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Aug 10, 2006 04:08 PM

Seed Mysteries [Split from S.F. thread]

>white rice dotted with little black seeds that weren't onion seeds.
oh, maybe "kala jeera"?

did they look like this:

i personally think "nigella bites". not a big fan.

BTW, this might be sort of an ignorant question, but
how come poppy seeds "here" are black, but the bengali
item "posto", which i believe are poppy seeds, are off-white?

is it a different kind of plant or one is treated somehow ...
husked, bleached, cooked etc?

ok tnx.


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    1. No not those seeds - which is why I was suprised. I am used to these seeds you link to in indian food, the seeds in the rice had little thin 'tails' at one end that I had never seen before.

      1. Moved with extreme prejudice!

        I dont have another guess at what they might have been.
        I dont suppose they were sprouted mustard seeds ... I'm
        sure you would have recongnized those too.

        Any one else want to play "name that seed/spice/sprout/herb"?

        1. No idea about the seeds, but in Indian cooking white poppy seeds are used somewhat like ground nuts, i.e. as a thickener and enricher. They don't taste anything like black poppy seeds which are slightly nutty. The white seeds are relatively bland, like an untoasted cashew.

          4 Replies
          1. re: cheryl_h

            I dunno about non-bengali indian cooking, but in Bengal
            posto [the poppy seed item] are used in quite a few ways.

            From gluing them together into a little fried item about the
            size of a silver dollars [postor bora], which you would
            eat as a side with say dal ... these are pretty much 100%
            poppy seed.

            You can also make a batter out of them and use it to coat
            other fried vegeable, typically eggplant.

            Then there are some curries that use some poppy seed, and
            finally there are some preparations that heavily use poppy
            seeds [alu posto with potato, jinga posto [ridge gourd] etc.]
            Not sure if those uses are comparable to ground nuts.

            Anyway, I was basing this on: poppy seeds in a bagel -> black.
            The bengali "posto" -> white.

            1. re: psb

              I thought you were asking about white poppy seeds in general, my apologies. According to a quick internet search, white poppy seeds come from a variant of papaver somniferum var. glabrum which is bred to produce pale seeds. The flower is a pale milky color. Black, actually blue, poppy seeds come from papaver somniferum, the most popular color of which is red. The blue/black seeds are supposed to be sweeter and nuttier. There's no difference in the way the seeds are processed as far as I can tell.

              I bought white poppy seeds by accident from an Indian grocery store, thinking I could use them in place of blue. The taste is distinctly different so I looked up how to use them and all I found were recipes which used them as a thickening agent.

              1. re: cheryl_h

                excellent sluthing in response to the "posting of a
                bengali poppy-eater" ... thanks!

                apparetly the mythbuster people CONFIRMED eating
                poppy seeds -> register on drug test.

                1. re: psb

                  Yes, P. somniferum is the opium poppy ("somniferum" means "sleep-bringing.")