Bengali Cuisine is a culinary style originated in West Bengal. West Bengal provides us with some of the most exotic traditional dishes starting from starters and ending in desserts and sweets. It is known for some of its unique culinary methods of preparing food which are aged long back. All the cuisines are made using mustard oil, giving a nutty flavor to each and every dish. Craving for food? Bengali food is a must if you visit Kolkata. Here are the Top 20 Traditional Dishes of Kolkata that will melt your heart for sure.
1.Lucchi and Cholar Dal
It is a protein rich lentil dish famous in Bengal made during Durga Puja and weddings. It takes 40 minutes for preparation. In this dish, chana dal is boiled with turmeric powder. It is then tempered with some bay leaves. Some green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves are used to top with a tinge of ghee. It is best enjoyed when served with lucchi/puri and makes an ideal lunch treat.
Shukto is a vegetarian Indian dish and is native to the people of Kolkata. The recipe is a mix of many vegetables including drumsticks, carrots, altogether imparting a bitter and sweet taste. It is served with hot plain rice.
Roshogolla, a famous dessert of the Kolkata region. It is made from chhena (cottage cheese) and semolina, later dipped in sugar syrup.
4.Mutton Curry/ Kosha mangsho
Kosha Mangsho is a non-vegetarian Bengali dish, usually served on Jamai Shoshthi. It is served with either luchi or puris. Heat mustard oil and saute onions with a bit of turmeric powder, bay leaf, chili flakes. Add the mutton and pressure cook it until ready to eat. In Kolkata, Golbari’s kosha mangsho is very famous.
5.Vapa Ilish/ Steamed Hilsa
Steamed Hilsa is a famous dish, especially when Hilsa is in the season. Hilsa cooked in mustard oil flavoured with onions, turmeric powder, and green chillies makes a perfect match. It takes 20 minutes for the whole preparation or until the gravy thickens. Served with hot steamed rice, it makes a perfect combination for a lazy weekend.
Tangra cooked in mustard sauce, is a traditional dish of Bengal, and it comes from the old recipe section. Tangra cooked in mustard oil, added with garlic, a bit of turmeric powder and finished with a drizzle of mustard oil eventually makes it a famous dish among the Bengali mass. When served with long grain of hot rice, it brightens up our taste buds.
7.Kochu sager ghoto/ Arum stalk curry
“Ghonto” is a thick vegetable preparation. They are mostly used in a squeezed and mashed form and sometimes added with a portion of fish’s head. “Kochu” is known as “Taro” in English and “Arbi” in Hindi and the stem of Taro is known as “Kochu Saag” in Bengali which is greenish in color and is a leafy vegetable. ‘Kochu’ and ‘Kochu Saag’, both are generously used in Bengali Cuisine. It is prepared with the head of Hilsa and or with medium sized prawns and is very much popular among people who are descendants of Bangladesh and that tastes heavenly too!
Bengali cuisine is rich and varied with the use of many specialised spices and flavors.
“Dhoka” in Bengali or Hindi means ‘ashamed’, an act of cheating someone. When it comes to food, however, the word “Dhoka” in Bengali comes from “Dhokla” in Gujarat. “Dhokas” are the fried chana dal patties, and ‘Dalna’ can be dry or have a stew like consistency. It is made from onions, tomato or coconuts finishing it with ghee.
9.Potoler (parwal) Paturi
“Paturi’ is a method of cooking in Bengal which involves wrapping the main ingredient (generally fish, prawns) along with a mix of poppy seeds, mustard seeds, grounded coconut and green chilies and then steamed. This recipe of ‘potoler paturi’ uses the same masala, but here Parwal is fried for a better taste. This recipe is a no onion and no garlic recipe. This taste awesome with hot chapatis or steamed rice.
10.Begun Bhaja/Baingan Vaja/ Fried eggplant/ Fried aubergines
Begun Bhaja also known as baingan vaja are pan fried or shallow fried marinated discs or slices of aubergines. It is a Bengali dish, and there are a lot of variations possible through this dish.
11.Macher Tok(Sour fish curry)
Macher Tok or Sour fish curry is bliss in the summer time in West Bengal. Fish is fried first until it turns golden brown and then mustard seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds are added and cooked on low-medium heat. These five spices together are known as ‘panch phoron’ in Bengali. It is finished with strained tamarind juice and salt and served with steamed rice.
12.Mochar Ghonto(Banana flower cooked with coconut and ghee)
It is one of the drooling vegetarian dishes of Bengal. “Mocha” in Bengali means “flower” and the process of cleaning the flower is a tiresome work. Pressure cook the mocha, but only after removing the petals which are black in colour, then add spices and finish it with grated coconut on top.
Katla Kalia is a traditional Bengali Dish made of big sized (approx. 3 Kg) Katla fish. Katla fish, fried with some onions, bay leaf, ginger garlic paste, curd some spices and topped with ghee and garam masala makes a great Sunday afternoon.
14.Dak Bungalow Murgh (Dak Bungalow Chicken)
It is a colonial recipe from the days of the British. This curry, historically is said to have been prepared in the Dak Bungalows of Kolkata (present), Calcutta(past)where the British officials used to rest and hunt for animals during a night stay. This curry was made using readily available ingredients by the khansamahs. The Dak Bungalows had their poultry, a herd of goats. So this curry uses curd, eggs, and chicken in it. There does exist a dak bungalow mutton curry as well which is similar to this recipe. The Anglo-Indian community has revived this recipe recently, and hence it has gained popularity.
Patisapta is a Bengali dish which hits the list of sweet dishes in Kolkata. It is made during ‘poush parbon’ along with Dudh-puli, Malpua, Kolar bora. It is prepared with milk and refined flour malpua like a cheela, stuffed with mawa, coconut, and dry fruit filling and is served on a roll.
Potol posto is parwal made in khus khus gravy in medium to low flame. Usually served with hot rice;it is one of the top dishes among the Bengali community.
17.Macher Murighonto/ Fish Murighonto
A traditional Bengali dish descending from our great grandparents, Fish Murighonto is prepared using Rohu fish. Onions, ginger paste, chili powder, cumin paste acts as a flavouring agent in enhancing the taste of fish murighonto and is served with white rice.
It is a traditional Bengal recipe. Parwal is cooked in a simple curry form. “Tel” means “oil” and “Potol” means “parwal.” All parwal lovers will, by all means, love this dish. It goes well with hot steamed rice but can go with roti/chappati as well.
19.Posto Bora/ Poppy seed balls
Posto Bora or Poppy seed balls are one of the various types of Bora in Bengali cuisine. It can be prepared very fast with readily available ingredients such as poppy seeds, coconut, rice flour, etc. making it healthy and delicious.
20.Aloo Posto/ Potato with poppy seeds
Aloo Posto is an old traditional dish of Kolkata. It is a saviour when guests are there. It is prepared using poppy seeds. Thick gravy is made along side. It is a Bengali complementary side dish usually served with daal.