There is a stereotype involving the mustard drenched fish ensconced in moats of steaming rice which gives way to the thought that Bengali Cuisine is all about that! The Bengali approach to food is bound to latch onto you, even if you are caught in the fish-and-rice routine!
Bengali cuisine is all about the wide variety of flavors combined together in a perfect amalgamation, the textures and the vegetables which many people hate like bottle gourd are presented so exquisitely that one starts to praise the powerful culinary sense of Bengal.
The common Bengali household is know for it’s elaborate meals, a typical 7 course menu including 2-3 tangy starters one with fish, Dal, Rice and Loochi then Mutton or Chicken, Fish then desserts.
Chef Dhani along with Chef Vipul and Chef Deepak have developed a menu that chronicles the strong and fiery flavors with this food festival.We started with the celebration drink to mark the beginning of this festival with a toast to the culinary master who traveled all the way from Bengal for this week long affair at Delhi Pavilion.
Puchka and Chicken Kabiraji were the first starters. Fish Kabiraji is a very popular dish in Bengal, Its basically fish cutlet in kabiraji style, meaning deep fried fish in a crispy covering of bread crumbs,we were served with Chicken Kabiraji which is the exact same recipe with long strips of chicken! A true delicacy.
Beguni was up next, as the name points towards begun or brinjal its a fried preparation of Brinjal, a delectable marination on the outside and a thin slide of brinjal. If someone doesn’t know it is eggplant, he wont recognize the flavor of it due to the lovely marination.
Machher Paturi, another delicacy of Bengali, I first had this in a party at a Bengali House hold, the flavours of this dish are impeccable, mustard marinated fish (betki or hilsa, here it was Betki) inside a Banana Leaf packing all the delish flavors inside, the fish was incredibly tender and was melting in the mouth. A must try!
Vegetable chops were a classic vegetarian preparation, even though Bengali food is natively coastal this is a hot favorite despite the love for fish. Beetroot-carrot-potato cutlets which were so soft it seemed like the North Indian Galauti kebab.As the cutlet flavors are towards the sweeter side, its perfectly balanced with the Kashundi which is the famous Bengali tangy mustard sauce!
This was all about the delectable Starters, the next course was the Dal with Rice or Loochi which is Bengali poori and then Chicken, Fish and other vegetables.
The two Non vegetarian dishes were the Kochi pathar Jhol, which is a begali lamb curry. A jhol is prepared with tomatoes onions and curd and then pieces of mutton are added to it, the spicy flavors were very prominent in the jhol. The Jhol also had huge pieces of potatoes which actually taste so much better than the mutton and I just can’t imagine Pathar Jhol without those fried potatoes!
Pabda macher Jhol was another truly loved preparation, Pabda maach is quite tasty to eat when prepared with a light gravy like this. Unlike the other dishes this is prepared with without removing the bone, a typical Bengali eating style will help you take the fish of the bone very easily! Another must try!
The other vegetarian recipes were Dal Nirkel Diye, Louer Ghonto (Bottle Guord), Lake Aloo Masala and Chorchori (Mix Vegetable).
Out of these the Dal and the Aloo Masala were heavenly preparations, The dal in flavoured with coconut which enhances the taste. It is a very simple recipe and oh so flavorful!
The Lake Aloo Masala were relished even more than the dal, a spicy thick gravy with baby potatoes, an ambrosial dish.
We also tried Sandesh,Roshogulla and Mishti Doi, all amazing sinful desserts to end the meal. A must try to end the elaborate affair.
With a strong focus on local flavors and the cultural heritage of Indian cuisine, the Delhi Pavilion Bengali Food celebrations promises to be a platform for guests to indulge, and for visitors to sample the wide variety of authentic local delights. Dig in!