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Best Dishes You Must Try When In West Bengal

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Best Dishes You Must Try When In West Bengal

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West Bengal is known for its cultural heritage, political perspectives and as the hub of intellectuals. But apart from its cerebral recognition, West Bengal also has its sheer distinctness of culinary practices. Bengali cuisine is a perfect amalgamation of sweet-sour and pungent spices, reflecting the joyous livelihood of Bengali people and their traditions.

Though, Bengalis are famously hooked into their Dal-Bhaat and Machh-Bhaat food-fixation; the kitchens of Bengal have given us a whole lot of different dishes those are beyond any extolment. Here is our picks of the best dishes you must try when you are in West Bengal.


Sorshe Ilish


Sorshe Ilish

Undoubtedly the signature dish of Bengali cuisine, Sorshe Ilish or Hilsa fish in mustard based gravy is truly a gift from the culinary god! The soft piece of Hilsa gets coated with the spice mix and the robust flavor simply bursts inside your mouth giving you the one-of-a-kind feeling that satisfies all your senses together! 


Ilish Machh Bhaja


Ilish Bhaja

This utterly simple dish, Ilish Machh Bhaja or the Hilsa fried in mustard oil is an essential part of traditional Bengali cuisine. You can have an entire plate of rice just mixing it with the aromatic oil, green chilies accompanied by the heavenly piece of fried Hilsa and some salt and still crave for more.


Luchi/ Radha Ballavi/ Kodaishnutir Kochuri with Chholar Daal


Kochui Chholar Daal

A regular Bengali diet apart from Daal- Bhaat or Machh-Bhaat can never be complete without this pair! Luchi-Chholar Daal is an unbeatable combination that would light-up your senses whenever you have it. Luchi is the white and fluffy deep fried puri made essentially from all purpose flour dough; and Chholar Daal is the Bengali version of Bengal Gram lentil cooked with mild spices like turmeric powder, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, dried red chilli, bay leaves and freshly scrapped coconut. The daal has a slight sweetness which absolutely complements the whole dish.

Kodaishnutir Kochuri is another favourite version of Puri except for having stuffed by spiced and mashed green peas. Each bite of this Kochuri would make you fall for Bengali cuisine!


Radha Ballavi- Aloor Dum


Alur Dum

This is another invincible pair that has been conquering the Bengali kitchen for eons. Radha Ballavi is another version of stuffed Kochuri or Puri and it is only compatible with a spicy red Potato Curry- Aloor Dum! The dum aloo in Bengal has its distinct taste with a hint of sweet and sourness. 



Shukto


Shukto

You can call it a Bengali version of mixed vegetable only with completely a different style of cooking giving this dish a totally different taste altogether! A Bengali thali would be incomplete without Shukto; so, this is dish you cannot afford to miss when you’re in Kolkata! AT least seven to eight types of vegetables like potatoes, bitter gourd, radish, beans, green plantain, ridge gourd and egg plant etc. are cooked in milk and some typical Bengali spices. This dish would change your conception about mixed vegetable available in the rest of India!


Chorchori


Chorchori

Chorchori is truly a delectable omnium-gatherum of various vegetables and whatnots! The exquisite Bengali delicacy knows no bound when it comes to flavourful cooking. The typical Bengali spices like panch foran, usage of til (sesame seeds) and mustard paste, everything gives this traditional vegetable hodgepodge completely a different dimension. Chorchori is best if had at your Bengali friend’s place essentially made by his mom!


Mutton Kosha


Mutton Kosha

Bengalis are genuinely omnivorous! They cannot live without having dal-bhaat as much as they cannot think about living without Mangsho-Bhaat. Mutton is always preferred above chicken in Bengal and boy, they love their Mutton Kosha or Kosha Mangsho, as they call it in Bengali. A must have dish from Bengal- Mutton Kosha is a slow-cooked superbly spicy mutton preparation having a very little or almost no gravy. This goes perfect with some Rumali roti or Parota.  


Mutton Rezala


Rezala

You cannot think of leaving Kolkata without having a bowlful of Mutton Rezala, a true culinary gem! Bengali cuisine got its Islamic touch when the Nawab of Awadh and the descendants of Tipu Sultan came down to Bengal carrying their own royal cooks all along. Mutton Rezala may have its Awadhi origin, but in Bengal it got its much deserving praise. A mildly-spiced thick yoghurt and onion-almond paste based white gravy carrying some tender mutton pieces- Mutton Rezala is all you need to taste on a chilly afternoon at Sabir, the most iconic restaurant in Kolkata serving unarguably the most delicious Rezala!


Mutton Biryani


Biryani

Foodies of Kolkata swear by their Mutton Biryani and can go any longer to pronounce that their Biryani is the best in India! And if want to measure up the certificate, just visit places like Nizam, Aminiya, Arsalaan; we know you will also feel the same! The mildly spiced, robust in flavoure, Calcutta Mutton Biryani has its own specialty and richness. The most interesting feature of this biryani is the use of potato and boiled eggs. Yum is the word! 

Bengali Polao


Polao

One of the must-have-dishes at most of the Bengali ceremonies and weddings, Polao or the Bengali Pulav is the robustly fragrant, slightly sweet and bright yellow coloured rice pilaf. This aromatic rice consists of generous amount of saffron strands, whole garam masala, nuts and kishmish. As no onion-garlic is used to prepare this, the Bengali Sweet Polao makes the ubiquitous choice as the Bhog or the dish offered to the God during any religious ceremony.


Bhapa Dimer Dalna


Best Dishes in West Bengal

Another must-try non-vegetarian dish in Bengal, Bhapa Dimer Dalna or the steamed egg curry is a traditional egg preparation. Forget the regula boiled egg curry; here the eggs are first beaten with ginger-garlic paste and other spice powders and then steamed for a couple of minutes; the steamed egg-cake is then cut into smaller pieces and cooked into onion-based spicy gravy. This dish is the perfect instance of the creative cooking. 


Chingrir Malai Curry


Chingri Malai Curry

One of the most popular and the most scrumptious dishes Bengal has ever given to the world; Chingrir Malai Curry is the epitome of the scrumptious Bengali cuisine.  For the dish, the voluptuous Prawns (Chingri) are stewed in mildly spicy coconut milk based gravy and topped with some generous scoops of luscious coconut flesh (Malai). You’re simply not allowed to miss this dish by any chance!


Paturi


Paturi

If Parsis have Patrani Machchhi, Bengalis do have their Paturi too. Much similar in look, but quite different in taste, these melt-in-mouth fillets of steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves are something totally irresistible. The mild spice is made of the paste of mustard seed, coconut and green chilies combined with mustard oil and thus it gives that deliciously pungent kick in your mouth. We bet, you cannot have just a single piece!


Doi Machh or Doi Rui


Doi Rui

Doi Machh is another Bengali fish delicacy which is a must-try for those seriously in love with fish! Mostly done with Rui or the Ruhu fish, Doi Machh is a yoghurt based fish curry. This glorious fish curry would blow your mind with its rich aromatic flavor and taste. Doi Machh goes best with a plateful of steaming hot plain rice or white pulav. 


Alu Posto


Alu Posto

Another key dish which defines the Bengali cuisine, Aloo Posto is a must-try preparation during your Kolkata trip. This bong specialty is a simple dish comprising of diced potato fried and cooked in the poppy seeds and green chili paste. Any Bengali can die for a plateful of steamed rice, Biulir Dal (Urad Dal in Bengali style) and a generous portion of Alu Posto!   


Begun Bhaja


Begun Bhaja

A slice of aubergine, spiced and then pan fried essentially in mustard oil is famously known as Begun Bhaja! No authentic Bengali meal is complete without these slices.   


Phuchka


Phuchka

Here comes the king of street foods in Bengal, Phuchka. Phuchka is the Bengali cousin of Gol Guppa or Pani Puri but has its distinct taste. Bengalis mostly prefer having their Phuchkas with only tok jol (sour tamarind water) unlike the Gol Guppa or Pani Puri lovers from the rest of the country. The crunchy Phuchkas with the spicy boiled potato filling and obviously the tok jol make a magical feeling in your mouth which cannot be expressed in mere words!


Aloo-Kabli & Churmur


Alu Kabli

You can call them siblings of puchka! Alu Kabli is the chunks of boiled potatos, Kabula Chana, chopped onions, coriander and green chilies, spices and a few drops of tamarind water tossed together. And Churmur is the crushed fuchkas over the alu kabli mixture. A good round of fuchkas is often followed by these two items.


Jhal muri


Jhal Muri

Ubiquitously found in almost every household and street food corner, Jhal muri is the most popular snack in Bengal. For Jhal muri, a bowlful of puffed rice is tossed in mustard oil with cumin powder, red chili powder, and salt, chopped onion-coriander leaves-green chilies, bhujiya, dalmut, chanachur, roasted peanuts and finally served with a thin slice of coconut. This popular dish is a very light weight snack yet tastes just awesome!


Ghugni


Ghugni

Much as you go on exploring Kolkata’s street food varieties, you’d start falling for them. At every 20-feet gap on a street in Kolkata, there you will see a Ghugniwala busily controlling his never-ending customer queue. Ghugni is the dried white peas cooked in spices and served with chopped onions, tomato, coriander leaves and green chilies and a few drops of tamarind juice.


Kathi Roll & Egg Roll


Kathi roll

Yes, Calcuttans deservingly take pride of inventing the world famous Kathi Roll. Kathi Roll or the chicken or mutton kebab wrapped in a Parantha is the most filling street food item. It was invented at the kitchen of Nizam, one of the most famous eateries in Kolkata way back in the ‘30s. And still, Kathi Roll is one of the most iconic and popular street foods in Kolkata. Though there are countless variants of Kati Rolls available in Kolkata, Egg Roll tops the popularity chart!


Shingara


Shingara

Samosas have been ruling the streets of India for eon. Every state has it, but in different taste and in different names. Samosas are known as Shingara in Kolkata. A popular snack, Shingara in Kolkata has its distinct taste thanks to the stuffing made with Bengali spices.


Telebhaja


Telebhaja

Deep fried batter fries or fritters are known as Telebhaja in Bengal. And Bengalis love their telebhajas. In Bengal, almost everything on earth can be batter fried and enjoyed to the most. The most popular telebhajas are made of onions (known as Peyanji), brinjal (known as Beguni), chicken or mutton keema, boiled egg (known as Egg Devil), mashed potato (known as Alur Chop), mixed vegetable (known as Vegetable Chop) and whatnot!


Chowmein


Chowmein

Chowmein is omnipresent at every nooks and corners of Kolkata. This is one of the most favourite street-foods and evening snacks for Calcuttans. The Chinese noodles dressed in Indian spices would make the most interesting food-memory of your Calcutta trip.


Fish Cutlet


Fish Cutlet

North Calcutta delicacy, Fish Cutlet is a classic example of English influence Bengali cooking. Hugely popular snack, fish cutlets are made of spice marinated fish fillets coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried. 


Mutton Kabiraji


Kabiraji

Mutton Kabiraji or the minced meat cutlet would be a pure delight for the non-vegetarians visiting Kolkata.


Rasogolla


Rasogolla

No introduction is needed, Rasogolla is the king of sweets in Bengal and therefore, you’re simply being ‘ordered’ to have them in Kolkata! These spongy soft white balls of boiled cottage cheese (Paneer) bathed in chilled sugar syrup are the first things you’d encounter after landing in the city of joy!


Sandesh


Sandesh

Bengal’s most loved dessert, Sandesh is the first few sweets you can die for! This simple item is made of either milk or chhena and sugar. During winter, Nolen Gur is being used for that extra sweetness and flavor.


Pati Sapta


Patisapta

Mostly homemade, Patisapta is a unique dessert item in Bengal. Patisapta is a flour pancake stuffed with coconut-jaggery mixture and then folded into small rolls. This unusual dessert would surely steal your heart with its simplicity.  


Langcha


Langcha

Famously known as the sweet meat of Bengal, Langchaor Lady Kenny (know in Kolkta) has its root origin at Shaktigarh in Krishnanagar district. Unlike the Pantuas, this fried paneer based sweet is stuffed with nuts and raisins and also shapes differently. Langcha is only available during the winters and this makes it so special.


Mihidana & Sitabhog


Mihidana Sita Bhog

In 1904, when Lord Curzon, the then viceroy of India went to Burdwan to confer the king of Burdwan to Maharaja Title, he was presented a plate of two unusual sweet dishes made by a local sweet-maker. He was completely delighted by its unique look and superb taste. These two unique sweet preparations, Mihidana and Sitabhog are still among the most popular sweet dishes from Bengal.


Mishti Doi


Mishti Doi

Mishti Doi is the evergreen sweet curd that has been keeping the Indian sweet delicacies at the top of the world’s chart. Grab that celestial feeling of having a scoop of Mishti Doi while in Kolkata!


Chomchom


Chomchom

Another piece of heaven you can find right after having it. Chomchom is the famous Bengali sweet made of chhena or mashed paneer and is something you could never say NO to!


Sor Bhaja


Sor Bhaja

A deep fried milk-cream must be something you never heard of, leave alone tasting it! But when you’re in Kolkata, expect anything over their fondness for sweet be it as tedious job as making a mouth watering piece of Sor Bhaja.   


Kheer Kadam


Kheer Kadam

When the mini rosogollas are wrapped in sweetened khoya (mawa), Kheer Kadam takes birth. This unusual Bengali sweet has a special place at every Bengali’s heart.


Nolen Gurer Payesh


Nolen Gurer Payesh

Nolen Gur or the notun gur is a type of liquid jaggery available only during the winters and therefore it is so special. An otherwise delicious payesh (Kheer) becomes even more delectable when it is cooked in this jaggery. Nolen Gur gives the payesh its typical light brown colour and a uniquely sweet aroma. 


BhaaNrer Chaa


Chaa

And finally, here comes Bengal’s serious love affair with Tea. Tea or Chaa as they call it in Bengali is every Bengali’s weakness. No serious discussion can get concluded without rounds of Tea; and when on the streets, there is no heavenly feeling as compared to sipping on the smoking hot Tea in earthen cups, popularly known as Matir Bhaanr. If Kolkata street-side tea tastes different, it is those little earthen mugs giving it that distinctness!
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