Delhi and its neighbourhood are filled with places that offer succulent dishes from Bengal.
As they say — food, music and movies are some of the finest things to have come out of Bengal. Especially, the culinary scene has been enormously popular amongst food enthusiasts for a long time. Ask any random person to name a few Bangali (Bengali) dishes, Rosogolla, Aloo Posto and Maacher Jhol would definitely make it to the list.
However, food which come under the wide umbrella of Bengali cuisine is diverse. In fact, dishes originating from Bangladesh (previously a part of unidivided Bengal) are also an integral part of the same food scene.
Recently, we met a couple of chefs to understand, if these dishes are as complicated as they sound. Chef Anurudh, a multi property executive chef, responded, “You know, there’s Biryani in Kolkata and Delhi. The only difference is in the water and amount of flavours and spices used in a dish. If you try and perfect the tone of the cooking process, preparing a Bengali dish is not that complicated.”
Again, Chef Samir Sen, who visited the NCR for a recently held Bengali food festival — Essence of Bengal, enthusiastically shares, “Anyone who has tasted Bengali food will vouch for its unparalleled taste and diversity.”
Here are two unique dishes from two different parts of Bengal. Hope you enjoy!
Nolen Gurer Sandesh: For 10 to 12 pieces
- Whole milk 1.5 lts
- Lime juice 1 no. (whole lime)
- Nolen gur (date palm jaggery) 6 -7 tbsps
- Boil the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan in medium to low heat, stir occasionally. Once the milk starts boiling, lower the flame. Pour the lime juice and stir in. Milk will start curdling and change into chenna (cottage cheese).
- Remove the pan from heat and leave the chenna for three to five minutes.
- Pour the chenna-water over a cheese cloth or a soft cotton cloth andto drain water.
- Put this cloth with the chenna under cold running water for 2 to 3 minutes to remove the lemony smell. Then hang the chenna along with cloth for around 45 minutes.
- Now once again squeeze the cloth, if there is any extra water. But note that the chenna should not get too dry.
- Put the lump of chenna over a flat surface and knead it. Start kneading with the heal of your palm for about four to five minutes. Add Nolen gur (date palm jaggery) and knead again until jaggery is totally mixed with the chenna.
- Put a non-stick pan on low heat, add the kneaded chenna. Cook the chenna at low heat by stirring it continuously with a spatula for about four to five minutes.
- Brush the inside of the molds with little ghee. Take out the warm Sandesh and shape with molds. If you don't have any molds just toss into balls.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Posto Murgi (Chicken Gravy with Poppy Seeds)
- Chicken (cut in medium pieces) 1/2 kg
- Onion (chopped) 1 large
- Ginger Garlic paste 1 tbsp
- Kashmiri Red Chilli powder 1 tsp
- Garam Masala powder 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
- Lime juice 1 tsp
- Salt as per taste
- Oil 2 tsps
- Bay Leaves 2 nos.
- Coriander leaves (chopped) as per taste
- Green chillies 3 nos.
- Poppy Seeds (soaked in hot water) 2 tsps
- Marinate the chicken with garam masala powder, turmeric powder, salt and lime juice and keep aside for half an hour.
- Heat oil and fry the bay leaves.
- Add the chopped onions, ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smells goes away.
- Now add the marinated chicken, cook everything for few minutes.
- Meanwhile grind the soaked poppy seeds, green chillies into a fine paste and keep aside.
- Add the Kashmiri red chilli powder, ground poppy seed paste to the cooking chicken, and cook everything for few minutes again.
- Now add enough water and cook until the chicken gets well-cooked and the gravy becomes thick. Serve hot.
Recipes by Seasonal Tastes, Westin