Winter is a happy season for a Bengali – picnics, vacations and the best food in the world. As Bengalis are great foodies and connoisseurs of varied flavours, consequently the food palate is wide-ranging. Bengali dishes are generally clichéd with fish and sweets. But the truth is that the Bengali cuisine ranges from hundreds of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes.
Some of the dishes are synced with nature and hence purely seasonal. Not only do these taste amazing but also are good for the health.
Here are ten of the hit dishes of the winters. Although one can have some all around the year, but a true Bengali would understand what we are talking about.
Which is your favourite? And don’t salivate!
#1 Luchi & aloo chorchori
What is more perfect than a winter breakfast with hot fluffy luchi and aloo torkari/chorchori? This is the most common way a picnic inaugurates in Kolkata.
#2 Luchi begun bhaja
There is something magical about the small round fluffy luchi. Even the great saint Ramkrishna is said to be fond of luchis.
Combine luchi with begun bhaja (fried brinjal) and you have a dish that will stay till eternity.
#3 Parota kosha mangsho
When you say Parota kosha mangsho to a Kolkatan, they hear ‘Golbari’. It is a fact that parota and luchi is interchangeable. So any luchi dish goes just as well as with a parota dish. But some may prefer one to the other. You eat kosha pthar mangsho with luchi or parota, it will be just as heavenly.
Did you know the conspiracy theory that British smelled their way to Bengal? No one accepts it, but we think it might have been true.
#4 Phulkopir singara
After waiting for a year for Durga puja and Kali Puja, when it is over, Bengalis wait for phulkopir singara or the cauliflower samosa. The singara with a twist is as good as it gets. To know how good it gets, one needs to get a bite. Imagine a cold shivering evening where you are served with hot phulkooi samosas with a cup of chaa. That is luxury!
#5 Fish fry
Fish fry in Bengali style tastes very different than the kind you would get around the world. Bhetki and Topshe fish top the chart. Interestingly, no matter how many times you have this dish, it never gets old. No wonder it is a must in the weddings and social gatherings.
#6 Nolen Gurer Payesh
The other name for this dish is ‘heaven’.
Winters brings with it a gift from Mother Nature – nolen gur. While the wonderful payesh is adorned with the divine nectar called nolen gur, it tastes like seventh heaven. If we knew who invented this dish, we would surely have given him a Nobel prize.
#7 Patisapta and pithe
With the advent of nolen gur Bengalis wait for the day when the day of pithes will come.Pithes are dumplings made with rice flowers. They are stuffed generally with sweet coconut flavours but there are probably more than a hundred types of pithes. These range from sweet to salted and some soaked in payesh.
#8 Koraisutir kochuri
Green peas represent the green peace that they bring into a Bengali’s household. No more is the mother running after the family members to make them eat green vegetables. Bring a plate full of hot koraisuti or green pea kochuri and watch it being gulped down without a single word. Koraisutir kochuri wins the world on its own, but a ravishing serving of alur dam will just make your day more marvellous.
#9 Hot pantua with chanar payesh
This is making us salivate, we accept. If you start to eat a hot pantua topped with warm chanar paesh, you cannot stop at one. Serve one to your enemy and there will be no wars.
#10 Joynagar er moa
Nolen gur weaves the magic again. This unique sweet originated in Joyanagar, West Bengal and hence its name. It is especially available during the winters when the fresh palm jaggery is extracted.
Nolen gur also recreates the sandesh and rosogollas. One waits a full year for the gur bhora sandesh, special sweet filled with the liquid jaggery in the core.
We could go on and on with this but we are getting hungry! While we come back, tell us your favourite.
Image credits: mytaste.org, Spicy World, spicechronicles.com, 4.bp.blogspot.com, BongCook, maamatimanush.tv, Veg Indian Recipes, Finely Chopped, mellownspicy.com