what to eat in west bengal
. Fish is the dominant kind of protein in Bengali cuisine and is cultivated in ponds and fished with nets in the freshwater rivers of the Ganges Delta. Almost every part of the fish (except scales, fins, and innards) is eaten, unlike other regions, the head is particularly preferred. Other spare bits of the fish are usually used to flavour curries and dals.More than forty types of mostly freshwater fish are common, including carp varieties like rui
. The most preferred form of meat in Bengal is mutton or goat meat. Khashi (castrated goat) or kochi pantha (kid goat), is also common. Some delicate dishes are cooked with rewaji khashi, a goat that has been specifically raised on a singular kind of diet, to encourage the growth of intramuscular fat, commonly known as pardah. Pork is commonly eaten among the Santal tribes, and is quite common on the menus of Chinese restaurants everywhere in Benga
. The Nawabs of Dhaka were not the original Nawabs of Bengal. Their ancestors came from Kashmir as merchants who made their fortunes in Eastern Bengal in the 17th century. They finally settled in Dhaka, and, having bought large landed estates, they became the largest landowners in these parts. They were given the title of Nawab by the British. The Nawabs brought many famous baburchis (cooks) from many parts of India who introduced
. Many kinds of Kebabs, mostly cooked over open grill. Some of the Dhakas specialty of this genre are: Sutli Kebab, Bihari Kebab, Boti Kebab, etc., made from marinaded (by secret spice mix by each chef) mutton and beef. Kebabs are eaten as snacks or as starters for a big feast. Special kinds of breads: There are many kinds of breads made with cheese mix, with minced meat, with special spices, etc., all are delicacies enjoyed by the affluent classes
The Kachchi Biriani
. This famous dish is now the mainstay of a wedding in a wealthy family in Dhaka. It is cooked with parboiled rice cooked with layers of raw kacchi mutton pieces, quite distinct from the West Bengal variety, which uses basmati rice and pakki (precooked) mutton pieces . When on dum, i.e., steamed in a sealed pot over slow wood fire [gas fire, or electric cooker will not do] both rice and mutton will cook perfectly. Special spices including very expe
Whole lamb roasted
. Marinated whole lamb is roasted over charcoal fire. This dish is usually made on special occasion such as marriage feast when usually it is served on the high table reserved for the bridegroom and his party.
Whole roasted chicken or duck
. Highly spiced, cooked in a pot with lots of ghee.
Ombol or Aum bol
. A sour dish made either with several vegetables or fish, especially fish bones. The souring agent is usually tamarind pulp, unripe mango and sometimes amla or amloki is used. Curd, though a souring agent occasionally used with nonvegetarian dishes, will not be called ombol. It is served at the end of the meal as a kind of digestive, and to cleanse the palate.
. Pickles. Generally flavoured with mustard oil, mustard seeds, aniseed, caraway seed and asafoetida, or hing.
. Anything that has been mashed and then formed into rough roundish shape and fried, generally in mustard oil. Generally served with rice as a starter, or served with puffed rice crisps as a snack. The baora actually has quite a few different kinds. When potatoes are fried in a light chickpea flour batter, they are called fuluri (giving rise to the Trinidadian pholourie)
. Anything fried, either just after it has been salted or dipped in any kind of waterbased batter. Does not include croquettes, or crumbcoated items.
. Fish or vegetables steamed with spices.
. A vegetable, that has been put inside the pot in which rice is cooking, and it has been cooked along with the rice. Generally, you get potatoes, butternut squash, raw papayas, bitter gourd, snake gourd and okra in the rice. Bengalis often eat it with a tinge of mustard oil and salt. However, a very popular onedish Bengali meal is alu bhate bhat, which is potatoes boiled along with rice, and then served along with the rice. For this, generally go
. Any vegetable, such as potatoes, beans, sour mangoes, papaya, pumpkins or even dal, first boiled whole and then mashed and seasoned with red shallot, fresh chile, mustard oil/ghee and spices.
. Usually a vegetable dish with one or more varieties of vegetables cut into longish strips, sometimes with the stalks of leafy greens added, all lightly seasoned with spices like mustard or poppy seeds and flavoured with a pouron. Sometimes a chochchori may have small shrimp. The skin and bones of large fish like bhetki or chitol can be made into a chochchori called katachochchori (kata meaning fishbone). The stir frying process and the lightness
. Croquettes, usually coated with crushed biscuit or breadcrumbs.
. Very different from the cutlets of the Brits, this is referred typically to a crumbcoated, thinly spread out dough, made generally of chicken/mutton minced, mixed together with onion, bread crumbs and chillies. Generally it is then dipped in egg and coated in breadcrumb, fried and served with thin julienne of cucumber, carrots, radish and onions. Often an egg mixed with a teaspoon or two water and a pinch of salt is dropped on top of the frying c
. Tiny pieces of one or more vegetable, generally a dice of vegetables along with general odds and ends, often even the peels (of potatoes, squash, gourd, pumpkin, bitter gourd, or potol for example) usually flavoured with pachpouron, whole mustard seeds or kalo jira. Chopped shallot and garlic can also be used, but hardly any ground spices.
. Generally Bengal is one of the pioneers for this particular dish, making it with everything, including preserved mango sheets, called amshotto.
. Mixed vegetables or eggs, cooked in a medium thick gravy seasoned with ground spices, especially gorom moshla and a touch of ghee.
. Vegetables, especially potatoes, or meat, cooked over a covered pot containing water, slowly over a low heat, slightly steaming. The word is derived from the dum technique popular in Mughlai food.
. A vegetable, potol, stuffed with fish boiled, deboned, then prepared with Bengali fivespice powder, ginger and onions (alternately coconutvegetable stuffing is used). A misconception once arose that this was a take on the Greek dolmathes or dolmades, but has not been proven so.
. Different complementary vegetables (e.g., cabbage, green peas, potatoes or banana blossom, coconut, chickpeas) are chopped or finely grated and cooked with both a pouron and ground spices. Dried pellets of dal are often added to the ghonto. Ghee is commonly added at the end. Nonvegetarian ghontos are also made, with fish or fish heads added to vegetables. The famous murighonto is made with fish heads cooked in a fine variety of rice. Some ghontos
. Literally, hot. A great favourite in West Bengali households, this is made with fish or shrimp or crab, first lightly fried and then cooked in a light sauce of ground red chilli or ground mustard and a flavouring of pachpouron or kalo jira. Being dryish, it is often eaten with a little bit of dal poured over the rice.
. A light fish or vegetable stew seasoned with ground spices, like ginger, cumin, coriander, chilli, and turmeric, with pieces of fish and longitudinal slices of vegetables floating in it. The gravy is thin yet extremely flavourful. Whole green chillies are usually added at the end and green coriander leaves are used to season for extra taste. It is the closest to a curry, yet it is more of a jus than a sauce.
. A very rich preparation of fish, meat or vegetables using a lot of oil and ghee with a sauce usually based on ground ginger and fresh shallots pasted or fried along with a tempering of gorom moshla.
. Ground meat or vegetable croquettes bound together by spices and/or eggs served alone or in savoury gravy. Koftas are usually softer than boras which are mainly made of ground lentils, sometimes with added chopped vegetables. Telebhaja is different.
. A term that can also be called qurma, of Mughali origin, meaning meat or chicken cooked in a mild yogurtbased sauce with ghee instead of oil, poppy seed paste is often added to it. People of southern Bangladesh are known to add coconut milk to many of their dishes and korma is no exception.
. Meaning fried for a long time with ground and whole spices over high heat until shallot/garlic/ginger have dissolved into a thick paste. Usually applied to meat and some shellfish.
. Generally oily fish is sliced evenly, and then wrapped in a banana leaf, after the fish has been hit by a basting of freshly pasted mustard with a hint of mustard oil, chili, turmeric and salt.
. Literally, burnt. Vegetables are wrapped in leaves and roasted over a wood or charcoal fire. Some, like aubergine, are put directly over the flames. Before eating the roasted vegetable is mixed with oil and spices.
. anything cooked with poppy seed paste as the main flavouring agent. Often poppy seed paste with some mustard oil is eaten mixed with rice all by itself as a mild beginner for any Bengali meal.
. A general term often used in Bengal the way curry is used in English. The word first meant uncooked garden vegetables. From this it was a natural extension to mean cooked vegetables or even fish and vegetables cooked together.
. A favourite Bengali palate cleanser, made with a lot of different vegetables including at least one bitter veg, simmered with a hint of sugar and milk to bring out the bitterness of the fresh vegetables.
. Any kind of green leafy vegetable, like spinach and mustard greens, often cooked till just wilted in a touch of oil and tempering of nigela seeds.
. The first course is then followed by saag (leafy vegetables) such as spinach, palong chard, methi fenugreek, or amaranth. The saag can be steamed or cooked in oil with other vegetables such as begun (aubergine). Steamed saag is sometimes accompanied by a sharp paste of mustard and raw mango pulp called Kashundi.
. The ?al course is usually the most substantial course, especially in West Bengal. It is eaten with a generous portion of rice and a number of accompaniments. Common accompaniments to ?al are aaloo bhaate (potatoes mashed with rice), and bhaja (fritters). Bhaja literally means deepfried, most vegetables are good candidates but begun (aubergines), kumro (pumpkins), or alu (potatoes) like French fries, or shredded and fried, uchhe, potol pointed gou
. The last item before the sweets is Doi or yogurt.It is generally of two varieties, either natural flavour and taste or Mishti Doi
. Made from sweetened, finely ground fresh chhena (cottage cheese), shndesh in all its variants is among the most popular Bengali sweets. The basic shndesh has been considerably enhanced by the many famous confectioners of Bengal, and now a few hundred different varieties exist, from the simple kachagolla to the complicated abar khabo, jlbhra or indrani. Another variant is the krapak or hard mixture, which blends rice flour with the paneer to form
. Rshogolla, a traditional sweet, is one of the most widely consumed sweets in Westbengal. The basic version has many regional variations. Rshogolla is one of the three most prominent trademark of Bengali culture (along with Rabindranath Tagore and the festival of Durga Puja) and probably the face of Bengali cuisine to people outside Bengal (along with fish and stereotypical posto or poppyseed).
. Laddu is a very common sweet in West Bengal and Bangladesh, especially during celebrations and festivities.
. Ras malai is composed of white, cream, or yellow cloured balls of paneer which are dipped and soaked in sugar and malai or cottage cheese. This dessert resemble the rasgulla greatly. Though it is not a primarily Bengali sweet and originated from other places, Ras Malai is still very popular.
. Pantua is somewhat similar to the rshogolla, except that the cottage cheese balls are fried in either ghee (clarified butter) or oil until golden or deep brown before being put in syrup. There are similar tasting, but differently shaped versions of the Pantua e.g. Langcha (cylindrical) or Ledikeni. Interestingly, the latter was created in honour of Countess Charlotte Canning (wife of the then Governor General to India Charles Canning) by Bhim Nag
. Chmchm, goes back about 150 years. The modern version of this ovalshaped sweet is reddish brown in colour and has a denser texture than the rshogolla. It can also be preserved longer. Granules of maoa or dried milk can also be sprinkled over chmchm.
. A moa is made by taking muri with gur (jaggery) as a binder and forming it into a ball, made all over Bengal. Another popular kind of moa is Joynagarer moa, a moya particularly made in Jaynagar, South 24 Parganas district, West Bengal which uses khoi and nolen gur as binder. Nolen gur is fresh jaggery made from the sap of date palm. Moas are made specially during winter.
Tehari and Biriani
. Biriani is one of the oldest foods existing within these regions, and has its own food culture that is deeply steeped in history. The rice dish is found all over India and other parts of Asia, and is made slightly differently depending on the location. In Bangladesh, it is often made with mutton or beef, whereas in West Bengal you will find it with potatoes, egg, dal, fish or vegetables, and sometimes chicken. Tehari is a variant of biriani found
. This rice pudding dish is made using glutinous rice, milk and sugar. The sweetness is further enhanced by adding nuts such as almonds, cashews or pistachios, or dried fruits, cardamom and saffron for more luxurious versions. The dish is commonly seen prepared in temples, and in eastern India is consumed at special celebrations such as birthdays. In Bangladesh, the dish is made slightly differently, using coconut milk and semolina, which makes for