If you are not a Bengali then this will be hard to understand. For Bengalis who have always been bohemian in outlook it makes complete sense. Food is the most important thing in life and absolutely everything related to celebrations equals to good food.
Be wedding, bhaiphota (bhaiddoj), mukhebhaat (feeding grain to a child for the first time) or Durga Puja, every celebration circles around two things – food and adda (roughly translates to chatting and debating on any topic from sports to rocket science!)
It is a known fact that Bengalis love to eat and there are a myriad testament to this fact. The Bengali cuisine is rich in flavors and choices – be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian cuisine. Add to that the mind-boggling variety of sweets and you run the risk of entering a state of food coma even thinking about it.
Since Durga Puja is almost upon us, I took this opportunity to present a list of Bengali delicacies that you can hog at your nearest Bengali restaurant or make-shift stalls at Puja pandals to get an idea of what food means to the Bengali. Street-side stalls are sell their food all year round but, it is during the Durga Puja that people from all parts of India indulge in Bengali street food because most can’t resist the idea of either visiting the well-decked Puja pandals or the mouthwatering aroma of food emerging from the attached eating joints. Here’s a glimpse of what all you can order though this is a very limited list that we are presenting here.
Let me start with vegetarian to dispel the myth that all Bengali food is non-vegetarian or fish!
You may have eaten hundreds of plates of sweet and sour version of the Old Delhi golgappa but, I dare you to a marathon dose of phuchkas. They are lethal because the water is not tampered with either boiled chickpeas or potatoes nor is any sweet chutney used to temper the fire of the green with chilies filling. But, most Bengalis will not have it any other way.
Puffed rice becomes a delicacy in Bengal because people love rice. Go figure! However, as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. Eat it and be a slave to it’s myriad tastes that burst into a thousand haikus when you bite into a handful.
A much smaller version of its well-known cousin, Samosa! The filling is cauliflower and peanuts. It’s crunchy and deliciously melt-in-the-mouth.
Filled with yummy beetroot, peanuts and mashed potatoes these are perfect accompaniment to tea and adda. I bet you cannot stop at one.
Everyone across India knows about the Bengali roll and loves it. It can be both vegetarian and non-veg depending on your wish.
Deemer Devil or Devilled Eggs
Eggs are the most multi-tasking ingredient in any cook’s list and are known to provide instant comfort to the eater. Try some delicious egg devil and let it steal your heart forever. Satisfaction guarnateed!
That Bengalis love fish is no secret. They worship and devour it with the same fervor. Fish is dressed up as a beautiful bride and sent as gift to bride’s and groom’s family before the actual wedding ceremony! It is the staple food of Bengal along with rice. They together fulfill the protein and carbohydrate requirement of the eater at every meal. There are innumerable ways to eat fish if you are a Bengali but, fish fry is a perennial favorite at all weddings and parties. Do try especially if you love a lovey and meaty bhetki.
Last but not the least is the delectable ghoogni. Made of dried chickpea lentils this dish can also be both vegetarian or spiked with mutton keema. A small paper plate of this fragrant dish can actually uplift your spirit and make you feel happy for no reason. Perfect comfort food.
(Images courtesy Internet)