent properties and are used to treat constipation. In the form of syrup or extract, the capsules are used as a sedative against irritant coughing and sleeplessness.

One of my favourite and famous dish from poppy seed

Bengali dish  Alu posto

Alu posto is a traditional Bengali dish. With few spices, this dish relies on the flavours of potatoes, green chilies, and nigella seeds for flavour. The nutty flavour of the roasted poppy paste, which also adds body and texture to the gravy, stands out. This seemingly simple dish of potato and posto can elicit strong feelings of passion among Bengalis.

Although alu posto is traditionally prepared without onion or garlic, we occasionally add a fried onion to the alu posto for a pleasant variation.


  • mustard oil 60 g
  • kaalo jeere (nigella seeds) ¼ tsp
  • dried red chillies 2 pcs
  • onions 25 g
  • potatoes 500 g
  • posto (poppy seeds) 50 g
  • green chillies 4 pcs
  • salt 12 g
  • ‍sugar 8 g


  • Soak poppy seeds for two hours in water. Strain and combine in a grinder jar with 2 green chilies and 75 g water. Make a coarse paste out of the ingredients. Place aside.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-cm cubes. If you’re using onions, slice them as well.
  • In a pan, heat the mustard oil. When the onions are lightly smoked and pale yellow, add them. Fry until lightly browned (about 1 minute). Set aside after draining from the oil.
  • Combine the oil, dried red chilies, and kaalo jeere (nigella seeds) in a mixing bowl. Mix in the potatoes. Fry for approximately 5 minutes. The potatoes should not brown, so stir them frequently.
  • Combine the poppy-seed paste, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cook over low heat until the raw smell of the poppy paste disappears. This should take approximately 4 minutes.
  • Cook on low heat with the lid on until the potatoes are soft. When the pan dries out, you may need to add a splash of hot water to keep the potatoes from sticking to the pan.
  • 2 slit green chilies and 1 tsp mustard oil to finish
  • If you fried the onions earlier, add them now and give everything a final stir before serving with hot rice and dal or rooti.

Now your dish is ready to eat!!!!

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