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Famous Food of West Bengal

Discussion in 'Food & Drinks' started by Dinesh, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. Dinesh

    Dinesh New Member

    I have some friends coming over from abroad who want to go and see West Bengal. I have not been there before, and don't personally know anyone who belongs to the state so have no knowledge about it.

    My friends who are coming here are very fond of food, and it would be the first thing they want to do, try out some food.

    Please provide me with a list and some details about the famous food of West Bengal.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Dinesh! Welcome to the forum!

    Bengali cuisine is comprised primarily of fish. The region of West Bengal is usually called "The Land of Maach" or the land of fish. This is evident by the numerous ponds and lakes in the region making fishes a staple in a Bengali dish. Aside from that, mutton and goat are also parts of many dishes in West Bengal. Of course, meals are also highly vegetarian with vegetables and lentils as well as rice.

    "Bangals," or people from Bangladesh, are very resourceful when it comes to cooking. They can make use of rejected parts of vegetables, like stalks, peelings and the likes. This style of cooking is very popular among people who have migrated to West Bengal from other regions like Bangladesh or East Bengal. They also make use of fuel-efficient methods of cooking like steaming fish on top of rice.

    The main cooking medium in West Bengal is shorsher tel or mustard oil. Sometimes, ground nut oil is also used. There has been a rise in the use of soybean, sunflower and vegetable oils recently. Ghee is used for doughs and frying breads.

    Bengali cuisine won't be complete without its sweets, which are well-known all over the country. Their sweets are often milk-based and has sugar. The cheese used is also different, it's sweetened cottage cheese or chhena. Other regions usually use reduced solidified milk or khoa.

    Meals are served in this order:
    • First course or starter meal - Usually made with bitter vegetables and herbs.
    • Shak - Leafy vegetables that are cooked in steam or in oil.
    • Dal - Rice with some vegetables like potatoes, fried fish and pickles.
    • Main course - Usually fish or chicken. Fish is cooked with the following spices: ginger, turmeric, chili and cumin.
    • Additional main course - Either mutton, murgh chicken or dim eggs.
    • Chutney - Typically tangy and sweet, may consist of dried fruits.
    • Sweets/Yogurt - Mishti Doi, which is sweet yogurt is served before desserts.
    Sometimes, this order may not be followed, especially on a day to day basis. The additional main course or the shark might be removed, even the dessert. But this is a typical meal in West Bengal.

    Anyway, let's start listing the most famous foods or dishes in West Bengal:
    • Ilish Maach Bhapa - -Ilish is a kind of fish found easily in the rivers, lakes and ponds of West Bengal. It is said that there are about a hundred different ways to cook it. But for me, the Ilish Maach Bhapa is my favourite one. The fish is cooked in gravy and mustard seeds, then served with rice. Because of the distinct flavour and aroma of the fish, spices are not as used with this dish.
    • Chingri Maacher Malai Curry - The combination of coconut and prawns in a curry is perfect. In fact, this is one of the signature dishes in West Bengal.
    • Alu Posto - This is a combination of potatoes and poppy seeds. It's the ultimate comfort food for any Bengali.
    • Doi Maach - This is fish in yogurt, it's a very simple dish that can sure leave you wanting for more. You can use many fishes but Rohu fish seems to fit the dish perfectly.
    • Jhal Muri - This is puffed rice, enhanced with flavour by lemon. It's eaten as a snack in many regions in West Bengal.
    • Luchi Alur Dum - Luchi is flat bread made with wheat and alur dum is made of potatoes, spices and tomatoes. It is typically served for breakfast although you can also serve it as other meals of the day.
    • Daab Chingri - This dish is made using prawns cooked in mustard. Then, it is served in tender coconut.
    • Bengali Eggplant Fry - Before frying, the eggplant is sliced in circles and then flavoured with spices. This dish is great for snacks or even an appetiser.
    • Shukto - This dish revolves around bitter gourds and radishes. Instead of hiding the bitterness, the dish brings out the bitterness of these vegetables. It's a great palate cleanser and usually served as a starter meal.
    • Bhappa Doi - I'll end this list with a dessert from West Bengal. This is the Bengali version of cheesecake. It is made with yogurt, condensed milk and milk. It's a very healthy dessert as well, so eat your heart out!
    There you go. I hope you enjoyed this list!