Featured Posts

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pistachio Lemon Biscotti

Copenhegan is in news these days, lot of talks and discussion going on for climate change.While we were out in Central London for our usual weekend small tours, we landed up in Traflagar Square on Saturday.To our amusement ,ok also to my daughter’s amusement there was a sea of Santa there.Wondering about this and all curious , we went near to it , took some snaps,later we realized that they were protesting against global warming and climate change .They all shouted some slogans , don’t know what that was though .But some of them were in party mood with beer cans(Is beer cans bio-degradable?)We also happened to see a nice ice-sculpture of giant Polar Bear.Visit here for more details-- Ice Polar Bear
The ice sculpture was made on 11 th of December ,it will continue to be there upto 20 th of December to see and touch till it gradually melts away.This is all to depict the impact of global warming on earth.This is something incredible , while me and daughter were admiring ,touching the giant ice sculpture , one of the representative got in touch with my husband.They talked and my husband agreed to help out in small way giving little monetary benefits or donations to their funds. IF you also want to donate or know more then visit -- Here
That made me think, other than monetary benefits what are the other way we can help out to control global warming. I had started an event ,which got very few response, I am not surprised as these things always take back seat.If you feel , you may read it here --Save The Earth
Before I jump to the recipe, I must give you a rough idea that India is also on the radar of global warming( it is one of the few tipping points for global warming),recent drought affecting several states is just the tip of beginning. Think and act or it may be too late.
Since this is Christmas time ,I will be posting a simple biscotti recipe today, then in next post apple buns.
I don’t know exactly the difference between a cookie and a biscotti , but to me a biscotti is near to a cookie except the shape and the way it is baked or should I say twice baked.Butter and sugar is creamed together first and then the flour mixture is added gradually.baked to golden as long log/slab shape , then carefully it is cut into stripes of half to 1 inch of thickness.These slices are again baked till they are well toasted.

Pistachio Lemon Biscotti

1and 1 tbs cup –all purpose flour
¾ tsp of baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 egg
¼ cup of sugar(granulated cane sugar)
¼ cup of butter
½ tsp of fresh lemon zest
1 tbs of fresh lemon juice
¼ cup of shelled,chopped pistachio

In a bowl,mix in flour,baking powder and salt
In a separate bowl, mix in sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Now beat in egg,lemon zest and juice thoroughly.
Now slowly add the flour mixture and keep mixing till all the flour mixture is used.
Divide the dough into two parts.On a prepared sheet,shape each portion to a somewhat rectangular log of about 1 ½ inch wide by ½ inch thick by 12-14 inch long .
Bake in a preheated oven at 160 deg C or 325 deg F for 25-30 mints.(mine took exactly 25 mints) or until light golden and firm.
Take out and let it cool for 5 mints on a rack.
Now transfer it to cutting board .Using serrated knife, cut each baked log into slices.
Pace the knife at 45 deg angle and then cut each slices into ½ -1 inch thick slices.
Again arrange the cut slices on a baking sheet and bake another 6 mints .Take out and turn the slices, bake the other ends some more 6 mints or till dry and toasted.
Take out and let them cool.
Store them in an air tight container; at room temperature they remain fresh up to 1 week.
If you want, you may refrigerate and it remains fresh till 1 month.
One more close look,

You may double the recipe for more biscotti.
And you may add walnuts/hazelnuts/almonds in place of pistachio.
Or you may use dried fruits such as apricots, cranberries. Just soften it before mixing in the dough by submerging in hot water for few mints.Otherwise it may turn too hard.

Kosha Mangsho ( Bengali mutton Curry)

We have always loved eating Kosha Mangsho (Bengali Mutton Curry). Sunday meal was special as it was all part of a routine to cook kosha mangsho in our paternal home. During our growing up years, especially during summer vacation, we would go to visit our paternal homeland. Whole house would start bustling with laughter and contentment of togetherness.
We would be playing with our cousins and our fathers and uncles and aunties would end up chatting with each other or on rare occasion cooking Kosha Mangsho all together.
Making mutton curry/kosha mangsho was one thing when male members in our joint family would find it a way to showcase ones culinary skills and even giving directions to the ladies of the home .Sometimes often giving lectures on the correct amount of spices and onions or ginger or garlic. After all the big hotels have male chef not female chef. Isn’t?
Perhaps that’s why females in our home-Ma, Kakima and Thakuma would then used to ask our all kakus and Baba (My father is the eldest of all brothers) to help out in making Kosha mangsho.
We would then gather round our mother and kakimas to help them out in peeling, chopping, cutting, marinating but not frying the mutton. There were no short- cuts for Freshly Prepared masala paste on Sheel Nora ( a type of Mortar/ Pestle -Sheel nora – grinding stone flab of about 16 inches * 10 inches , and a stone roller of 9 inches, roller is slide into time to time to make a smooth paste of masala over Sheel/Stone flab).

Making Kasha Mangsho, includes grinding onion, garlic and ginger into a smooth paste over Sheel Nora and then deep frying mutton in Kadai or Dekchi at med till the oil separates out, stirring in between and cooking it in at low like a slow pot cooker .Everything used to be slow and smooth, and the taste incomparable, probably there is no substitute for Hard work and the end result smooth gravy and juicy mutton pieces cooked to perfect with spices. One bite and the taste burst into the mouth, whole lot of chemical reactions and salivations makes the dish so relish.
Recipe below is my vague captivation of the vivid memories that I have on my part while growing up.
And I would say I have seen my Ma-in-law making Kosha mangsho this way. Adding potatoes as some of you would say is not part of making Kosha mangsho, but this is how I have seen my Baap’er Bari (Paternal Side) and my Shoshur Bari ( In-laws Side) making Kosha Mangsho.
With the invention of pressure cooker and Mixer grinder , things becomes far easy for us .This recipe is little bit short and time saving as mutton is being cooked in Pressure cooker after deep frying it in kadai , but the originality of taste still is maintained .

Kosha means deep Fry mangsho means Mutton

Bengali Mutton curry
750 gms of mutton
3-4 medium size potato cut into half
1-2 tbs of mustard oil for frying potato
3-4 onions
For Marinating the mutton
garlic 10- 1ginger-1 ½ inch
2 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
1 ½ tsp of salt
4 heaped tbs of yogurt
1tsp of garam masala
For tempering
10- 12 black pepper
3 bay leaf
4 whole cardamom ( Gota elaich)
5 cloves (long)
½ inch long cinnamon stick
1 tsp of sugar
½ cup of mustard oil
How To Proceed
Marinating the mutton

Fisrt make a smooth paste of Garlic and Ginger by grinding in Mixer , add little bit of water also.Do the same with onions .
Marinate the mutton with Turmeric powder ,salt ,Coriander powder, Red pepper powder , Yogurt and 1-2 tbs of mustard oil and the garlic /ginger paste and half of the onion paste .Let it sit there for 1-2 hrs.

Heat up a kadai/ heavy bottom Pan ,add 1-2 tbs of mustard oil and fry the potatoes till brown on every side .Take out and keep aside .

Tempering The oil and deep Frying
Add rest of mustard oil and temper it with Black pepper, Cinnamon stick,Bay leaf , whole Cardamom ,Cloves and sugar .Caramelization Of sugar gives a nice Red color to the Mutton gravy .Fry at low for 1 mints . Add the rest of the onion paste, and fry for 3-4 mints till the rawness of the onions is gone.

Add the marinated mutton at this point , deep fry at med for 15-25 mints, TIP-.If the oil comes out by the side of kadai , Mutton is deep fried well .If the mutton is Kochi mangsho it may take few minutes less to deep fry it.
Add fried potatoes and 2 cups of water ( it depends on the gravy you want , if you want a thick gravy don’t add much water)
Transfer the entire fried mutton to Pressure Cooker, add 1tsp of garam masala at this point, one whistle at high and then lower the flame and cook for about 15-17 mints .
Alternately you can cook the entire thing in a deep bottom pan or kadhai at low for 1hrs and make sure it's covered,the gravy will be very dry or makho-makho.
Let it cool and open the pressure cooker pan and sprinkle fresh chopped coriander leaves .
Serve with rice or Loochi /luchi of your choice .
You May want to look some variation of kosha mangsho and some steps in making Kosha Mangsho then go here--

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Taste of Bengal

Elish—or hilsa—is a fish. For Bengalis, it is also an event. Rather like the American shad, with which the hilsa shares its taste, texture and heritage, this elusive, silvery fish spends several winter months in the deep, turbulent waters of the open sea. Then, around late February, it leaves the Bay of Bengal and, in large shoals, begins finning its way up the Ganges and other rivers and rivulets of the Ganges delta to spawn- and to take its chances with Bengali fisherman.

Bengalis are, on the whole, an infectiously passionate lot and few things unite them more than their common passion for food—especially for fish. No meal is considered complete without it. Symbols of fertility, fish are touched by husbands and then sent to their brides before the wedding ceremony. Fish heads are put into pots of split peas to add peas richness and flavor; tiny shrimp are stir-fried with vegetables; fish are steamed, fried, smoked, made into balls and patties, even stuffed into creamy green coconuts and baked.

In a strange idiosyncrasy, most Bengalis will not touch salt—water fish, complaining that they lack sweetness. Luckily for them, there is abundant fresh water in the spreading fingers of the vast Ganges estuary. The verdant earth, too, is pitted with lakes and ponds. Every ditch, every major puddle seems to swarm with some variety of fish—perch, mullet, crab, carp, prawn, crayfish and lobster. All are loved. But it is the expensive, seasonal hilsa that is prized above all.

At a recent soccer match between Bangladesh (east Bengal) and India’s West Bengal’s fans—in shows of good-natured jingoism—waved hilsas from their own waters as banners, the Bangladeshis claiming that their fish from the Padma river were the sweetest and the West Bengalis shouting them down with equal – and louder—claims of their own. Bengalis, anxious to satisfy deep cravings of their relatives abroad, have been known to rub fresh hilsa pieces in salt and turmeric – the latter being an antiseptic—drown them in mustard oil and then pack them in polythene bags and carry them all the way to New York. This, it may be relief to know, is only tried in the winter season and the only accidents reported have been loss of suitcases, not spoilage of fish!

Bengalis not only love fish, they are exceedingly particular about it when they shop. Early mornings, heads of households can be seen in Calcutta’s 19th century New Market, sporting plastic of jute shopping bags. They not only examine the eyes of the fish for clearness and the inside of the gills for redness, they know that leta fish is good for invalids and must be bought live, as should be koi or climbing perch, as well as the carp-like rui and female crabs, all rich with roe. They know that only fools discard prawn heads, as that is where most of the flavor resides, and that local hilsa should be snapped up whenever the availability of fish happily coincides with the availability of extra cash needed to buy it.

Hilsa may be cooked in many ways. The hotel Oberoi Grand in Calcutta, an oasis tucked into a crowded thoroughfare, serves a superb Anglo-Indian version, all beautifully smoked and boned, while every Bengali hoe prepares that most elegant of hilsa dishes, elish bhapa. In a breathtakingly simple procedure, cut pieces of hilsa are mixed with a mayonnaise like paste of ground mustard seeds (yellow if mildness is desired, black if a certain bitter pungency is favored), mustard oil, red chilies, green chilies, turmeric and salt. The combination is either wrapped up in an airtight package of banana leaves and cooked along with rice or, if banana leaves are not handy, the mixture is put into a covered metal bowl and the bowl left in a larger pot with just enough water to steam the fish. The fish stays moist and tender while allowing the simple spices to permeate it to its very core.

Seasonings that could be classified, as ‘Bengali’ would have to include two used in the steamed hilsa dish, mustard oil an mustard seeds. Both have Jekyll and Hyde characteristics. If whole mustard seeds are thrown into hot oil and allowed to pop, they turn nuttily sweet; if they are ground to a paste as many Bengali recipes require, they develop a delicious, nose-tingling pungency. Mustard oil is sharp when used raw; it turns docile and sweet if it is heated. Many Bengali dishes require mustard seeds to do triple duty—as an oil, as a popped, nutty seed, and as a fiery seed paste as well.

Many of the young English East Indiamen lived in a style they could hardly have managed back home. An ordinary household could have as many as thirty servants. There was one to cool the water, one in charge of the wine, others for the garden and the children. There was tailor, a laundryman, a head steward, waiters, and stableboys, a servant to pull fans, and even one to light and take care of the hookah or hubble pipe—which had become quite the rage.

By the 19th century, amusements included amateur theatricals, riding in the morning, promenading by the water in the evening, fancy-dress balls and all manners of banquets. Almost every major English family had a relative in Calcutta—and the history of the city is filled with names like dickens, Turner, Thackeray, Macaulay and Cornwallis.

Because of the heat, mornings started before dawn, often with a ride for the men. According to the diary of a 19th century East Indiaman, breakfast could be ‘a preparation consisting of a little butter, two or three green chilies, a pyramid of boiled rice, a ditto egg, and a pound of dried fish, with salt and cayenne at discretion, all mashed up on a hot water plate and baled down the throat with a spoon’. This Anglo-India dish, sounding suspiciously like what the British were to call kedgeree, was served with tea, coffee and lots of Indian fruit.

Ice began coming into Calcutta in the 1830s – strangely enough, all the way from America, as the ballast in ships. ‘Up to then it had been collected in small quantities and hoarded like gold dust.’ The day it came, ‘everybody invited to dinner, to taste claret and beer cooled by the American importation.’ Banquets, already glittering affairs, glittered even more with lumps of ice shining from butter dishes and water goblets. Such banquets served soups, beefsteaks (Americans, it is said, marveled at the beefsteaks, saying that they were better than those in their homeland), ‘quails or ortolans piled up in hetacombs’, an overgrown turkey, ham, a sirloin of beef, a saddle of mutton, legs of mutton boiled and roasted, geese, ducks, tongues, pigeons pies, curry and rice, mutton chops and mutton cutlets. Wine was served in ‘petticoated’ bottles (wet ‘clothing’ to keep them cool), port; claret and Burgundy in crimson with white flounces, sherry and Madeira in white. Dinner was followed by the gurgle – gurgle of the hookahs, which were placed behind each chair. Many people died in Calcutta during this period of what was called ‘the vapors’. This may well have been a euphemism for over-indulgence.

But, just as the Bengali- however westernized—never gave up his language, neither did he give up his Bengali food and his passion fish, rice—and sweets. In face, Bengalis have—with justification –such high regard for their food that one gentleman at a dinner turned to me and said with quiet conviction, ‘There are only four great cuisines in the world—French, Chinese, Italian and Bengali!’

Today, a Bengali’s day in the country might well begin, gastronomically speaking, with a big bowl containing moori (puffed rice), thick creamy milk and healthy dollops of freshly mashed fruit such as sweet, ripe mangoes or musky jackfruit. In the city, a clerk rushing to the office in a white kurta and dhoti (voluminous lower garment) might hurriedly partake of a steaming cup of tea and moori in its savory form, just tossed with mustard oil and chopped green chilies. Being Bengali and terribly sweet toothed; he might nibble a lump of date palm jaggery on the side to balance the savouriness of the one with the sweetness of the other. Then, he is likely to pick up his brolly and rush to catch a clanging tram or careening red double-decker bus already bursting at the seams with a profusion of humanity.

Date jaggery is quite a delicacy and is made by tapping the date palm. An elegant hostess in Calcutta laid out-as one of the final dinner courses- a jaggery board, just as one might a cheese board, with six different varieties of jaggery. Only one of them was made from the juice of sugar canes. The others were made from date palms, varying from dark brown and ochre lumps sitting on the board to golden and brown treacle-like

syrups in bowls. They were to be eaten with loochi; a deep fried bread made out of white flour, and were delicious beyond description.

Any Bengali will confess to you that he has a great weakness for sweets. Because millions of sweetmeats are consumed hourly in Bengal,

A singhara is a Bengali samosa, consisting of vegetables such as cauliflower or potatoes, all nicely spiced, wrapped in a triangular pastry, and deep fried.

Perhaps the most classical, and perhaps the oldest as well, of all the chhana sweets is sondesh. Chhana is simply mixed with thick sugar syrup and cooked over a very low flame until the moisture evaporates. It is then pressed into pretty wooden moulds, emerging with imprints of flowers and trailing vines. Sondesh is a delicacy served throughout the year but is specially good in spring when, instead of sugar syrup, it is prepared with the season’s new jagery. This nutan gurer sondesh has a lovely, caramel colour and flavor and is quite a rare delight.

Once the morning’s jalkhabar is done, housewives can rest, read, shop sing Tagore songs, or begin preparations for lunch.

A lunchtime favorite is sukto. It starts the meal and consists of melange of diced and fried vegetables, some bitter (like bitter gourd), some pungent (like white radish), some starchy (like potato), some stiff (like sheem, a hard skinned flat bean), and others soft, such as delicious stems and leaves which only Bengalis seem to eat. To this are added bori (sun dried morsels fashioned out of ground split peas). The resulting melange is then cooked with some milk and water and flavored with ground ginger, ground mustard seeds, cumin and turmeric. As a final fillip, some roasted and ground panchphoran is sometimes added. Panchphoran is a spice mixture used only in Bengal and consists of whole cumin seeds, whole fennel seeds, whole kalonji, whole fenugreek seeds and whole radhuni, which resembles parsley seeds.

At this same lunch would follow some rice and dal accompanied by a fried titbit or bhaja. Bhajas can be made out of most vegetables and fish, but one of my favorites remains alur khosa bhaja, made with the potato skins that most people just throw away. (An English bishop, arriving in Calcutta in 1823, remarked that potatoes, once unpopular, (are) now. much liked, and are spoken of as the best thing the country has received from its European masters.) There might be some rui machher jhol, carp; ikeces cooked in a simple sauce of cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chilies and water. This would be followed by sweet and sour chutney (perhaps my favorite), aam jhol, a thin, watery, sweet and sour soup made out of green mangoes flavored very lightly with mustard oil and mustard seeds. Since Bengalis must have a sweet, there might be misti doi, a thick, sweetened yoghurt set in earthen cups, and perhaps some pretty diamond-shaped pieces of sondesh to finish off.

Early evenings might see families strolling near the enormous white pile known as the Victoria Memorial, or along the cooling banks of the Hoogly to enjoy snacks like jhal moori, a spicy combination of moori (puffed rice), potatoes and cucumber. These families may, on the other hand, enjoy the river more with a puchka in their mouths. This mouthful-and it is that-is a scrumptious delight. First you fry up a small, very crisp, ball-shaped poori, crisp enough to hold its shape. Then you poke a hole in the top and stuff in some spicy potatoes. Then-- and here is the best part--- you fill it to the top with tart, cumin and red chili flavored tarmarind water, and, before it can drip, carry it, whole, to your mouth and stuff it in. There is no pleasure like that of eating puchkas, one after another, though I suppose it is not quite the thing for politer circles.

As dusk falls over this Indo-British town, with its ghosts of English damsels who came searching for rich husbands and East Indiamen who seldom lived long enough to enjoy their fortunes or their new wives, the laborers of this maritime city might gather in local taverns to sip liquors made out of distilled jaggery while they tear up and devour the tasty flesh of spicy crabs (kakra chaat). Around this same time, the more westernized rich- those who own advertising agencies and tea plantations –might relax with their whiskies and their recordings of Mozart, slowly moving on to a grand dinner served on large kansa (an alloy of tin, copper and zinc) plates.

The leisurely meal, punctuated by accounts of a son at Oxford or a daughter at Harvard, would start traditionally with rice, dal and bhaja. The rice might be an elegant pilaf, the dal, flavored with a fish head (macher matha diye mooger dal). And the bhaja, delicate pumpkin flowers dipped in a chickpea flour batter and deep-fried.

Next would come the fish- perhaps large estuary prawns simmered in coconut milk (chingri malai)- and vegetables such as the pungent sorse dharush (okra cooked with a paste of mustard seeds) and kopir dantar dalna chingri maccher diye (cauliflower stems cooked with tiny shrimp).

Meat would follow- perhaps mangsho jhol nicely marinated lamb cooked in mustard oil with potatoes and onions. The chutney course would be next- this could be made with tomatoes, nicely studded with bits of preserved sweet mango- accompanied by soft loochis (breads). Then would come the sweet yogurt, bhapa doi (steamed yoghurt) perhaps, smelling elegantly-and expensively- of saffron. Finally, would come the sweets- the glory of Bengal: rasmalais (a chhana sweet) floating in cardamonm-flavoured cream, kala jamuns (dark round balls made out of fried chhana), and Lady Kennys (fried chhana balls stuffed with raisins) – the last named after a foreign woman, Lady Canning, the wife of a governor-general, who once, a long time ago, admitted that she had a partiality for those dark Bengali morsels. The gentlemen in their fresh bush shirts and the ladies in their crackling cotton saris would now be able to indulge themselves to their hearts content.

History of the Rossogolla

It was the golden age of Bengal’s renaissance. Things were blooming in every direction. In confectionery, too. The man who chose this area for engaging his genius was Nobin Chandra Das. The beginning was humble. In a tiny obscure corner of Baghbazar in North Calcutta, Nabin Chandra set up a sweet shop. But he hated running a mere sales counter. The passion to create something of his very own haunted him. His primary ambition was to break the supremacy of the ubiquitous sandesh. Imagination, skill and tenacity were his forte. And, these eventually paid dividends when Nobin Chandra invented the ROSSOGOLA . It was an innovation strong enough to vie with sandesh. And, for Nobin Chandra, it was a route to history where he has been lodged. Securely. Permanently. Connoisseurs of sweets remember him till today as Nobinmoira. Highbrow Bengalis often used the word moira slightingly, but they revised their outlook when tagging it as a suffix to Nobin Chandra’s name. Nobinmoira is a legend born out of, and sustained by, love.

Nobin Chandra left his legacy of genius to his worthy son Krishna Chandra Das (K.C.Das) . A chip of the old block, Krishna Chandra enlarged his inheritance of this genius in the art of Bengal’s sweetmeats. What’s more, he planted in his family a vibrant tradition that keeps on exploring new vistas outside the beaten track. It is virtually through the pioneering efforts of the Das family that the Rossogolla can confidently claim today the status of the national sweet.

Besides being privileged to have a great father, Krishna Chandra had yet another source of inspiration in his mother’s family. His mother was the grand daughter of Bholanath Dey who is better known as Bholamoira in the cultural history of Bengal. A successful professional confectioner, Bholamoira added bigger dimensions to his career as a minstrel.

Krishna Chandra started his first shop, "Krishna Chandra Das Confectioner", in 1930, with his youngest son Sarada Charan. It became a crisper "K.C.Das" before long. Within five years, the venture was a spectacular success.

Through the ages, Bengalis have proved their irreplaceable love for sweets. No dietary idea is complete without it. Sugarcane grew in abundance in the state and much of it went into making sweets. The cane extract was boiled in large earthen pots and made into gur (jaggery), the crushed bagasse being used as fuel. It was then converted into sugar. It is perhaps one of the earliest recorded instances of the production of sugar. The gur was then covered with pata, a type of moss. The bacteria present in the moss fed on the reddish brown impurities in the molasses / jaggery, leaving behind granules of crystal sugar. The sugar produced, despite the rudimentary methods of refining, was almost as pure as, and much tastier than, the mill-made sugar. Today, it is a lost art.

Nobin Chandra’s ancestors were sugar barons. They had once controlled the entire sugar industry in Bengal. But by 1846, when Nobin Chandra was born, their dominance had diminished. Nobin Chandra lost his father three months before his birth. Left with little scope to complete his education, he started a sweetmeat shop at Jorasanko in Calcutta in 1864 at his mother’s instance. It was a failure. Most of the sweetmeats made then were either sandesh, a delicacy exclusively for the affluent, or sweets made of dal (lentil) or flour from various grains. He started a new shop in Baghbazar in 1866.

Meanwhile, the clamour among the city’s elite for an alternative to sandesh was running high.

And Nobin Chandra was resolved to give it a good response. Success came in 1868 when Nobin Chandra offered his soft, spongy and syrupy Rossogolla. It was the ultimate delicacy. There was

Then no cult of advertising and Rossogolla took time to gain in popularity.

Nobin Chandra waited patiently for the recognition of his wonderful creation. Fortune smiled on him at long last. One fine morning, a magnificent landau came to a halt before his Baghbazar shop. A wealthy businessman, Bhagwandas Bagla, and his family were in the carriage. One of Bhagwandas’s children was thirsty, and the carriage stopped in search of water. Nobin Chandra met their demand. The little boy was given a drink of water and Rossogolla. The child was delighted at the taste of this unique delicacy and asked his father to share his delight. The father was as ecstatic. He bought a huge quantity for his family and friends. It was very rudimentary and unorthodox publicity but proved immensely useful. Nobin Chandra and his Rossogolla became famous in about no time.

Hailing originally from Burdwan, the Das’s have, however, been living in Calcutta for eight generations. Their house on a horseshoe shaped bend on the Hooghly in Sutanutty, now Baghbazar, was fairly well-known. Being respectable and prosperous sugar merchants, Nobin

Chandra’s family did not take kindly to his decision to be a sweetmeat seller. His family itself called him "moira " (confectioner) contemptuously. Little did they suspect that history would dissolve their contempt into an enduring legend.

Nobin Chandra’s only child , Krishna Chandra, masterminded the Rossomalai, another perennial favourite. To popularise the Rossomalai, Krishna Chandra opened a new sweetshop at Jorasanko in 1930 from where he also introduced the canned Rossogolla. K.C.Das’s enterprising youngest son, Sarada Charan, quickly expanded the business, adding to the number of shops in Calcutta. K.C.Das was incorporated as a private limited company under the Companies Act in 1946, with Sarada Charan as its Founder Governing Director.

Sarada Charan’s finest contributions are sweets for diabetics and the latest Amrita Kumbha sandesh, which is an exciting departure from all conventional concepts of shape and taste.

It was not, however, a cakewalk all the way. The stringent Milk Trade Control Order in West Bengal cramped and smothered the enterprise initiated by Nobin Chandra and built into a tradition by his successors. Barring the Esplanade establishment, which was selling savouries besides sweets, all the K.C.Das shops had to close down, along with that of Nobin Chandra Das in 1967.

The K.C.Das Company began its southern campaign in 1972 when Sarada Charan set up a factory and a shop in Bangalore. It has been highly successful, the Rossogolla being undeniably the most popular. According to Sarada Charan, the doyen of the Indian confectionery industry and the present head of the K.C.Das family, the business has survived many crises and constraints such as the Milk Control Order in West Bengal and the spiraling price of sugar. Non- availability of quality milk and shortage of electricity added to the problems, according to him. The cottage industry status of Nobin Chandra’s shop in 1866 has assumed the stature of a small scale industry through the development and growth of K.C.Das Private Ltd.

Despite hurdles, the K.C.Das organisation is untiring in its attempts to innovate newer, more scientific and hygienic methods of production and packaging. The production technology is entirely designed by Sarada Charan and operated in the Company’s factory under his supervision and guidance.

Mughlai Delicacies|Chinese Delicacies|Bengali Delicacies|

  • Prices include Service charges and delivery charges in Kolkata only.

  • For delivery on a specific date, Please use the "Special Instructions" section of the order form.

  • All Dishes are sourced from Reputed restaurants.


Veg Fried Wonton

Chicken Fried Wanton

Prawns Fried Wanton

US $ 6.00

US $ 9.00

US $ 9.00

Add to cart

Add to cart

Add to Cart

Veg Spring Rolls

Chicken Spring Rolls

Prawn Spring Rolls

US $ 7.00

US $9.00 US $ 9.00

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Singapore Chillie Prawn

Singapore Chillie lobster

Mixed Veg Rice

US $ 14.00

US $38.00

US $ 8.00

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Ginger Capsicum fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice

Egg chicken fried rice

US $ 8.00

US $ 8.00

US $ 9.00

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Seafood fried rice

Mixed meat fried rice

Veg Hakka Noodles

US $ 10.00

US $ 10.00

US $ 8.00

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Chicken Hakka Noodles

Prawn Hakka Noodles

Chillie Garlic Noodles

US $9.00

US $ 11.50

US $ 10.00

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Chicken n Spicy Shrimp

Mushu Chicken

Dried Red Chilli Chicken

US $12.00

US $12.00

US $12.00

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Konjee Crispy Lamb

Tung po Lamb

Chilli Fish

US $13.00

US $13.00 US $12.00

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Chillie Paneer

Chillie Chicken

US $8..00

US $12.00

Add to Cart

Add to Cart

Thursday, September 2, 2010

E n j o y t h e R e c i p e s

Dimer Jhol (Egg Curry)


4 Eggs, hard boiled and shelled
2 Medium-large potatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
1" cube of fresh ginger, grated
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed chilli
1 level teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed (dhanya)
1.5 teaspoon turmeric powder (halood)
1 level teaspoon ground cumin seed (jeera)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt to taste
2 cups of warm water


  1. Once you have gathered the ingredients peel the potatoes and cut each into 6 pieces. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot fry the potatoes for 4-5 mins turning them over from time to time. Take them out and place aside when they are done

  2. Next make 2-3 small slits in each egg, coat with half of the turmeric powder and fry eggs in the remaining oil in the pan until slightly browned. You must continuously turn the eggs. When these are done set them aside.

  3. In the remaining oil add the crushed chilli and the garam masala and fry for one minute (medium heat). Next add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute. After this you add the chopped onion and fry for 5 minutes, lower the heat to "low" and add the chilli powder, coriander and cumin and curry powder. Stir and fry for 2 minutes.

  4. Now add to the pan the potatoes, salt and turmeric, turn up the heat to medium again and stir to coat the potatoes with the spices. Add the water and bring to boil. Once it starts boiling lower the heat and cover the pan with a lid and allow to simmer till the potatoes are almost done (10 min). Add the eggs and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are well done.

Serves: 4 people
Serving ideas: plain boiled rice and postho or just with roti



  1. Grind half a cup of postho (in spice/coffee grinder)
  2. make paste of the ground postho in water
  3. Dice 3-4 potatoes
  4. Slice one onion
  5. In a pan heat 3 tablespoons of oil
  6. Fry onions until soft
  7. Add potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  8. Stir fry for a few minutes
  9. Add ground postho paste, stir
  10. Add salt to taste and a cup of water
  11. Bring up the heat to get it boiling
  12. Cover pan, lower heat, simmer til dry, stir occasionally
  13. Before removing from the heat sprinkle mustard oil
  14. Serve with rice and dahl (serves 4-6)


You can use jhinge (or zucchini) with potatoes too to make ``jhinge postho''. Replace 4 potatoes with one or two onions to make ``piyanj postho''. Making postho with potatoes, onions and bori's will give you ``bori postho''. Replace the bori's with small besan bora's and you've made ``bora postho''. Leave out potatoes and onions altogether and add some green chiliies and onions while grinding the postho, make a paste and then cook the same way in oil as above to get ``baati postho'' . If you fry the postho some more after the water has evaporated at the end of cooking, you get ``bhaja postho''. If your postho paste is thick and course you can also make ``postho bora'' by moulding it into little cakes and frying them in hot oil. You can add postho to greens to make ``shak postho'' too. Finally, if you like you can make a paste of ground postho, spices, chilli, onion and mustard oil - place in a small bowl and place it in the pan you are cooking rice in during the last ten minutes of cooking this rice and when the rice is done you have a mildly cooked delicious ``kancha postho'' to eat with it.

Note: Postho (or poppy seeds) are a great source of calcium!

Bangali Salad


1/2 a cucumber, finely chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1 small beetroot, shredded (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped radish (optional)
2 medium-small tomatoes
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh corriander leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
juice from 1/2 a large lime
few drops of mustard oil
1 teaspoon crushed peanuts (optional)


  1. Place all the vegi ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Add the seasoning and toss the salad until every thing is uniformly mixed
  3. Sprinkle the lime juice, mustard oil and finally the crushed peanuts on top
  4. Serve 15min later, preferably chilled

Maacher Kalia


2 large steaks of a firm fish like salmon or rohu
3 teaspoons turmeric powder
3 teaspoons salt
oil for deep frying
3 medium sized potatoes
10-12 large cauliflower florets
1 large onion, finely chopped
2" ginger root , peeled and grated
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
2 dried red chilli peppers
2 teaspoon panchphoran
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons corriander powder
3/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1 Tablespoon plain unsweetened yogurt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
3 cups warm water


  1. Cut each fish steak into 4 quarters as evenly as possible. Wash and drain the fish and place in a bowl; rub the pieces with 2 teaspoons turmeric powder and one teaspoon of salt and let sit about 15-20 minutes

  2. Heat the oil for deep frying in a small deep vessel (like a karhai) at "medium high" heat. Deep fry the fish a few pieces at a time - 5 mins. each side and then set them aside

  3. Peel the potatoes and cut each one into 4 long wedges. Wash the potatoes and the cauliflower florest, drain and set aside

  4. Heat 6-8 tablespoons of the oil the fish was deep fried in in a large pan. When the oil is hot crumble the dried red chilli peppers into it and add the panchphoran. When the panchporan begins to sputter, reduce the heat to "low" and add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for 30 sec to a minute

  5. Next add the onions and stir fry them on "medium" heat until they are soft and golden brown. Now reduce the heat to the lowest setting and add the remaining turmeric powder, chilli powder, corriander powder and cumin powder stir fry for 2-3 mins.

  6. Raise the heat to "medium-high" and now add the potatoes and cauliflower. Stir fry for 5-6 minutes making sure they are evenly covered in all the spices. Add the yogurt and stir fry for another minute or two and then add water and bring it to boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to "low" and let it cook for 15 mins.

  7. Now add the fish and stir once. Cover and cook some more until the vegetables are done. Sprinkle the garam masala and take off from the heat. Pour into a serving bowl, let it sit 10 mins. before serving

Serves: 4-8 people
Serving ideas: plain rice, and spinach for a starter.

Saag Kumro


3 cups peeled and diced pumpkin (kumro)
2 medium potatoes, diced but not peeled
A bunch of fresh spinach), chopped
1/2 lb baby shrimp (peeled+steamed is ok)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 dried red chilli
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon corriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
2 tablespoons finely ground/grated coconut


  1. First heat the oil in a pan, add the cumin and the turmeric, stir-fry these spices for a minute before you add the shrimp. Fry the shrimp for a couple of minutes and then take them out with a slotted spoon and leave aside.

  2. Next break the dried red chilli and fry it in the oil for a minute before adding the potatoes and pumpkin. Stir fry these for a few minutes. Add the corriander, chilli powder and sugar and stir-fry for a couple more minutes.

  3. Now add the chopped spinach and stir it in until the it slowly decreases in volume and blends in with the other ingredients (~3 mins). Now add the salt and sprinke a little water (3-4 Tbsp) cover and allow to cook under low heat until the potatoes are done.

  4. Sprinkle and stir in the ground coconut and shrimp before turning off the heat, you may wish to save a little for the final garnish when you serve this dish.
Serves: 4-6 people
Serving ideas: serve with piping hot plain rice and borar jhal!

An Introduction to Bengali Cooking

Bengal or, as she is lovingly referred to, "Sonar Bangla" (Golden Bengal), is made up of the Indian state of West Bengal and the country of Bangladesh (formerly East Bengal). The people of Bengal farm the fertile Ganges Delta for rice and vegetables and fish the regions myriad rivers. If you haven't yet visited this uniquely beautiful land, here is a glimse of it below. These pictures are of Ashuria, a small village in Birbhum district of West Bengal, India.

`` The skies are pure blue brushed by wisps of white clouds. A land of green and gold rolls out to the horizon. Yellow mustard flowers and purple brinjal punctuate the green of the paddy fields. Now and again a huddle of huts crowd around a duck pond, fringed with stately palms, lanky papaya trees and untidy clumps of banana.
This is Sonar Bangla. ''
If you would like to learn more about Bengal and her people you should definitely visit the the following websites:
  • The West Bengal Home Page (by Arghya Chatterjee)
  • Virtual Bangladesh (by Zunaid Kazi)

A Bengali Bazzar

Anaj Bazaar

(A Vegetable Market)

The variety of fruits and vegetables that Bengal has to offer is incredible. Markets are usually open air ones. This scene is from the busy Sealdah vegetable market in Calcutta. A host of gourds, roots & tubers, leafy greens, succulent stalks, lemons & limes, green and purple eggplants, red onions, plantain, broad beens, okra, banana tree stems and flowers, green jackfruit and red pumpkins are just some of what you'll see if you visit!

Maachher Bazaar

(A Fish Market)

Visitors enjoy a tour of Calcutta's fish markets like this one. They are fascinated by the lively koi (climbing perch), the wriggling catfish family of tangra, magur, shingi and the pink-bellied Indian butter fish, the pabda. Among the larger fish, rui (rohu) and bhetki weigh upto eight kilograms. Baskets of pink and silvery ilish (hilsa) match the shine on the glistening blade of the fishmonger's boti. And the fish itself is eaten from top to tail!

Inside the Bengali Kitchen

With the shopping done, the scene shifts to the ranna bari (cookhouse). The storage, cooking and eating areas in a Bengali home were a separate unit and the domain of the womenfolk. This barrack-like cookhouse was a row of rooms running parallel to a wide airy veranda often used as the dining space. In an orthodox Bengali home, fish and vegetables were cooked over separate fires, rice over another and meat, if cooked at all was done in a portable bucket fire outside the kitchen. However, recipes that were once cooked on these cowpat, wood or charcoal fires have now been adapted to emerge almost perfect from the gas, electric and microwave ovens that are in use today.

Here are some essential items you are sure to spot if you ever take a peek into a Bengali kitchen (even today!).

The staple food, rice, is bought by the sack and stored in huge containers. Pure golden mustard oil, that pungent Bengali cooking medium is usually stored in zinc lined tins. Large square tins are usually used to store the favorite Bengali snack food - muri (puffed rice). Achaars (pickles), spices, dals and ghee are kept in various sized bottles and jars on a shelf. And you will find many baskets, large and small, lidded and unlidded strewn all over the floor to store vegetables that just arrived from the market.

Among the cooking vessels, the karais (woks) where most of the cooking and frying is done, the tawa (griddle) on which rotis and parotas are made, the handi - a special large pot for cooking rice and the handleless modification of the sauce pan - the rimmed, deep, flat-bottomed dekchi are all hallmarks of the Bengali kitchen. And of course you will also find the pressure cooker which is indispensable to any Indian kitchen. As for the other utensils you absolutely can't do without the hatha (ladle), the khunti (metal spatula), the jhanjri (perforated spoon), the sharashi (pincers to remove vessels from the fire), the ghuntni (wooden hand blender) for puréeing dal and the old wooden chaki belon (round pastry board and rolling pin).

The action in the kitchen begins with the cutting of fish and vegetables and the grinding of spices. And this is when the two star attractions of the Bengali kitchen - the sil nora (grinding stone) and the boti (a cutting tool) appear. The items to be ground are put on the heavy sil, a pentagonal slab of stone and are crushed over and over by its moving partner the nora, a smooth black stone you hold with your hands. This inseperable pair lasts longer than a lifetime and is usually handed down from mother-in-law to daughter-in-law.

Although knives and peelers have made their debut into the modern Bengali kitchen, the boti, that unique cutting tool, has not yet been ousted. Boti, the Bengali woman's pride and joy and her proverbial weapon, is fitted on a wooden stand and held in place by the feet on the floor so that both hands are free. The blade of the versatile boti varies and is sharp enough to cut off the head of the toughest carp and yet safe enough to peel vegetables (with some skill that is!).

Common Bengali Cooking Styles

AMBAL : A sour dish made either with several vegetables or with fish, the sourness being produced by the addition of tamarind pulp.

BHAJA : Anything fried, either by itself or in batter.

BHAPA : Fish or vegetables steamed with oil and spices. A classic steaming technique is to wrap the fish in banana leaf to give it a faint musky, smoky scent.

BHATE : Any vegetable, such as potatoes, beans, pumpkins or even dal, first boiled whole and then mashed and seasoned with mustard oil or ghee and spices.

BHUNA : A term of Urdu origin, meaning fried for a long time with ground and whole spices over high heat. Usually applied to meat.

CHACHCHARI : Usually a vegetable dish with one or more varieties of vegetables cut into longish strips, sometimes with the stalks of leafy greens added, all lightly seasoned with spices like mustard or poppy seeds and flavoured with a phoron. The skin and bone of large fish like bhetki or chitol can be made into a chachchari called kanta-chachchari, kanta, meaning fish-bone.

CHHANCHRA : A combination dish made with different vegetables, portions of fish head and fish oil (entrails).

CHHENCHKI : Tiny pieces of one or more vegetable - or, sometimes even the peels (of potatoes, lau, pumpkin or patol for example) - usually flavored with panch-phoron or whole mustard seeds or kala jeera. Chopped onion and garlic can also be used, but hardly any ground spices.

DALNA : Mixed vegetables or eggs, cooked in a medium thick gravy seasoned with groung spices, especially garom mashla and a touch of ghee.

DAM : Vegetables, especially potatoes, or meat, cooked over a covered pot slowly over a low heat.

GHANTO : Different complementary vegtables (e.g., cabbage, green peas, potatoes or banana blossom, coconut, chickpeas) are chopped or finely grated and cooked with both a phoron and ground spices. Dried pellets of dal (boris) are often added to the ghanto. Ghee is commonly added at the end. Non-vegitarian ghantos are also made, with fish or fish heads added to vegetables. The famous murighanto is made with fish heads cooked in a fine variety of rice. Some ghantos are very dry while others a thick and juicy.

JHAL : Literally, hot. A great favorite in West Bengali households, this is made with fish or shrimp or crab, first lightly fried and then cooked in a light sauce of ground red chilli or ground mustard and a flavoring of panch-phoron or kala jeera. Being dryish it is often eaten with a little bit of dal pored over the rice.

JHOL : A light fish or vegetable stew seasoned with ground spices like ginger, cumin, corriander, chilli and turmeric with pieces of fish and longitudinal slices of vegetables floating in it. The gravy is thin yet extreamely flavorful. Whole green chillies are usually added at the end and green corriander leaves are used to season for extra taste.

KALIA : A very rich preparation of fish, meat or vegetables using a lot of oil and ghee with a sauce usually based on ground ginger and onion paste and garom mashla.

KOFTAS (or Boras) : Ground meat or vegetable croquettes bound together by spices and/or eggs served alone or in savory gravy.

KORMA : Another term of Urdu origin, meaning meat or chicken cooked in a mild yoghurt based sauce with ghee instead of oil.

PORA : Literally, burnt. Vegetables are wrapped in leaves and roasted over a wood or charcoal fire. Some, like eggplants (brinjals/aubergines), are put directly over the flames. Before eating the roasted vegetable is mixed with oil and spices.

TARKARI : A general term often used in Bengal the way `curry' is used in English. Originally from Persian, the word first meant uncooked garden vegetables. From this it was a natural extension to mean cooked vegetables or even fish and vegetables cooked together.

Eating and Serving Bengali Food

The Bengali people are perhaps the greatest food lovers in the Indian subcontinent. A leisurely meal of many items which requires long hours of labour and ingenuity in the kitchen has long been a major part of Bengali culture. The traditional way of serving food is on the floor, where individual pieces of carpet, called asans, are spread for each person to sit on. In front of this seat is placed a large platter made of bell metal/steel or on a large piece of fresh cut banana leaf. Around this platter a number of small metal or earthen bowls are arrayed in which portions of dal, vegetables, fish, meat chutney and dessert are served. In the center of the platter sits a small mound of piping hot rice flanked by vegetable fritters, wedges of lime, whole green chillies and perhaps a bit of pickle. Finally in the center of the mound a liitle hole is made to pour in a spoonful of ghee to flavour the initial mouthfuls of rice.

The approach to food is essentially tactile. As in all of India, Bengalis eat everything with their fingers. What, after all, could be better to pick out treacherous bones of fish like hilsa and koi? Apart from this functional aspect, the fingers also provide an awareness of texture which becomes as important as that felt by the tongue. The various mashed vegetables or different rice or varieties of fish we eat are all appreciated by the fingers before they enter the mouth.
Each individual has a particular style of dealing with his or her food. Some people pick up their rice and accompaniments very daintily, their fingers barely touching the food. Then there are those hearty, somewhat coarse eaters who can be seen liking their palms all the way to their wrists and `Up to one's wrist in food' has become a Bengali phrase to denote gluttonous indulgence.
The other peculiarity about the Bengali eating scene is the unashamed accululation of remnants. Since succulent vegetable stalks, fish bones and fish heads, meat and chicken bones are all meticulously chewed until not a drop of juice is left inside, heaps of chewed remnants beside each plate are an inevitable part of a meal.

Whether you have five dishes or sixty, the most important part of eating in Bengal is eating each dish seperately with a little bit of rice in order to savour its individual bouquet. The more delicate tastes always come first and it is only by graduating from these to stronger ones that you can accommodate the whole range of taste. Vegetables, especially the bitter ones, are the first item followed by dal, perhaps accompanied by fries or fritters of fish and vegetables. After this comes any of the complex vegetable dishes like ghanto or chachchari, followed by the important fish jhol as well as other fish preparations. Meat will always follow fish, and chutneys and ambals will provide the refeshing touch of tartness to make the tongue anticipate the sweet dishes.
With all these delicious flavors combined with textures to be chewed, sucked, licked and gulped with suitable chomps and slurps (the better the meal the louder the sounds of appreciation) the Bengali meal usually ends with a great fortissimo burp!

A History of Bengali Cuisine and Cookery

A distinct culinary tradition emerged in Bengal based on the availability of local ingredients. The great river systems, heat and humidity combine with the fertile soil to allow rice and an abundance of vegetables to thrive; these became the corner stones of the diet. Mangoes, bananas, coconuts, and cane sugar grew in abundance; fish, milk, and meat were plentiful; yogurt and spices such as ginger and black mustard would season the dishes.

Even though fish and meat were generally popular, there was a predisposition to vegitarianism, based on religious principles, that has continued to the present. Strict vegetarians also omit onion and garlic from their diet, foods that "heat rather than cool", preferring to substitute a garlicky-flavored spice called asafoetida. The taboo against the consumption of fish and meat became even stronger with the flowering of religions such as Jainism and Buddhism. But with the decline of Buddhism in the ensuing centuries, fish and meat returned to the menu.

Rice, the staple of Bengalis since ancient times, has remained untouched by the currents of religious change and its preparation has held to a continuing high standard. One crop a year was sufficient to sustain the people, providing ample leisure time for the Bengalis to pursue cultural ideals: folklore, music, and the culinary arts.

The 16th-century Mongol kings left their mark on the cooking of Northern India, which to this day is known as moghlai cooking. With the introduction of Islam, Bengali Moslems adopted dishes such as kababs, koftas and biriyani from their Moghul conquerors. But the major portion of Bengali Hindu cuisine retained its original characteristics except that the use of onion and garlic became more popular.

The European traders introduced food from the New World - potatoes, chillies, and tomatoes. Bengalis incorporated them into their diet, combining them with a variety of native ingredients creating new dishes.

Then as now, Bengali cooking is mostly confined to the home. Dishes are carefully prepared according to recipes handed down through generations. Modern Bengalis have become culinary innovators. They search for, and experiment with, foreign culinary ideas, incorporating such new food items as noodles, soy bean and custard into an increasingly cosmopolitan bill of fare. But in their hearts, they still delight in such traditional dishes as maacher chochori and rosogolla.

Food is a major part of Bengali culture. Here are some interesting articles on Bengali cuisine, its uniqueness, how it has developed through the ages and how it plays an important role in rituals and festivals:
  • Conchshells and bananas: The Bengali way of Birth
  • Food of Calcutta - Past & Present
  • Bengali Gastronomy
  • History of the Rossogolla
  • Sweet Talk of Calcutta
  • The Subtle Flavours Of Bengali Cuisine
  • The Taste of Bengal
  • A Bengali bounty

How Bengali Cuisine Differs from other Indian Cuisines

An abundant land provides for an abundant table. The nature and variety of dishes found in Bengali cooking are unique even in India. Fish cookery is one of its better-known features and distinguishes it from the cooking of the landlocked regions. Bengal's countless rivers, ponds and lakes teem with many kinds of freshwater fish that closely resemble catfish, bass, shad or mullet. Bengalis prepare fish in innumerable ways - steamed or braised, or stewed with greens or other vegetables and with sauces that are mustard based or thickened with poppyseeds. You will not find these types of fish dishes elsewhere in India.

Bengalis also excel in the cooking of vegetables. They prepare a variety of the imaginative dishes using the many types of vegetables that grow here year round. They can make ambrosial dishes out of the oftentimes rejected peels, stalks and leaves of vegetables. They use fuel-efficient methods, such as steaming fish or vegetables in a small covered bowl nestled at the top of the rice cooker.

The use of spices for both fish and vegetable dishes is quite extensive and includes many combinations not found in other parts of India. Examples are the onion-flavored kalonji seeds and five-spice (a mixture of cumin, fennel, fenugreek, kalonji, and black mustard). The trump card card of Bengali cooking probably is the addition of this phoran, a comination of whole spices, fried and added at the start or finish of cooking as a flavouring special to each dish. Bengalis share a love of whole black mustard with South Indians, but the use of freshly ground mustard paste is unique to Bengal.

All of India clamors for Bengali sweets. Although grains, beans and vegetables are used in preparing many deserts, as in other regions, the most delicious varieties are dairy-based and uniquely Bengali.

Translation Table for Ingredients


MILK PRODUCTS chhana paneer cottage cheese
doi dahi yogurt
ghee ghee clarified butter
ghole lassi yogurt drink
khoa/kheer khoya thickened milk
payesh kheer rice pudding

CEREALS atta atta whole wheat flour
bhaat chawal cooked rice
chaler guro chawal atta rice flour
chirey chura, poha flattened or beaten rice
moida maida wheat flour
moori moori puffed rice
sewai sewai vermicelli
siddha chaal ushna chawal parboiled rice
sooji sooji semolina

LENTILS arhar dal toor/toovar dal split pigeon peas
besan besan chickpea flour
bori bori small sundried cones of lentil paste
kabuli chhola kabuli chana chick peas
chholar dal chana dal bengal gram
kalai/biuli dal urad dal black gram
matar dal matar dal dried peas
munger dal moong dal moong beans or green gram
musurir dal masoor dal red lentil
papar papad poppadum

alu alu potato
bandha kopi bund gobi cabbage
begoon baigan brinjal/aubergine/eggplant
enchor kancha kanthal green jackfruit
gajar gajar carrot
jhingey torai ridged gourd
kanch kala kacha kela green banana/plantain
khosha chhilke peels, scrapings
kochu ghuiyan taro/arum root
korola, ucchey karela bitter gourd/melon
kumro kaddu red pumpkin
lau lauki white/bottle gourd
matarshuti hara matar green peas
mocha kele-ka-phool banana blossom/spadex
moolo mooli daikon/horse radish
neem pata neem patti margosa leaves
ole ole elephant yam
paan paan betle leaf
palang saag palak spinach
phulkopi gobi cauliflower
piaj piaz onion
piaj koli piaz patti spring onion shoots
potol parval/palwal pointed gourd
ranga alu shakarkhand sweet potato
saag saag leafy vegetables
salgam salgam turnip
shosha kheera cucumber
sheem seem broad bean
sorshey saag sarso-ki-saag mustard greens
thor kele-ki-tana white pith of banana plant stem

FRUIT and NUTS aam aam mango
anaras ananas pineapple
caju caju cashew
chine badam mung phali peanut
kala kela banana
kamala lebu santra orange
kancha aam keri/kacha aam unripe/green mango
kanthal kathal jackfruit
kishmish kismis raisin
kool ber Indian plum
lebu nimbu lemon
narkel nariyal coconut
pepey papita papaya [ripe=fruit, unripe=veg]
pesta pista pistachio
peyara amrood guava
tentul imli tamarind

FISH bhetki bhetki machchi beckti
chingri jhinga prawns/shrimp
gurjali ravas Indian salmon
ilish hilsa machchi hilsa
kankra kakkra crab
koi - climbing perch
maachh machchi fish
maachher dim machchi-ka-anda roe
magur, shinghi, tangra magur, singhi, tangra cat fish
pabda pupta Indian butter fish
parshey boi mullet
rui, mrigel, katla rohu, mirgel, katla carp, buffalo fish
shole shole murrel
topshey topsi mango fish

MEAT and POULTRY bherar mangsho bheri mutton
chaap chaap rib chop
dim anda egg
gorur mangsho gai-ka-gosht beef
hansh batak duck
keema keema mince/ground meat
khashi khashi fattened castrated goat
mangsho gosht meat
murgi murgh chicken
pantha bakri goat
suwarer mangsho suwar-ka-gosht pork

BREADS kochuri kachori fried wheat pastry with seasoned filling
luchi luchi puffed fried fllour bread
porota paratha thick crispy bread grilled in ghee
pau ruti pau roti loaf bread
ruti chapati unleavened whole wheat flour bread




ada adrak ginger
boro elach bara elaichi black cardamon
daruchini dalchini cinamon
dhoney dhania coriander seeds
dhoney patta dhania patta cilantro/coriander leaves
(choto) elach elaichi green cardamon
garam mashla garam masala cloves, cinamon, cardamons (and black pepper for the rest of India but not Bengal)
gol morich kala mirch black pepper
halud haldi turmeric
hing hing asafoetida
jaffran zaffran saffron
jaiphal jaiphal nutmeg
jaitri javitri mace
(sada) jeera jeera cumin
jowan, randhuni jwain carom seeds
kala jeera kalonji nigella
kancha lanka hara mirich green chilli
kari pata kari patta curry leaves
labongo lavang cloves
mashla masale spices
mauri saunf aniseed/fennel
methi methi dana fenugreek seeds
noon, laban namak salt
panch phoron panch phoran five spice: aniseed, cumin, fenugreek, mustard and nigella
postho khus khus poppy seeds
pudina pata pudina patti mint leaves
rasoon lasoon garlic
rai sorsey rai sarson mustard seeds
shukno lanka sukha lal mirich red dried chilli
tej pata tej patta bay leaf
til til sesame seed