The all time mouthwatering - Bengali Delicacies/cuisine
The Bengali Naba Barsha or Poila Baisakh is just a few days away. It is the right time to plan and chalk out all the mouth watering Bengali spread that you should try in the upcoming Bengali New Year. If you are a Bengali by birth or by the love of the community, you must be aware that Bengal is considered as a foodie’s paradise all over India simply because of its aromatic and spicy flavors.
Bengali cuisine mainly consists of different types of rice and also a variety of fish delicacies. Of course variety of Chicken and Mutton dishes are also considered as Bengali cuisine delicacies. In fact Bengali food is so distinct in its flavor and taste that it has something in store for all food lovers of the country and abroad. And when it is the festive season, it is the right time to savor the mouthwateringly delicious Bengali platter. Starting from the snacks or the starter dishes to the variety of sweets, there are some of the best gastronomic experiences that are awaiting your feedback.
Any traditional festive Bengali platter will include a variety of rice in the main course along with deliciously distinct curries, fish delicacies, pulses, chicken dishes, different types of fries, that also include different variety of fried fish, chutneys, sweets and of course the world famous sweet curd or Misti Doi.
Bengali cuisine is known for its fiery yet subtle flavors that blend wonderfully with the variety of desserts and confectioneries. It is also worthy of mention that the Bengali cuisine is the only conventional multi course cuisine from the subcontinent of India that is inspired by the modern serving style of the French cuisine. The food in traditional Bengali style is served course wise.
Historical influence in Bengali Cuisine
You will be surprised to know that Bengali food has inherited several influences over the years from different cultures and communities over the world. The fiery tinge of flavor in the Bengali food originates from the Turkish influence over ancient Bengal. The Jews introduced bakery products in Bengal and the Marwaris made use of their skills in sweet making and complimented the Bengali sweet dishes. The Mughlai cuisine was introduced in Bengal by the families of Wajid Ali Shah and Tipu Sultan who were prominent residents of ancient Bengal.
Some interesting characteristics of Bengali food
While rice is the staple and main diet for the Bengalis, milk is also an important source for sweet making and also nutritional supplies. In fact Milk is one of the key ingredients for the variety of desserts that Bengal is so famous for.
The uniqueness about the Bengali staple diet is that all the communities of Bengalis will include in their daily diet some form of meat or fish. One of the most distinctive inclusions in the regular Bengali diet is the sweet water fish like Hilsa, rohu, pabda etc. Another interesting inclusion is the variety of crabs, prawns and shrimps. It is said that nothing gets wasted in a Bengali kitchen. It is a worthy saying since Bengalis can create ambrosial dishes out of almost nothing like the leaves of the vegetables and the stalks and peels of the vegetables.
The spice usage in the Bengali kitchen is also quite extensive that is not usually very popular in the rest of the country. Some interesting mix of spices that are used in a variety of Bengali dishes include the kalonji or the nigella seeds, the blend of five spices which is more popularly known as Panch Phoron, the radhuni or the celery seeds, etc that give a special and a unique flavor to the cooked food like the fish dishes and the pulses. While the Bengalis love their whole mustard seeds just like their South Indian counterparts, what is unique to the Bengali kitchen is the abundant use of the freshly ground paste of mustard. A dipping mustard sauce that is also known as Kashundi is well known in Bengal.
The fish and sweet combination that is unparallel in the world
When we talk about the Bengalis, we cannot leave out the fish and desserts from the discussion, can we? Bengalis love their fish and it forms the most dominant form of protein for the Bengali cuisine apart from the delicacies like chicken and mutton. Except the fins and the scales, almost the entire fish is savored along with spicy flavors. The head of the fish is favored by the Bengalis in particular. Hilsa or Illish as it is known in Bengali is considered as the icon of Bengali cuisine and is also considered as a delicacy, especially during the festive seasons.
The Bengali desserts are mainly made from milk and cottage cheese or Chhana. Rosogolla has made a name for itself around the world. And so is the story for Misti doi as well. There are sweet delicacies like Sondesh, Rasa Malai, Pantua, ChomChom, Pithey etc that are equally tasty and yummy.