Durga Puja 2017: The country is celebrating one of the most widely celebrated festivals – Durga Puja.Whether you are a ‘probashi’ or an expat Bengali or even if you do not have any Bengali parentage, this socio-cultural event will enthrall you and your near and dear ones irrespective of geographical location. Bengalis are true foodies and Durga Puja is a testimony to this fact. Amidst all the never-ending pandal hopping, what keeps the believers going are those sumptuous helpings of authentic ‘Bengali food’. The festivities are about to begin and as everyone is gearing for the four day affair, food becomes an integral part of the pujas. Here’s a list of 10 lip-smacking puja dishes you can put your hands on this festive season.
Luchi Aloo Dum: A Bengali breakfast is never complete without those fluffy hot maida puris with a generous helping of ‘aloo dum’or aloo torkari’. You can savour this goodie at any sweet shop in a Bengali neighbourhood or even better, invite yourself to a Bengali friend’s house to gorge on some tasty ‘fulko luchi’.
Mutton Biryani: There will be no end to the argument as to what goes into making of a perfect Biryani. But Bengalis love their biriyani, not with raita or fried onions as garnishings. An authentic Kolkata-styled Mutton or Chicken Biryani will always have a chunky piece of potato to go with it. The grains have to be long and separate and have that yellow tinge without fail. You will get it from the stalls installed near pandals.
Chops and Cutlets: Talking about authentic Bengali food and missing out on ‘telebhaja’ which makes for an important part of the cuisine is a big no-no. Cutlets and chops come in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions, giving some relief to the grumpy vegans! Fried with a coating of bread crumbs and accompanied with Kasundi, this will make for your perfect evening snack during your puja outing.
Puchka: Call it ‘golgappa’, ‘pani-batasha’ or waterballs, one street food that rules the bylanes of Kolkata streets is Puchka. These spicy balls filled with tamarind water are sure to excite your taste buds and you will end up asking for more.
Khichdi: In case you want to have this mind-blowing dish, you should head to a nearby puja pandal and the ‘bhog’ khichudi will surely bowl you over.
Mishty Pulao: The delicious Mishty (sweet) Pulao is something worth trying. Typically made with small grained fragrant rice, further sweetened with sugar and raisins, and spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, javitri, saffron, etc. This is something that is definitely worth a try.
Kosha mangsho: This mutton cooked in gravy is nothing like you have tried before. You can team it up with some nice long grained rice or luchi. This is nothing short of finger licking good.
Bhapa Iilish: Iilish, also referred to as Hilsa, has been dubbed as the pride of Bengal. As we know, Bengalis are little too possessive about the fish that they eat and this dish is no exception. This delicacy is slowly steamed in mustard gravy wrapped in banana leaf, the outcome melts in your mouth. Beware of bones, though!
Gurer Sandesh: Sweets make an integral part of the Bengali cuisine hence the list of delectable sweets is endless but ‘gurer sandesh’ tops the list. Made with date jaggery, cottage cheese and dry fruits, it should be a definite try for you this Durga Puja.
Misti doi: Quintessential ‘Mishty Doi’ is generally eaten as a dessert after a meal and has a dense ice cream like texture. This delectable sweet curd is mouthwatering and you can’t resist taking an extra helping.
So what are you waiting for? Get you hands on any of these dishes and relish on it.