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Travelling to Kolkata and want to know about Bengali Food?


West Bengal is famous for an array of things but Bengali food has reserved the highest place for itself by not only being a delight for our taste buds but also a healthy cuisine. A typical Bengali "thali" consists if vegetables, lentils and fish served with the staple rice. Bengali cuisine is known for its varied use of flavours, as well as the spread of its confectioneries and desserts. It has the only traditionally developed multi-course tradition from the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent that is analogous in structure to the modern service "à la russe" style of French cuisine where food is served in courses rather than all at once.


The first course served is made from bitter vegetables and herbs usually taken in small portion with rice. This course is considered to be both a palate-cleanser and of great medicinal value. The ingredients used for this course change seasonally, but commonly used ones are "kôrola"or "uchhe" (forms of bitter gourd) and the tender neem leaves during spring. A soupy mixture called "Shukto" is also a popular first course served in Bengali households. Different flavours and texture are combined to make a thick curry. Commonly used vegetables include eggplants, potatoes, drumsticks and bitter gourd. Milk is also an essential element of this dish.


Bengal is famous for its "chops", "cutlets" and other fried snacks and a Bengal "thali" is incomplete without these crunchy and savoury delights. Vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower, eggplants are marinated with different spices, fried in hot oil and served as a side dish. Rice is mixed with "dal" (a soup prepared with different lentils) and eaten with these fried delicacies.


Next is the main course and if you are in Bengal, you surely cannot do without fishes. Hilsa, pomphret, tangra, prawn, koe are few of the uncountable fishes available in the Bengal waters. Spicy curries or better called "jhol" are prepared using these fishes and served with rice. Sometimes fried fishes are also served as snacks with tea or coffee during supper. Meat mainly chicken and mutton are savoured all around Bengali and is also served as a main course. "Dhoka" or deep fried fermented gram flour dough balls and paneer are also popular main courses in Bengal. The necessary protein intake is derived from the main course.


The main course is followed by the tangy dish of chutney, sweets (you can never go wrong with Bengali sweets) and sweet yogurt or "mishti doi". Chutney is usually prepared form mangoes, pineapple, emli(tarmaring) or sometimes different fruits in the form of a mixed chutney. Sandesh and roshogolla(rasgulla) are famous Bengali sweets and are usually served hot.

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Balwant Singh's Eating House- Harish Mukherjee Road/Elgin Road Crossing, Near Gurudwara Singh Sabha, Bhawanipur, Kolkata 700025 033 3255361


The Copper Kitchen- 4 Ground, Russa Road South 2nd Lane, Tollygunge, Kolkata - 700033, Near Hotel Myra 090518 61212/ 90733 56561

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