Bengali Food Bloggers Interview Part #1

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Bengali Food Bloggers Interview

Almost 6 months back, we (Sudeshna and Kalyan) came up with a list of Top 7 Bengali Food Blogs. Of course, the list was with our personal experience and didn’t follow any standard procedure for ratings. Soon afterwards, we planned to interview each blogger in an attempt to bring their ‘other side’ to you.

6 of the Top 7 bloggers agreed to an interview and we emailed the same questionnaire to each. Now that we’ve received responses from all six, we’re starting Bengali Food Bloggers Interview series. You’ve known their recipes. Now you can know their personal side too.

The original answers have been tweaked a little to remove the typos etc, keeping the answers identical in spirit. The text is Italics is our own commentary. In Part 1, we’ll feature Jayashree Mandal of Spice and Curry.

About Jayashree Mandal

Jayashree Mandal started the blog in Oct 2006 with the first post on Alu Posto ar Amer Ambal. However, the posts became frequent and regular only from Nov 2007. With a pagerank of 4, the blog is fairly popular. Samples – Mochar Ghonto, Pomphreter Kalia, Pui Shager Cohorchori. The blog has a good blogroll list too. Also, most of the recent images have copyright notice. Good move to thwart rampant plagiarism on the web. Located in Kolkata, Jayashree also has a personal blog.

What inspires you to write a food blog?

I started my blog on a personal note to keep track of the recipes that I was trying out and making while staying far away from home. This was also a useful engagement for me as I am a stay-at-home mom.

Then of course there were few blogs like Cream Puffs in Venice and Tigers and Strawberries and our very own Mahanandi and Sailu’s Kitchen which are like true leaders to me who has also contributed to the fact of starting this blog.

Who had been your inspiration for cooking?

I do think it is my ma and ma-in-law who has greatly influenced me or rather inspired me to cook. [Well, a positive Saas Bahu chemistryJ]

Who was and is your greatest support(s) for this blog?

Support I do think is my ma-in-law as she has always helped me coming up with new recipes as I do think a food blog is all about good ,authentic recipes and food.

My hubby who is always there to taste a dish and give honest opinion about it, before I go ahead and publish it.

What was the first dish that you prepared and when?

If I can recall perfectly, my ma was quite ill for sometime. So the cooking has to be done by me . Hmm… May be when I was in 11th standard and I prepared simple Khichuri and dim bhaja (omellete)

What are the 3 food blogs that you would recommend our readers to read?

I do think this is very difficult, as there are many good food blogs, I would certainly emphasize to the food and clarity of recipe part, so my list will include:

How many cook books do you have?

I generally don’t try to cook from cookbooks unless I am in a mood to try out something new. I have Veg Khana by Neeta Mehta, Non-Veg starters By Sanjeev Kapoor and last an old Bengali cookbook “Ranna Samagro” by Vincent Gomez and Bela Dey

What’s your favorite cookbook?

Nothing in particular.

Tell us something about food from your part of the world?

I have spent my childhood days in UP and then again I am a Bengali, so I have imbibed everything from both the parts, I like eating as much a Nimona with rice as much ilish macher Bhapa with garam bhaat. [Great variation, lady.]

What would you eat for your last supper?

This is definitely a light dessert like a flavoured yogurt or payesh or a slice of cake with a scoop of ice-cream on top

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

I like to read

And some International Food Blogs like

Your fondest food memory?

There are many interesting food memories, but then the hustle-bustle during Durga Puja and the entire way of spending the time with cooking, eating good food and enjoying with family is perhaps my fondest memory revolving around food and cooking.

Your most trusty kitchen companion?

This I am leaving it, as all are my companions.

What made you to call your blog “Spice and Curry”?

Don’t know, I was just looking to register at blogger and in a jiffy, it splashed and there I was working for my blog.

Name three dishes (along with their links) from your blog that you like preparing often

Think it will be Chingir Macher jhal, Kosha Mangsho and Apple cinnamon Cake

Which cookbook can you not do without and which chef is your hero/heroine?

Nothing in particular.

Anything you want to add which I missed out.

Just wanted to say, that one should enjoy cooking and serving the people who matter to us the most, instead of cooking things just for the sake of blogging. We are here, food blogging because our family has been cooperative and supportive of whatever we are doing.

I just wish we should not take things for granted. Blogging should be enjoyed and it is a sure way of de-stressing unless we cross the limit and it starts to give stress. Avoiding unnecessary competition and living in harmony is always a way better thing to do.

And last but not the least, it was a pleasure giving this interview. All the Best.

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About Kalyan Banerjee

IIT Roorkee Alum, Building Bengali Cuisine, Web 2.0 geek, Patent Litigation Consultant, weekend traveller, travel blogger (not necessarily in that order)
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10 Comments

  1. i want learn cooking please let me know

  2. Bengali wedding Feast :
    With the Bengali wedding season going on Calcuttans have started booking caterers,& planning menus, Bengalis are known for their hospitality. Wedding dinner plays a major part in Bengali weddings. Bengali cuisine is renowned for it’s rich & spicy taste.

    In olden days Bengali wedding menus were very typical. For example the menu starts with rice accompanied by Moong Dal followed by Alu Bhaja, or Beguni ( brinjal deep fried in split Bengal gram flour batter ), Chanchra ( a typical mixed vegetable curry with fish head), Ruhu Fish Kalia , a gravy sweet water fish preparation followed by a sweet Pulao & rich Mutton curry, Tomato Chutney, papad. Sweet dishes like sweet curd,Rasogolla, sandesh are served . After dessert the sweet tooth need a change so pan ( a little betel leaf with nut ) wrapped in banana leaves is served. Lemon slices & salt are also served.
    Traditionally dinner used to be served on banana leaves & water in a Khuri ( terracotta tumblers ). Usually it has been a practice among Bengali households that the food is served by young members of the household’s relations & associates. Cooks were hired from places like Uriyapara, Sovabazar ,Kalighat etc. The most interesting aspect of Bengali wedding parties are the cooks ,who used to come from Orissa.
    Till now ,the recipes for the best preparations, customized for Bengali weddings lie with them. With the advent of multistoried buildings & small families, Bengalis are now engaging caterers & traditional sit down dinners are replaced by exotic buffet spreads. As usual the menus have also changed. With spices & seasonings which are the vital core of Bengali cuisine, garnishing & presentation have become amazing nowadays. Salad bars with different type of salads are very popular with no taboos dictated by religion. Though it is a fact that Bengali muslims prefer to remain more or less traditional in their choice with Paratha ,Chicken Champ ,Mutton Biriyani , Burhani (a ghol made with sour curd , mint leaves, chat masala, cumin powder etc ) followed by firni as desserts.
    Here is an example of a modern Bengali wedding menu. It starts with Naan,Dal Makhni ,Veg Jhalfreizi, ,Fish Paturi ( a real Bengali delicacy-boneless bekti marinated with ground coconut, white mustard paste,& black mustard paste ,mustard oil ,ground green chillies steamed after wrapped in banana leaves .

    An array of salads in a well decorated salad bar with ice carving in the center. Then comes pulao or fried rice accompanied by Fish Begum Bahar ,Mutton Chilly Coconut Fry or Chicken Bagdadi. Prawn is very rarely seen nowadays in Bengali wedding mainly because of high cost. Fruit chutney & Papad is served. Traditional sweet dishes are replaced by ice cream with Chocolate sauce or Orange sauce, hot Gulab Jamun & hot Jalebi . Pans are served from a pan stall put up at the pandal or hall where you can get your choice of Zarda

  3. Thanks for posting this sort of personal interviews

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  8. Jaya, enjoyed reading this interview of yours. Yours is one blog I go to for authentic Bengali cuisine.

    Thanks for the mention.
    .-= Sra´s last blog ..An Accidental Recipe =-.

  9. Loves reading about jaya, I so often go to her place to see what she is cooking.
    .-= Happy Cook´s last blog ..Banana Walnut Muffins =-.

  10. Sudeshna and Kalyan,

    Aww! It was so sweet of both of you for giving me such an honour.
    and I liked the lil italics commentary you have put too :)…all the best in blogging world ..looking forward to more authentic recipes/food articles/cuisine from here..thank you!
    hugs and smiles

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