Poppy Seeds or Gasa Gasalu in Telugu, "Gasa Gasa" in Tamil, "Khus Khus" in Hindi is quite a common ingredient in my Kitchen.
Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are extracted. Poppy seeds of Papaver somniferum are an important food item and the source of poppyseed oil, a healthy edible oil that has many uses. It is widely grown as an ornamental flower throughout Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. (Source: Wiki)
Apart from knowing that this is an essential part of my pantry, I never really looked deeper behind the name. So reading on Poppy Seeds gave me a heady feeling!
Growing up I have always seen Amma using that Flat Stone that we simply call as Rurbu Rai (will get the correct spelling once I speak to Dad or Hubby dear, the experts in Tanglish at home). Refer to Sandy's post to what I am talking about.
Using that stone, it is pretty easy to grind Poppy seeds to fine paste. Poppy seeds are a must in all Non Veg gravy, Veg Kurma at home. So when I no longer had this stone at home nor my Mixer jar small enough to grind me small amount of this paste, Athamma suggested I make a powder of this and store.
This is how we make the powder at home.
Heat a pan dry. Pour the poppy seeds on to the hot pan,
Quickly with a ladle stir well so as not to burn the seeds. The moment the seeds reach the right temperature, they start crackling. That's when you switch off the flame.
Transfer to a dry plate and allow it to cool completely.
Once it is completely cooled, take the dry roasted poppy seeds in a dry mixer jar, pulse it couple of times. If you run it, you will end up extracting oil from you. So gently pulse it, till you see the seeds blended well.
End of 3 -4 times you may have ground almost all the seeds. Unless you are using a small jar, you may not be fully powdering it.
Again spread over a plate and dry it well. Before storing this in a jar, ensure the jar is dry and the powder is cooled down well.
This stays well for more than 10 days when refrigerated well. I haven't tested the shelf life beyond that.
Take as much needed and put it back right away for longer shelf life. There is no need to freeze this, but it may work well too.
Many readers have asked how I grind just what is needed for the recipe, this is the tip. I normally grind 85% of the quantity this way, small amount for using as a whole seed. All recipes in this blog that calls for poppy seed paste/powder is used by this method.
Poppy seeds have a creamy and nut like flavor, and when used with ground coconut, the seeds provide a unique and flavour-rich base for Kurmas, both Veg and Non Veg. I also use these in Pulaos etc.
Poppy Seeds add great taste to many Indian Sweets, where it is used in both powdered or/and whole form.
Since this poppy seed powder is such an essential and basic one in my kitchen, sending this to Jaya's B2B -- Back to Basics
Check out other Indian Basics for Cooking, if you are interested!