Best Dishes You Must Try When In West Bengal
West Bengal is known for its cultural heritage
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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
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
Chingrir Malai Curry
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!
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
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.
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
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
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
Aloo-Kabli & Churmur
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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
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.
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 or the minced meat cutlet would be a pure delight for the non-vegetarians visiting Kolkata.
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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
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