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Delicacies galore

Kolkata, during Durga Puja, offers myriad varieties of lip-smacking dishes.

Sutanu Bhattacharyya | Kolkata |

The countdown has already begun for the grandest festival of the ever-exuberant Bengalis- Durga Puja. Puja without good food is absolutely incomplete.
When it comes to deal with foodstuff, no other city can replace our City of Joy. From biryani to the fat greasy mutton roll, this place offers myriad varieties of mouth-watering dishes during these five days of elation.
So what should we eat during this Puja? Actually there’s no answer because we just go about eating everything. But there are some particular items that have become more or less imperative over the years.

Mutton biryani (Kolkata style): Food stalls at every corner serving this scrumptious Mughlai dish prepared in Kolkata style is a common sight during the Pujas. The taste of roasted spices and ghee fried potatoes is simply amazing.

Cutlets and fries: Kolkata’s fry- cutlet culture is legendary and during the Pujas Bengal’s obsession with the crumb coated , deep fried cutlets gets a whole new definition.

Rolls and chowmein: During Durga Puja rolls from roadside joints are a must. They come with suspicious looking ketchup but one bite is enough to make us say- yummmm!
The same roadside stalls make chowmeins which goes by the name ‘chow’. Noodles tossed with julienned veggies, eggs and shreds of meat are topped with rock salt, chilli and tomato sauce.
Do not expect the Mainland China type of taste. Just enjoy it for what it is- the famous Kolkata street food.
Apart from these must having items there are a few more delectable dishes one can try.

Chingri macher piyanjii: If one is a fan of traditional Bengali food, then this newcomer is a must try. Minced prawn is mixed with delicious spices and then is deep fried.

Mochar paturi: This delicious item is khadyorashik bangali’s (food-lover Bengali’s) favourite. Mocha (Banana flower) paste is cooked with coconut and other spices in very little oil and is served with steamed rice.

Kancha Lanka bhapa murgi: Best paired with dum pulao, this mouth-watering dish, tastes extremely delicious.

Minced chicken and minced lamb roll: They are a must try. Wrapped with Pak Choy and cabbage, these dim sums are topped with a spicy black pepper sauce.
One can’t celebrate this occasion without stuffing with Bengali sweets. From chocolate mishti to baked rosogolla, from malai chomchom to gajar ka halwa, – the iconic sweet shops in Kolkata come up with the best items during this time.

Nolen Gurer Pana Cotta: This heavenly pudding is a very simple and quick to make dish. But the nolen gur or date palm jaggery takes it to another level.

Chhanar jilipi: These soft heavenly goodies are made with chhana (cottage cheese), khoya and flour. It’s then deep fried and soaked in sugary syrup.

Shor bhaja: These pieces of heaven are one of the toughest sweets to prepare. It involves layers of milk cream deep fried and soaked in sticky sugary syrup.

Pantua: These toothsome balls of heaven dipped in syrupy goodness are not gulab jamun.
Made with chhana, flour, semolina, ghee, and sugar, it is deep fried and then soaked again in sugar syrup.
A perfect pantua will be a bit spongy with some of the syrup oozing out from it making it more mouth-watering.
So, this Puja, let’s not waste time and indulge ourselves in savouring these delicacies.

(Coordinator, Class XI, Hindu School, Kolkata)