West Bengal- the former British capital of India known for its glorious Literature and magnificent architectural sites is often remised about its exquisite culture that it offers. It has an enthralling cuisine that will cater to everyone’s taste buds. Between the narrow, clamorous streets of Kolkata and the astoundingly beautiful Sunder Bans many herbs and spices are grown at the banks of river Hoogly. Apart from fish and rice as the staple diet, there are many other dishes for you to devour. Give it a shot and cherish every bite of it.
Bengali cuisine is rich and varied in its platter starting from snacks to main courses to sweets. Adding a multitude variety of spices to Bengali food, they make sure to keep it appetizing and fulfilling. Some of the common spices used in the preparation are turmeric (haldi), cumin(jira), coriander (dhaniya), dried red chilli, methi, poppy seed, ginger, bay leaves, wild ceneray seeds(radhuni), ripe coconut and black mustard seeds.
Agricultural practices in West Bengal
The principal food crop cultivated in West Bengal agriculture is rice. Bengali cuisine is also characterized by its extensive use of rice as it can be grown and cultivated easily. Other food crops of West Bengal include maize, pulses, oil seeds, wheat, barley, potatoes and vegetables. The most vital cash crop of West Bengal is Tea and it is also exported every year. The soil and heavy rainfall witnessed by India are absolutely perfect for cultivation.
From the crops cultivated in the region of west Bengal serves numerous nutrients to your diet. Talking about maize, it’s a good source of antioxidant like carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Also, maize is a rich source of numerous vitamins and minerals that might help in promoting eye health.
- Phulkopir Roast: The delicacy is signified by well cooked yet crunchy chunks of shallow fried Cauliflower also known as (Phulkopir) in Bengali. Cumin, Bengali garam masala, turmeric, green pea are some of the spices used in the preparation. Having cauliflower as the main ingredient is rich in fiber and vitamin B. Also it has antioxidants that help in fighting cancer.
- Doi Maach: A thick and spicy fish curry. Bengali Doi Maach has marinated pieces of fresh fish cooked in yogurt based gravy. The curry is robust, slightly spicy and delicately sour with a balance of curd and spices. The fish is really tender and soft having absorbed the wonderful flavors of the gravy. It can be served with steamed rice for a complete meal. The meal keeps you fit by providing you nutrients like iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium.
- Bengali style chana dal: Flavored with coconut, ghee and an assortment of whole spices, Bengali style chana dal tastes mildly spicy which is packed with nutrition since it is a helpful source of zinc, folate, calcium, protein and is low in fat content. It only takes a few minutes to prepare the whole dish. Serve it with steamed rice or just chapattis for a modest weeknight dinner or lunch.
- Bhappa Aloo: Bhappa is a Bengali word used for steam. It consists of Baby potatoes steamed in a distinctive five spice mix. An inevitably large fish is doused in an aromatic mustard and coconut sauce and green chili paste resulting in a yummy potato curry making it hard to resist. Potatoes being rich in carbohydrates and calcium easily fulfill the body’s requirement for energy.
- Begoon Powra: A perfect way to enjoy the taste of brinjals. Brinjals are roasted in olive/mustard oil, red chilli powder, diced red onions, mustard paste, salt and sugar and can be eaten with a roti alongside. As they are a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C which is good for the heart and keeps the blood pressure under control.
- Dimer dhokkardalna and luchi: A local Bengali delicacy of steamed egg and potato cake in curry with lucchi, black pepper powder and onion paste provide a very enriching cuisine and eggs being rich in proteins vitamin B2 and selenium make for a balanced diet.
- Patishpta: A traditional pancake like dish, Patishapta is a popular Bengali dessert. Prepared using rice along with milk, coconut, date. Thin crepes made with refined flour, rice flour and semolina. Stuffed with a tasty coconut and jiggery filling. Coconuts are rich in vitamin B6, iron and minerals making this an ideal meal.
Over to you
The scrumptious Bengali cuisine will surely enrapture and dazzle you with its variety of dishes. Their distinctive way of cooking will leave a mark behind and making it hard to find anywhere else in the world.