Nirmala August 29, 2023

1. 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).

2. 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.

3. Dried Pork :

A traditional Naga kitchen is outdoors because a fire is one of the most essential components of cooking. Hanging above any Naga kitchen fire will be pieces of meat (both pork and beef), that slowly dry out and smoke high above the flames. After weeks or sometimes much longer than that, the meat is ready to be consumed. For one meal we just ate some of the smoked pork, and another time we enjoyed a stew made from the meat. It was crispy on the outside, a little like jerky, but just saturated with an intensely delicious smokiness. It was so good along with rice.

4. Chutney :

Next comes the chutney course, which is typically tangy and sweet, the chutney is usually made of am mangoes, tomatoes, anarsh pineapple, tetul tamarind, pepe papaya, or just a combination of fruits and dry fruits called mixed fruit chutney served in biye badi (marriage). The chutney is also the move towards the sweeter part of the meal and acts also as a palate cleanser, similar to the practice of serving sorbet in some Western cuisines.

5. Smoked Pork Stew :

Just as good as the plain smoked meat, was the smoked pork stew. The dried smoky pork was chopped into bite sized pieces before being boiled in a thin soup that included potatoes, tomatoes, and chillies. It was salty, and so smoky that I could almost taste the fire

6. Laddu :

Laddu is a very common sweet in West Bengal and Bangladesh, especially during celebrations and festivities.

7. Cutlet :

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 cutlet, to make it into a kabiraji, the Bengali pronunciation of a Coverage or Cover:Egg Cutlet, influenced by the British.