Tell up to 5 friends about this pagePoppy Seed

in Spices and Herbs
Print View
Poppy Seed Blue 

Used predominantly in European cooking, blue poppy is slightly nutty and sweet, with a almond-like flavour. Sprinkled over or incorporated into breads, bagels, pretzels and cakes. Good with aubergines and courgettes. Buy in small amounts and use quickly as the seeds tend to go rancid. White poppy seeds are lighter and more mellow in flavour than blue poppy seeds. They still have a nutty taste and are often roasted prior to being ground into a paste, combined with other spices, to flavour and thicken Indian kormas, curries and gravies. Try them in baked goods or desserts.

Poppy seeds are gathered from the same plant from which opium is produced; bluish black seeds come from Papaver somniferum and creamy white seeds from P. somniferum var. album. Poppies originated in the eastern Mediterranean, where 3,500 years ago the Sumerians called it “plant of joy.” The ancients valued poppy seed for its oil, though its narcotic and painkilling powers were also well-known. Poppy seeds have virtually no narcotic content, although people who eat them may test positive for opium in drug tests. Growing decorative poppy flowers and purchasing large amounts of poppy seeds for such things as topping bagels may be illegal in some countries. Poppy-seed oil is cold-pressed in small quantities for the table or heat-extracted for use in artist’s paints.

Poppy Seed White 

Both the slightly larger, oilier, bluish black poppy seeds (Hungarian or Dutch) and the smaller, creamy white poppy seeds (Persian or Indian) have a sweet, pleasant aroma and mild, nutty taste. Blue poppy seeds are stronger in flavour, especially after toasting, and are popular in eastern Europe, Holland, Germany, and Austria, where they appear in stollen, tortes, dumplings, Bohemian kolache, and noodle casseroles. In Ashkenazi Jewish cookery, poppy seeds top breads such as challah, bagels, and bialys. They are crushed to make mohn, a poppy seed filling for hamentaschen cookies and Hungarian strudel. Mild white poppy seeds are prized for their thickening properties, especially for creamy Moghul-style Indian korma sauces. They flavour breads, cakes, and cookies in Scandinavia and appear in Japan’s subtly flavoured dishes and the Japanese spice mixture shichimi togarashi.

Other Names
Adormidera (Spanish); breadseed poppy; dormideira (Portuguese); garden poppy; haşhaş tohumu (Turkish); keshi (Japanese); ¬_khashkhash_ (Arabic); mak snotvornyj (Russian); maw seed; mohn (German); mon (Yiddish); paparouna (Greek); papavero (Italian); papi (Amharic); papoula (Brazilian Portuguese); pavot somnifère (French); pereg (Hebrew); post (Hindi); ton fin (Thai); valmue-frø (Danish); ying suhk hohk (Cantonese).
Purchase and Avoid
Look for white poppy seeds in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian food stores. Look for blue poppy seeds and mohn (ground poppy) in German, Russian, and central European markets. Buy small quantities of poppy seeds, and only from stores with high turnover or from specialty spice purveyors.
Because they are high in oil, poppy seeds are prone to rancidity. They also tend to get infested with insects, so they are best stored in the freezer.
Because poppy seeds are extremely hard, a special poppy seed grinder is used to grind the seeds; if soaked first to soften, the special grinder isn’t needed.
Culinary Uses
  • Sizzle blue poppy seeds in butter and toss with egg noodles, spaetzle, or steamed potatoes.

  • Flavor muffins with lemon juice and zest and plenty of poppy seeds.

  • Toss asparagus with browned butter and blue and/or white poppy seeds.

  • Use white poppy seeds to thicken Indian lamb korma.

Food Affinities
  • almond

  • butter

  • cream

  • fruit salad

  • honey

  • lamb

  • lemon

  • raisin

  • strawberry

  • vanilla

  • walnut

  • yogurt

Cuisine: Global

Category: Spices and Herbs

Sub Category: Spice

More Articles in "Spices and Herbs"

Nutmeg and Mace
Nutmeg and Mace
Nutmeg is the large, light grayish brown, speckled, wood-hard kernel that grows inside the apricot-like fruit of a tropical tree. Surrounding nutmeg in the fruit… more
Posted on 19-Apr-2011 in Spices and Herbs
Allspice takes its name from its aroma, which smells like a combination of spices, especially cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg, hence the name ‘wonderpeper’… more
Posted on 3-Nov-2009 in Spices and Herbs
Asafetida is an essential ingredient in Indian vegetarian cooking. Asafetida is the strong-smelling, even stinking, dried brownish resin extracted from the root… more
Posted on 12-Apr-2011 in Spices and Herbs
Eksotiese speserye van regoor die wêreld is deesdae tot ons beskikking – tog beteken die beskikbaarheid daarvan maar min as jy nie weet hoe om dit te gebruik nie… more
Posted on 3-Oct-2009 in Spices and Herbs
Szechuan Peppercorns
Szechuan Peppercorns
Szechuan peppercorns are the dried husks that surround the seeds of the Chinese prickly ash tree (Zanthoxylum simulans). Usually reddish brown, the fruits have rough… more
Posted on 19-Apr-2011 in Spices and Herbs

More ⇒