Poppy Seeds

Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy. These are like tiny hard grains. The Western type is slate blue; the Indian type, off-white. Both are kidney-shaped.

Poppy Seed– Names in different Indian Languages.

Hindi–  Khuskhus , Bengal –  Posto, Gujrati –Khaskhas , Punjabi –   Khuskhus

Tamil -    Kasakasa, Urdu –    Khukhus

Nutritional Information

Eastern poppy is an anodyne and narcotic.The seeds have appetising qualities.

Culinary Uses

In the East the white poppy seed is generally used.. Chappatis (Indian whole-wheat griddle breads) may contain it, and certain curries and varieties of mixed spice contain a small proportion of poppy. Its function in curry is partially to thicken the liquid and add texture.  Commonly used in the preparation of korma, ground poppy seed, along with coconut and other spices, are combined as the masala to be added at the end of the cooking step The whole seeds are used in chutneys.

In Bengal (West Bengal and Bangladesh) white poppy seeds are called posto . They are very popular and are used as the main ingredient in a variety of dishes like  ‘ Aloo posto’,’ Chachuri ‘, ‘Postor Bora’.

In Karnataka cuisine, Gasagase Payasa,  a liquid dessert made out of white poppy seeds, jaggery, coconut and milk is very popular.

In Maharashtra, poppy seeds are used to garnish anarsa, a special sweet prepared during the festival of Diwali.


Poppy Seeds should be stored in airtight containers away from moisture.


Poppy seed is very hard to grind. If you do not have a special poppy seed grinder, first lightly roast the seeds and use a pestle and mortar. They can be used either whole or crushed in cooking and bakery. When using them with uncooked food, such as salads, roast them lightly first, as this strengthens their flavour and aroma. When poppy seeds are used for pastries, they are covered with boiling water and allowed to stand for one to three hours before grinding.