Nirmala August 30, 2023

1. Chhenchki :

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.

2. Achar :

Pickles. Generally flavoured with mustard oil, mustard seeds, aniseed, caraway seed and asafoetida, or hing.

3. 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 most commonly in Bangladesh, and is most commonly cooked with beef, onions, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves, creating a very aromatic flavour. To taste some of the best biriani, you must travel to the city of Dhaka and take a rickshaw to Hazir Biriani, which is celebrated throughout the city for its amazing take on this age old dish. Existing for over 70 years and across two generations, you may have to queue for some time but it is well worth the wait.

4. Bhorta :

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.

5. Whole roasted chicken or duck :

Highly spiced, cooked in a pot with lots of ghee.

6. Bhapa :

Fish or vegetables steamed with spices.

7. Dolma :

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.