Nirmala November 21, 2017

1. Dal :

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 gourd are common. Machh bhaja (fried fish) is also common, especially rui (rohu) and ilish (hilsa) fishes. Bhaja is sometimes coated in a beshon (chickpea flour) and posto (poppyseed) batter. A close cousin of bhaja is bra or deepfried savoury balls usually made from posto (poppyseed) paste or coconut mince. Another variant is fried pointed gourd as potoler dorma with roe/prawn.Another accompaniment is a vegetable preparation usually made of multiple vegetables stewed slowly together without any added water. Labra, chorchori, ghonto, or chanchra are all traditional cooking styles. There also are a host of other preparations that do not come under any of these categories and are simply called trkari the word merely means vegetable in Bengali. Sometimes these preparations may have spare pieces of fish such as bits of the head or gills, or spare portions of meat. A charchari is a vegetable dish that is cooked without stirring, just to the point of charring.

2. Fish :

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 (rohu), koi (climbing perch), the wriggling catfish family tangra, magur, shingi pabda (the pinkbellied Indian butter fish), katla, ilish (ilish), as well as shu?ki (small dried sea fish). Chingri (prawn) is a particular favourite and comes in many varieties kucho (tiny shrimp), bagda (tiger prawns) or galda (Scampi).

3. Kebabs :

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 as side dishes.

4. Jhol :

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.

5. Jhal :

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.

6. Chmchm :

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.

7. Korma :

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.