Durga Puja is just around the corner. The otherwise peace loving Bengalis come to life this time, and for them what is life without food? Bengalis have some of the best foods up their sleeves. If you thought Bengalis were all about fish curry and rice, you should really see them gorging on food during Durga Puja. While the rest of the country celebrates Navratri and keeps 9 days of fasting, Bengalis live on lip smacking non vegetarian snacks during this time. Heer are 6 bengali dishes that you should absolutely try out this Durga Puja, whether you are a Bengali or not.
1. Kati Rolls
No Durga Puja evening is complete without a heartful serving of kati rolls. As one of my friend said, “Who eats home cooked food on Durga Puja evenings?” True that. You will find kati rolls everywhere in Kolkata. Do not ask us to pick out the best, we cannot be that biased. But if you are outside Kolkata, you should definitely pick out the authentic Bengali shops to get a taste of the famous Kolkata kati rolls. Available with a number of fillings, each kati roll goes straight to the heart and makes your evenings even more colourful.
2. Mutton biriyani
Bengalis love their mutton biriyani and how! The Bengali biriyani is different from any biriyani you have tasted in the world. Subtlety is the key in this preparation. So, do not expect a burst of spices like in Hyderabadi biriyani. Expect a mix of yellow and white basmati rice, a couple of succulent, juicy and melt-in-the-mouth pieces of mutton, one boiled egg and a huge piece of soft potato that’s slowly cooked in dum. Again, you will get mutton biriyani everywhere in Calcutta, but if you want the best, head to Arsalan, Aminia, Haji Saheb, Alibaba and Shiraz. But even if you are outside Calcutta, you don’t need to worry. These food chains are all over india and you will surely find one in your city too.
3. Kobiraji cutlets
This evening time snacks is not just a treat to the taste buds, it is a treat to the eyes as well. One look at it and you will fall in love. You can find kobiraji cutlets in various varieties like fish kobiraji, chicken kobiraji and prawn kobiraji. These are basically cutlets that are dipped in an egg batter and deep fried. So, what you get is a light golden brown cutlets that is wrapped in a fluffy egg crust. If you have already fallen in love with the idea of how it looks, wait till you taste it. One bite of it is enough to take you on a trip to paradise. This might be a snack but is filling enough to not leave any space in your tummy and in your heart too.
4. Luchi and Kosha Mangsho
The good ol’ luchi and kosha mangsho can never get old and Bengalis cannot have enough of it. A Durga pujo is incomplete without a hearty serving of lighter than air fluffy luchis and a bowl of kosha mangsho. This preparation of mutton is a must have in every Bengali household. The mutton is marinated in yogurt and ginger-garlic paste and a variety of spices overnight so that the spices reach every layer of the mutton. The entire mixture is then slow cooked in an array of spices and ghee for hours, till the mutton becomes soft and the curry gets a dark colour. As soon as you take the first bite, you are going to experience a burst of spices in your mouth. This dish is not for the weak hearts.
5. Mishti doi
How can a Bengali’s durga pujo be ever complete without sweets? In fact, wherever you go in the world and meet a Bengali, they are bound to have a sweet tooth. When it comes to their favourite dessert mishti doi, there is always room for more. Mishti doi has a dense, creamy texture and you cannot ever get enough of it. After a huge meal, a bhaand (kulhad) of mishti doi is must to calm down your system and leaves behind its subtle flavour. I know I cannot have enough of mishti doi.
6. Ilish macher paturi
A bengali food platter can never be complete without their favourite item- fish. When it comes to fish, trust the king of fishes, Hilsa or Ilish as bengalis say to always live up to its name. No Ilish dish can ever go wrong. Whether it is a simple ilish curry or smoked ilish, it is never going to go wrong. However, we picked Ilish paturi because of the tenderness and simplicity of the dish. An ilish fillet is deboned, marinated with mustard paste, coconut paste and other spices and then wrapped in a banana leaf and tied with a thread. This is then cooked over steam till the fish is cooked and is so tender than when you touch it, it will break. All you need is a plate of hot steaming basmati rice, a dollop of desi ghee and Ilish paturi to lift up your mood.
These 6 dishes are just few of the many, many delicacies Bengalis are known for. This Durga Puja indulge in these culinary delights and make the best out of the festival.