Nirmala March 2, 2021

1. 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.

2. Piha or pithe :

In both Bangladesh and West Bengal, the tradition of making different kinds of panfried, steamed or boiled sweets, lovingly known as pi?he or the pitha, still flourishes. These little balls of heaven symbolises the coming of winter, and the arrival of a season where rich food can be included in the otherwise mild diet of the Bengalis… the richness lie in the creamy silkiness of the milk which is mixed often with molasses, or jaggery made of either date palm or sugarcane, and sometimes sugar. They are mostly divided into different categories based on the way they are created. Generally rice flour goes into making the pithe.They are usually fried or steamed, the most common forms of these cakes include bhapa pi?ha (steamed), pakan pi?ha (fried), and puli pi?ha (dumplings), among others. The other common pithas are chandrapuli, gokul, pati shapta, chitai pi?ha, aski pithe, muger puli and dudh puli.The Pati Shapta variety is basically a thinlayered riceflour crepes with a milkcustard cremefilling, very weirdly similar to the hoppers or appams of South India, or the French crepes. In urban areas of Bangladesh and West Bengal most houses hold Pithafestivals sometime during the winter months. The celebration of the Pi?ha as a traditional sweet is the time for the Winter Harvest festival in rural Bangladesh and West Bengal. The harvest is known as Nabanno

3. Meat :

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 Bengal. Chicken is less preferred, though it has grown steadily in popularity over the last few decades. Beef, while extremely popular over in Bangladesh, is much less common in West Bengal, where it is consumed in pockets, and only in certain Muslim homes and some restaurants serving Mughlai food. Eggs both chicken and duck are quite popular. Surprisingly, duck meat is rarely found on menus in West Bengal even though the birds are common in the many ponds and lakes.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Shukto :

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.

7. Dom :

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.