Durga Puja is the time of family get-togethers. What makes these gatherings special? It’s a wide variety of foods. Bengalis are known for their love for foods and this is the time when the ladies of the household show off their culinary skills. Plans may also change as the men sometimes choose to take their families to restaurants, giving the ladies some relief from the kitchen heat.
Luchi & alur dum
These are a Bengali’s favourite. Luchis are just like puris only the difference being that they are made of white flour (maida) while puris are usually made of atta. The alur dum is a dry preparation of potatoes. Small sized potatoes are used for making this dish. The ingredients that go into its making are mustard, curry leaves, tamarind, ginger paste and green chillis.
Cholar daal & begun bhaja
These two can also be had with luchis. These pulses are prepared with cumin seeds, grated ginger paste, bay leaves, grated coconut, turmeric and hing. The begun bhajas are simply fired brinjals.
Payesh or chutney
These are sweet dishes made especially in Bengali households. Chutneys are commonly made of tomato, dates and dried mango pulp. The payesh is made by heating the milk till it turns slightly thick. The gobindo bhog rice is then added to the milk (1 cup and a half approximately for 2 litres) and then boiled in it. It takes some time though but when you add sugar to the boiling rice, it’s yummy. Some Bengalis also add jaggery or gur to it to add colour and taste.
Bhajahari Manna: There are numerous places in Kolkata where you can go out to enjoy a family meal. If you wish to have authentic Bengali cuisine there is Bhajahari Manna at Hindustan Road. They serve Bengali dishes like chital macher muitha (a preparation of the chital fish), jumbi Ilish bhaja (a huge piece of fried Hilsa) and various other preparations of fishes.
This restaurant is located at Ballygunge Place where you can get a variety of preparations of fish and prawns. For vegetarians you can have palak paneer, matar paneer, dal makhani and vegetable pulao.
Harvey’s World Cuisine
This restaurant at the EM Bypass and Rashbehari connector is for some exotic cuisine other than Indian dishes. Here your taste buds get tickled with the Taushi chicken, veg and chilli garlic noodles, chocolate mousse and banana cake.