From learning Ami Tomake Bhalobashi in Bengali to developing a love for Bengali cuisine, we all are crazy over it. Isn't it? Bengal, an Eastern state in India rich in art and society, is famous for numerous reasons. Whether it is about being a tourist attraction or its popular Bengali sweets in the avenues of Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, Bengali sweets have a different growing fanbase worldwide. If you have a sweet tooth like me, these sweets will act as a cherry on the top.
Serving mache-bhaate (fish and rice) as the main course to Sandesh as a desert, Bengali cuisine has gotten unleashed worldwide. The tempting Bengali cuisine includes fish curry, Macher jhol, mutton kosha, chicken kosha, mouth-watering kheer Kadam (sweet dish), Sandesh, and more.
Bengali pronunciation, as well as Bengali taste, is so different that you can’t find them easily. You may find various Bengali restaurants in your region selling Bengali sweets and dishes, yet you won’t find the same taste that you will find in Kolkata/WestBengal itself.
Even there are myths over India that Bengali dishes are more on the non-veg side. Who said that Bengali cuisine is all about fish only? Whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian, Bengali cuisine is enough for you to keep your belly busy and satisfied.
So, if you plan to visit Kolkata, here are some dishes to have a must-try at least once in your lifetime.
● Aloo potol posto
One of the famous classical Bengali dishes gets made from poppy seeds. The love of the Bengali people for poppy seeds is well known to everyone. Isn't it? It is a typical vegetarian dish made from the preparation of potol(Indian gherkin) with potatoes. The masala for the cuisine gets separately prepared to give the flavors an extra depth. The masala comprises dry red chilies of poppy, cloves, cumin, and methi seeds which get roasted individually in a separate pan.
Shukto or Shuktoni is a cuisine usually served as a first-course diet made with the bitter guard, crunchy brinjal drumsticks, and bori (Bengali specialty). Generally served with rice, the taste of the dish is somewhat bitterish. Milk gets added to alleviate the bitter taste, resulting in the development of a popular variant of Shukto called Dudh Shukto. Other variants are also available of Shukto that include fish and turmeric, mostly edible for non-vegans.
The most popular sweet dish after rosogolla is here. Made with pure khoya (condensed milk) and sugar, the flavors of the Sandesh seem to get a heavenly touch. The meal requires some practice and can be made at home effortlessly. Only after tasting this divine cuisine, you shall be able to understand the craziness of Jethalal for his beloved Sandesh.
● Mochar ghonto
This delicious preparation of banana flower, potato, and crushed coconut cooked with some cumin and bay leaves is proof that Bengalis are not only about fish and rice. It is a dry curry where bananas get cooked along with potatoes and other spices. Apart from being delicious, this dish also carries a high source of vitamins and minerals and is highly beneficial for nursing mothers.
● Mishti Doi
Another super delicious sweet with a growing fanbase, Mishti Doi, is next on our list. Made with fermented sweet curd and sweetened with jaggery, this mixture is kept in earthen pots to remain chill, thus making it perfect for the summers. Bengali festivals like Durga puja or Bengali new year are incomplete without a small bowl of Mishti Doi.
● Tangra macher jhol
Known peculiarly for their love towards fish, how can we even forget about the mach (fish). Being situated at the Bay of Bengal, fishes are an easily available item consumed by most Bengalis. Among them is a famed dish called Tangra macher jhol, made from freshwater fishes. This spicy, sour, and full of spices dish would leave a powerful abiding impact of flavors in your mouth and warm your body during winters like a shawl.
● Chholar Dal
Sometimes, simplicity is far much better rather than having complexity. It perfectly applies to the cuisine, Chholar (Chana) Dal. It may sound quite simple and perhaps dull. However, the taste and spices of the dish signify the authentic Bengali flavors that you cannot contemplate from a 5-star meal.
● Illish macher jhol
Also known as Hilsa fish curry, this delicious Bengali dish is made with nigella seeds and chili to set a perfect combination. It goes completely hand in hand with the rice. One of the most favored fish of the region, Illish fish jhol, is something you should never miss from your checkpoint.
All these mouth-watering dishes are enough to push you to visit Kolkata at least once. And for sure, now you all must be clear with the thought that Bengali cuisine is not all about fish and roshogolla. There are several other camouflaged gems (cuisines) hidden behind the shadows of the popular ones. So, whenever you visit Kolkata, try to find the veiled cuisines of the place and realistically enjoy the area.
Some frequently asked questions include:
1. What is different about Bengali food?
Everything is so different and tempting, from the name to the taste of the dish. The touch of the Bengali spices in the cuisines makes them more alluring and stunning. Their unique procedure of making a dish makes the dish taste surprising and quite eccentric.
2. What is the most popular Bengali food?
The most popular Bengali food is none other than our most-hyped sweet dish named roshogolla.