Bengalis are unarguably in love with their food. Perhaps, theirs is the only community in the world where people start discussing the dinner menu even before lunch is over.
Apparently, a Bengali can compromise with everything under the sun, but with “food” it is a strict No-No. Their staple diet comprises of fish, vegetables, and lentils served with rice.
Although not much is known about Bengali cuisine, they surely don’t start with bhaat-macher jhol and end with mishti doi (as thought).
Let’s have a look at some delectable Bengali dishes the rest of should surely know:
It is a traditional Bengali sabzi, made mainly with bitter gourd, by which any Bengali meal is supposed to commence.
Along with bitter gourd, brinjals, Bengali gourd, papaya, turnips, etc. are also given—to this mixture milk and spices are added to bring out the authentic taste. Till date, this delectable item is prepared every day by traditional families.
6. Bhaja Moong’er Da
It is a quintessential Bengali soup (dal) made with golden gram seeds. Come winter, and the Bengalis prepare this special soup with peas and cauliflower to jazz it up a bit.
Although it is one of the tastiest Bengali culinary brilliances, it is extremely healthy and even easier to make. Have this with rice, and add to it a pinch on lemon juice—I bet you’ll be craving for one more serve.
5. Dhoka’r dalna
This dish is prepared by grinding chola’r dal or Bengal gram and making balls or barfis out of the batter (after processing it) and placing them into a specialized, mouth-watering curry.
Chefs and household cooks regard this delicacy as one of the toughest items to cook—but the satisfaction you get after having one part is really worth all the pain! This dish is prepared, like the above two, sans any onion or garlic—so it’s perfect for you vegetarians reading this list, as well!
4. Chingri Maach’er Malai Curry
This is one of the most famous and tasty Bengali culinary preparation. Specifically a “West” Bengali item, here grand lobsters are cooked in gravy made of coconut milk.
Since grand lobsters are very costly nowadays, the same dish is prepared with simple prawns. Once tasted, even thinking of this dish is bound to tickle your salivary glands!
3. Ilish Paturi
Ilish paturi has always been considered as “East” Bengal’s answer to the “West” Bengali Chingri maach’er malai curry. It is another difficult preparation made where hilsa (or ilish) is seasoned with a specialized mustard paste, mustard oil, green chilies and other spices and wrapped up in a banana leaf.
This is then steamed (mainly with rice) and served with hot rice! A must try for every non-vegetarians out there—not only for the taste, but also for the heavenly aroma!
2. Kochi Patha r Jhol
Traditionally, Bengalis weren’t much interested in items made of Chicken. For them, meat would always mean mutton (or, goat meat)—and the legacy continues even now.
Although numerous items can be cooked with mutton, the quintessential Bengali mutton curry, made only with ginger-garlic paste, onion and a few common spices, is what every Bengali craves for! Although steeply priced at Rs. 450/kg, you’ll always find a long queue in front of every butcher’s store in Bengal before any special day—even before Durga Ashtami. Try this with steaming rice and add a pinch of lemon juice—your lunch couldn’t have been better!
This is yet another traditional Bengali dish. It’s a dessert made on the auspicious day of Poush Shankranti, to celebrate Nabanna or the new crops. Although it can be made at any time of the year, every Bengali household makes it a point to cook this delectable delicacy at least on poush shankranti—it’s a tradition that every Bengali still values (it proves how much gastronomic a Bengali is!).
Patishapta or Pithe, as it is called often, is generally made of rice powder and coconut and served with date-tree molasses (khejurer gurr). However, there are around fifteen to sixteen other traditional ways by which this delicacy is made and served. Nowadays, specialized chocolate pithes are also being made and served by many confectioneries in and around Kolkata.