With the Bengali New Year (Nobo Borsho) here, can a discussion on food be too far behind? Obviously Not! Reservations at Bengali restaurants have already been made weeks back and any Bengali caterer worth his salt has been pre-booked for special Nobo Borsho lunches and dinners. And many Bengali home chefs are busy planning special menus for their friends and family.
If you’re planning to sample some of the sumptuous Bengali food over this weekend – here is a guide to some of the delicacies you must try:
This is the Bangla version of the ‘puri’. And must be served piping hot and beautifully fluffy. ‘Phola Luchi’ being the key words here. No Bengali, hosting a Nobo Borsho do would serve flat Luchis if they can help it!
Once you have a ‘Phola Luchi’ on your plate – there should be some ‘Kosha Mangsho’ to go with it. Kosha Manghso is a spicy mutton curry with a thick gravy. The consistency of the gravy being very important here, it mustn’t be runny, just velvety enough to scoop up some with a Luchi, and pop it right into your mouth. And of course some succulent pieces of mutton along the way.
For those preferring to stick to vegetarian fare, Cholar Dal is a good option to go with Luchis This is the Bengali Gram Dal, again a thick yellow dal with garnished with pieces of lightly fried coconut.
This is the Bengali version of the ‘Dum Alu’ – cooked with baby potatoes and peas in tomato gravy and with no onions! Alur Dom with Luchi is, in fact, a favorite Bengali breakfast! For a true blue Bengali – there can be no better way to start the day!
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This special food item is always saved up for the special occasions. Poila Baishakh and Bengali weddings being among them. Also called the Basanti Pulao, it is rice cooked with saffron, ghee, sugar and a generous sprinkling of dry fruits! This aromatic, flavorful rice with a faint sweet taste is the best accompaniment to Mangsher Jhol.
Once your plate is heaped with the beautiful Mishti Pulao or Basanti Pulao as it’s fondly called, some Mangshor Jhol must be poured over it. What’s more important than the pieces of meat in the Mangshor Jhol are the big sized potatoes that are cooked in the gravy. It is almost like the most prized item in the runny gravy. With everyone asking for one more potato to go with their Jhol (gravy) and Rice.
No Mishti Pulao here, if one is opting for Shorshe Maach or fish cooked in mustard gravy – it must be with some hot steamed rice. Traditionally, it is the ‘hilsa’ fish with mustard gravy that is much sought after. But other varieties of river fish like ‘rui’ also make a good combo. And sometimes one can simply make it with prawns!
This sweet and sour chutney is made with raw mango and is a hot favorite among Bengalis during the summer months. It’s to be had at the end of the meal – with just a little helping of rice. Or one can just slurp down a bowl and bite into the bits of chopped raw mango.
It’s the perfect dessert to sign off your Nobo Borsho meal! Mishti Doi is made with curd and jaggery and the best of Misthi Doi will simply melt in your mouth as you put in a spoonful. One must always look out for the top creamy layer on the doi ‘cause it simply tastes divine! And if you can lay your hands on the baked variety – all the more better!
Of course, the list of good food when it comes to Bengali cuisine runs much longer than this – there is the quintessential Bhekti Fish Fry and the famous Aloo Posto (potatoes cooked with poppy seeds) and much much more – But for now, we are signing off to go indulge in a yummy Bengali meal. This was all from our favorite list, if you have anything to add or share your favorites then do let us know in the comment section below.
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