Bengali Food Bloggers Interview – Kalyan Karmakar

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You have read about our Bengali Food Bloggers Interview. We did a set of 6 interviews with various stars of the Bengali Food arena. Its been almost eighteen months and so we just thought of adding some more new names to the club. So,  to  start with here’s Kalyan Karmakar from Finely Chopped.

About Kalyan

He is a Bengali who moved to Mumbai more than a decade back.

Grew up largely at Calcutta and was at UK and Iran before that. Just like most Bengali he loves food, loves to write, loves to chat, loves to pontificate and all of these came together in his blog. His blog is almost a personal diary where he writes about the places he eats at or travel to, the dishes he cook,s folks whom he eat with and people he meet as he eats.

The blog is now three and a half years old.

Do you taste-test everything you make? Who is your guinea pig?

Yes I do eat everything I cook.

Guinea pig? Well my wife. My friends whom I call over to our house.

Most of them, including my wife, have returned for seconds

Tell us about your most loved food discovery

Asian Food. I just love the food of the Orient. The colours, the freshness, the textures, the flavours.

Specifically the discovery of the food of Malaysia. I had written Malaysia off after my first trip there. I saw it with a tourist’s and business traveller’s eyes.

Having read this a Bengali couple settled there then, whom I didn’t know, invited me over to stay with them. I returned to Malaysia and as promised, Arindam and Sasha  opened my eyes to the culinary wonders of Malaysia.

Travelling to different places and seeing them through the world of food gives me the greatest highs.

That’s as Bengali as you can get eh?

With your prolific food activities, how do you balance work, blog and personal life?

I guess you always find out time to do things that you are passionate about. I write about things which are a part of my life. I look for food stories when I am out. Write about them the  moment I get some time. Often at night. It happens. I have not given it much thought.

Your favourite kitchen equipment/appliance

My mortar and pestle. I was looking for this for a while but couldn’t find the right one.

Then I went to Chiang Mai where I attended a cooking class. There were these most astounding mortar and pestles there. Asked the instructors on where I could get it. Went to the market they pointed me to. Haggled with a sweet chubby little Chinese girl and walked back to the hotel with my prized possession.

This mortar and pestle was made with stone from Kanchanaburi close to where the River Kwai (from the movie) is. I got it back to India after paying for excess baggage. Is the pride of the kitchen and I use it very frequently for making things as diverse as Thai curry pastes to fresh Italian basil pesto mixes

One ingredient that frightens you the most? Why?

Vegetables! My sense of confidence just deserts me when I am at Lallu’s, the local vegetable shop, and I often have to ask them to identify things for me

No red blooded Bengali man really digs vegetables so it is always a bit of a challenge for me to find out more about vegetables and play with them. In fact I have recently started a vegetarian recipe section on the blog.

My wife, a Parsi, is even worse than me when it comes to vegetables

10 must haves in your fridge

  1. Good cheese 2. Asian sauces – soy, fish, chilli, sriracha 3. Cold cuts 4. Fresh water fish 5. Milk 6. Desserts (not there as often as I’d like) 7. Juices

Look honestly I can’t think of ten because I live in the Mumbai suburb of Bandra where I get everything at my arm’s reach so I don’t bother to stock up

What would you eat for your last supper?

Bengali food I guess – Rice, rui machher mudo daal (daal with fish head), alu bhaaja – thick potato fries the way my mom makes them, doi posto ilish (Hilsa cooked in curd and poppy seeds), kosha mangsho (slow cooked mutton). Loads of mishti for desserts and a chocolate cake

Which celeb chef would you invite for dinner? Why?

Anthony Bourdain. He has hung up his chef’s gloves and is a writer and TV show host now but he is my biggest inspiration. Would love to just be in the same room as him forget cooking for him.

Hope this doesn’t get me a restraining order

List your 5 favourite posts from your blog. Which one of these you like the most, why?

This is the point in the interview which reminds me of seedy interviews on Doordarshan and film mags of Hollywood playback singers or actor. Of the “yeh sab hi mere bachche hain “types

Well honestly the ones I enjoy the most are around experiences I enjoy the most. Good food of course. Great discoveries. Some fantastic people that I met.

I’ll try to choose 5 which are top of mind:

  1. Baara Haandi – Mumbai
  2. The phuchkawallahs outside South City Mall, Calcutta
  3. The markets of Chiang Mai
  4. My first day at Penang and losing my Durian virginity
  5. With the Hendricks at Sydney, Sydney fish market

I am going to add a sixth because I just love this guy – Ustad the Jalebi- Wallah

Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working on your blog

Well to start with I have made some of best friends in recent years through the blog.

I assume you are talking more about folks who are in the ‘business’ in which case you have Vikram Doctor, food writer from Mumbai, Rushina Munshaw Ghildayal , blogger and writer from Mumbai, Xanthe Clay and Maunika Gowardhan who are food journalists, bloggers and chefs from the UK and Anjan Chatterjee of the Speciality Restaurant Group whom I met at a book launch.

Then there are some very kind folks whom I have not ‘met’ but I have interacted with quite a bit  virtually – blogger turned author turned TV personality Simon Majumdar, blogger and journalist Robyn Eckhardt of Eating Asia, Marryam Reshii and blogger  food writer Pamella Timms, both from delhi.

Gosh that’s quite a bit of name dropping.

Other than Bengali Cuisine, what cuisine interests you the most?

Asian or Oriental

  1. Recommend 5 food blogs (some Bengali, if possible) to our readers

Well here are 4 Indian Bengali blogs I follow. Ironically none written out of Calcutta

  1. Bong Mom’s Cook Book
  2. Kichhu Khon
  3. Preeoccupies
  4. Cook like a Bong (no really!)

Which leaves number 5 and that  goes to Eating Asia. This is actually my favourite blog. Has everything I like – travel, food, the Orient, great pictures, the personal touch, going beyond the usual…

 And finally, 5 fav festive dishes

Ei re, am not a very ‘festive’ person nowadays. Mutton pulao daal of Parsi weddings, Luchi chholar daal of Bengali weddings, sorpatel from Goan and East Indian Christmas celebrations, biryani from my Muslim neighbours post Bakhri Eid, birthday cakes?… can’t think of any other.Possibly because I don’t really look for special occasions when I eat.

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Remembering 2010 – A Year Gone Past Well

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“Here’s to the bright New Year, and a fond farewell to the old;
here’s to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold.”

Here’s another new year and new hopes in mind. But, before we usher in the new year with new posts and recipes in our blog, its time for a little backward journey to the year gone past.

As we stepped into this new year, I would say the last year was another year of learning and gaining new experiences. The main aim for 2010 was to gain a niche in the blogging world, and yes we did it.

I would say 2010 was a good year!

In the kitchen there was definitely more to learn. I shifted from Bangalore to Kolkata, now I had the direct access to my mom’s kitchen and whatever she cooks, especially the authentic Bengali recipes. Be it the lotiya vada or the lotiya shutki, dim posto sorse or dimer malpua – 2010 taught me there’s definitely more to Bengali recipes than just panch phoron and posto.

We published our first e-book, Saradiya Rannabati – one that became an instant hit among the Bong food lovers with a first month download crossing thousand. The Cook Like a Bong Facebook page launched in 2010 nurtures a community of more than three thousand Bong foodies with thousands of active users each month who share their comments, recipes and feedbacks. The page has more than 270 recipes contributed by the users.

Nurturing the idea of the Top 7 Bengali Food Bloggers since the end of 2009, we completed the series of interviews of the masterminds behind the best Bengali food blogs on the web. Thanks to all the good ladies to share their valuable time and making our idea a fruitful venture. There were also guest posts from various bloggers and non-bloggers that we featured. We would love to receive more such appetizing recipes and ideas from you all. If you have any unique recipes in mind, cook it, click it and send it to us. A special thanks to all those wonderful people who found us worthy of receiving awards for our work.

For the first time, Cook Like a Bong got the opportunity to review the ready to cook products of Gits Food, a product review on Gits Karai Sutir Kachori was thus published. Next was a restaurant review idea when I won a voucher for a meal for two at Fava, the Mediterranean Restaurant from Food Lovers Magazine, Bangalore.  And of course the Mainland China Cookbook review, a book worth buying and archiving.

Professionally, I am in the verge of gaining a masters degree in Biotechnology, and had an incredible learning experience from my teachers, friends and family. One of my aims in the last year was to develop my photography skills. The stepping stone was 4 of my photographs getting featured in Bangladesh tabloid – Bhorer Kagoj, view more Kumartuli photographs. I started using more of natural lights to photograph my subjects rather than clicking photographs at night with a higher exposure to get the effect of sun light. 2010 gave me the first opportunity to have a taste of wild life photography in the jungles of North Bengal. Photographing tuskers with a search light at the middle of night in the dense forests of Hallong was an experience worth remembering.

Somebody quoted, “He who breaks his resolution is a weakling. He who makes one is a fool.” There aren’t any resolutions for this year, but of course there are some goals to fulfill in 2011, and much more to learn. We would love to know about your comments and feedbacks for our blog, please do comment on the post or write to us through email.

We would love to thank our readers, friends and family for the support they had ushered on us. Wish you all a very Happy New Year!


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Blogger Interview Series Part 5 – Sharmistha

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Sharmistha is one of the Top 7 Bengali Food Bloggers in the blogging arena. Sharmistha is an engineer by profession and of coursehas a lot to do to maintain her career and personal life. She started writing a cookery blog to keep track of all the lovely recipes she prepares at home. Today we bring to you the other side of Sharmistha, the lady behind Cook-a-doodle-do.

To know more about the authors of the other Top 7 Bengali food blogs, click on the links below:

  1. Jayashree Mandal of Spice and Curry
  2. Bong Mom of Bong Mom’s CookBook
  3. Indrani of Appayan
  4. Sharmila of Kichukhon

What inspires you to write a food blog?

Initially I started a food blog to keep track of the various recipes I follow. Gradually I realized I enjoyed the process of sharing recipes, exchanging ideas, participating in the various events. The whole process of cooking, photographing the process and receiving feedback from people I have never met was/is really exciting…though I am off blogging for the past month or so, I know I’ll be back sooon….

Who had been your inspiration for cooking?

My Mom has been my guru in cooking….though when I actually started cooking, I have been away from home. So it’s been more of telephonic tutorials and instructions that I had to be content with. I call myself a reluctant cook…my love for good food is stronger than my lack of passion for cooking! 😉

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

My husband Saptarsi. Not only is he extremely supportive and encouraging, he tolerates his hunger pangs and humours me and indulges me while I go click, click click…..

What was the first dish that you prepared and when?

First dish I prepared?…mmmm…..I guess it was a cake I’d baked. During the long break before joining college and after Higher Secondary exam . Of course Maggi, Omelette and tea were stuff I could do a couple of years prior to that!!

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

There are many more I really enjoy reading….but since I have been asked to name three, I am reluctantly restricting myself!

How many cook books do you have?

5-6 I guess….i’m not good at following instructions to the T. And hence dont use them too often

What’s your favorite cookbook?

I normally jot down ingredients and procedure from my Mom and use them later.And whenever I eat something delicious at friends & relatives’ places, I ask them for the recipes (or ingredients/procedure) and try them out myself

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

I have a blogpost on that……http://cookadoodledo.blogspot.com/2009/03/bengali-cuisinea-closer-look.html

What would you eat for your last supper?

Oh dear ….that’s a tough one….my favourite keeps changing all the time.

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

That’s my blogroll copied and pasted and hence not in any preferential sequence

Your fondest food memory?

Oh several…..sitting on the terrace with my sister and eating kawth bel makha/kaancha aam/tetuler achaar.….

The suspense while opening my tiffin box during school days….to find out what ma had packed for my lunch box

Sunday afternoon lunch during childhood ….when each item would be a special treat

Your most trusty kitchen companion?

My kadai (wok), microwave & blender

What made you call your blog “Cook-a-doodle-do”?

When I was on the verge of starting a cooking blog, much much before I actually started posting, my daughter’s favourite nursery rhyme was Cock-a-doodle-do. At that point of time, whenever I would think of naming my blog, Cook-a-doodle-do would come to mind….then the poem (read it here) came to mind and COOK-A-DOODLE-DO was the name I zeroed as my blog name!!

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

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

As I said I dont follow any cookbook regularly. And I love the way my Ma cooks….fast and finger licking good.

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Blogger Interview Series Part 4 – Sharmila

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After an wonderful response to the Top 7 Bengali Food Blogs post, we decided on interviewing the authors of these very popular blogs. This post is the fourth in Blogger Interview Series. If you have missed the first three interviews, click on the following links:

  1. Jayashree Mandal of Spice and Curry
  2. Bong Mom of Bong Mom’s CookBook
  3. Indrani of Appayan

About Sharmila

Sharmila started her blog, Kichukhon in December 2006, though she started blogging regularly since 2008. Her blog is an ode to her father, who as she says in her own words “loves good food”. In her blog, Sharmila writes about recipes without sticking to any particular type of cuisine, but also blogs about traditional Bengali food. Here’s an insight of the maker of the wonderful Bengali food blog, Kichukhon.

What inspires you to write a food blog?

Initially it was all those wonderful food blogs on the web.

Later I started to get requests for particular recipes or guidance regarding a recipe, from sincere readers.
That inspires me to keep going.

Who had been your inspiration for cooking?

Actually nobody.
Cooking, for me, was a necessity after I got married. It is only after a lot of disasters that I can say I enjoy cooking today. 🙂

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

This blog is entirely my effort … with a lot of trials and errors. Of course am grateful to a few blogger friends who encouraged me during my early days of blogging.

What was the first dish that you prepared and when?

I really don’t remember, maybe some chicken preparation. Back home, during Sundays, I would sometimes try my hand at making a dish with chicken.

CLB Note: Her blog has 10+ chicken recipes. Check them out. And if you need more, here’re our bengali chicken recipes.

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

1. http://aht.seriouseats.com/
2. http://sutapa.com/
3. http://www.marthastewart.com/

How many cook books do you have?

None.

What’s your favorite cookbook?

I don’t read cookbooks.

What would you eat for your last supper?

Steaming hot dal, plain rice and aloo bhaaja with a little ghee and lemon. 🙂

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

There are some very good food blogs out there … naming all of them is going to be difficult.

Your fondest food memory?

That would be of the food cooked in open air improvised chulhas when we used to go for ‘choruibhati’s or picnics.
The khichuri (rice and lentils cooked together)  or mangsho (mutton or chicken curry) cooked that way used to be so flavourful.

Your most trusty kitchen companion?

My pair of kitchen scissors.

What made you to call your blog “Kichu Khon”?

“Kichu Khon” in Bengali means “A Few Moments”.

Like my blog description says, since I was logging about the few moments I spend in my kitchen, I decided on the name “Kichu Khon”.

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

The Coffee Cake
Chingri Malai Rice :
Jhaal Muri / Masala Muri

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

I do not follow any cook books. But I like Kylie Kwong‘s recipes, very similar to my way of cooking – quick, flavourful yet simple.

Well, thank you Sharmila, for taking out time to share your personal side for our readers. We wish you good luck with your food blogging experience. Cheers!

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Bengali Food Bloggers Interview Part 3 – Indrani

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Bengali Food Bloggers Interview

This series tries to bring the personal side of the blogger in the list of Top 7 Bengali Food Blogs. This is Part 3 and features Indrani of Appyayan. Earlier interviews:

  1. Jayashree Mandal of Spice and Curry
  2. Bong Mom of Bong Mom’s CookBook

About Indrani

Indrani started the blog in Apr 2008, and till date, it has around 130 posts in several categories. Indrani is based out of Singapore and calls herself a – busy full-time mom of a 10 year old girl and a set of twin boys (2 years old). The blog predominantly features Bengali recipes, and sometimes, other regional Indian and western recipes too. Samples – Patishapta Pitha, Badhakopir Tak Dom, Narkel Shorshe Patol, Bhapa Ilish, and Broccoli Brinjal fry. Incidentally, the blog started at same time as bengalicuisine and has the same number of recipes as of this date. Call it coincidence, huh. She maintained a recipe index of the blog till August 2009.

Without further ado, we give you Indrani.

What inspires you to write a food blog?

Food is an important part of our life. I absolutely love cooking. So my love of cooking and learning new recipes inspire me to write a food blog, so that I can share my love with the world.

Who had been your inspiration for cooking?

My mom had been my true inspiration, who is a great cook. She can create a good food out of anything.

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

My husband

What was the first dish that you prepared and when?

The first dish I learnt to cook is Dharosh Posto (Okra / bhindi in poppy seed sauce), because this is my favorite Bengali dish. I learnt this at the age of 13.

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

There are many good food blogs which I visit regularly, but if you ask me specifically, other than Cook Like a Bong, I would recommend, (a) Sailu’s Kitchen, as she has a collection of great recipes (b) eCurry, as she has introduced me with so many new food and I learned so much from her blog, (c) Foodie’s Hope, I just love to visit her blog.

How many cook books do you have?

I have 4 cookbooks – one Bengali cookbook, one on Indian Cuisine, one on baking and one on Chinese cuisine (my fav, just after Bengali cuisine).

What’s your favorite cookbook?

I have a collection of bookmarked recipes from cooking sites and other food blogs, if I put all of them together and make a book, that’ll be my most favorite cookbook.

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

For the quintessential Bengalis, food is one of the most important aspects of daily life. As it’s said, “Bengalis do not eat to live, but live to eat”. But don’t take Bengalis as an over-eater. Fish and rice, are the most staple food in Bengal, but hardly a day goes by without a Bengali eating some form of dal (lentil). Bengali daily meal has a good proportion of everything we need in our food. A typical daily meal will include rice, dal, some fries with dal, one vegetable dish and a fish or egg or chicken dish. Lastly a chutney, not daily but often. I think, Bengali cuisine is the most sophisticated cuisine in India.

What would you eat for your last supper?

For last supper, I would love to eat some comfort food like dal-bhat-bhaja (lentil-rice and some fry) or khichudi

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

There are many good food blogs, I try to read as many of them in my little spare time

Your fondest food memory?

I don’t recollect any food memory, but I’ve fondest cooking memory which I absolutely cherish. When my mom used to get sick, bapi (my father) and me used to cook that day. My bapi only knows to cook dharosh aloo posto (okra-potato in poppy seed sauce) and dal (lentil soup), as those are his favorite dishes and easy to cook, too. I used to cut the vegetables and bapi used to cook. He used to show me every step very carefully. We had such nice time together. Whatever I learned about cooking so far, all credit goes to my mom. If she hasn’t pushed me to learn to cook, I couldn’t have survived after marriage, as I am living abroad since my marriage.

Your most trusted kitchen companion?

My mixer-grinder/blender.

What made you to call your blog “Appayan”?

Appyayan” is a bengali word which means to serve your guests which I love to do. My intention to start this blog was to serve my visitors and readers with some authentic bengali recipes, which I learned from my mother, mil and grandmother and other healthy and tasty recipes I experiment in my kitchen daily and love. This is the reason behind the name of my blog.

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

  1. Garlic Flavoured Masoor Dal (Lahsooni dal)
  2. Paneer butter masala (my daughter’s favorite food)
  3. Chatpata Chicken

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

The above mentioned favorite cookbook of mine, my bookmarked recipe collection, that I can’t do without and my favorite chef is Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, I just love to try his recipes.

Bengali Food Bloggers Interview Part 2 – Bong Mom

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We had the first part of Food Blogger Interview series with Jayshree. It is the first part of a 6 interview series of the Top 7 Bengali Food Bloggers, which we came up with 6 months ago. This post is the second in line for the Blogger Interview Series and the lady this time is a very well known blogger, Bong Mom.

7 Top Bengali Food Blogs

7 Top Bengali Food Blogs


About Bong Mom
She started her blog in October 2006 with the first post as Alu posto and Musir’er Dal. She had been a regular blogger for the last 3years and a few months, catering wonderful and finger-licking recipes all the time. With a page rank of 4, Bong Mom CookBook is one the most popular Bengali Food Blogs over the internet.

What inspires you to write a food blog?

I’ve said it in my first post and I reiterate:

Growing up all over West Bengal, and some parts of Bihar, in a Bengali household I learnt one thing, Bengalis love to eat, feed others and cook (at least Bong women do).

So growing up amongst such a race it’s natural that I love to eat and to make my food dreams into reality have taken to loving cooking my food. I get solace in cooking, the comfort of the spices sputtering in the oil, the waft of the Jeera & Tejpata as they turn brown, the rich yellow of my musuri’r dal gives me peace, makes me calm and in this far off land makes me connect to my home.

I want to pass on my legacy of Bengali food to my two little daughters and all the other little ones out there who growing up in a foreign land will find a way to connect to their Bangla roots through the smell and taste of Bangla cuisine.

This is also for all others who are unaware of the Bengali Cuisine, to try out and sample the nuances of Bengali Cooking.

Who had been your inspiration for cooking?

Cooking was more of a necessity than inspiration. I didn’t really cook much when I was with my parents. I did love to eat and cooking back then was an occasional trial of the recipes in the magazines.

Cooking for survival happened when I started my first job far from home and it was pretty expensive to dine out every day.

Now I really love cooking, more so because I am so far away from home, that cooking gives me immense comfort. The smell of the spices, the sounds the smell brings back memories of home. It also lets me eat my food just the way I want. Most of the stuff I cook is Bangla Home food, things my Ma, grandma cooked at home

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

Definitely my husband. He is the one who has to wait hungry, while I click. LOL

Sooner my Dad joined in. He even got me shaal pata’r utensils from Kolkata for shots. But then I shouldn’t leave out my dear S (my eldest daughter), she steers clear and is patient while I am trying to get the shot and of course my Ma, my most ardent reader.

What was the first dish that you prepared and when?

Don’t remember the first, maybe Maggi. But once I started cooking officially, I used to regularly make Dim er Dalna/Egg Curry. That is the only thing me and my room mate cooked and ate on most days

How many cook books do you have?

Very few. I like cook books with lots of stories

What’s your favorite cookbook?

I have been reading food memoirs recently and love them. I would recommend Ruth Reichl’s “Tender on the Bone”. I don’t think I would cook anything from there but the writing will definitely wonderful

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

Go read my Blog. LOL

What would you eat for your last supper?

Bhaat(Rice), Musuri’r Dal, Alu-posto ar ekta pati lebu

Your most trusty kitchen companion?

My Magic Bullet processor, my dishwasher

What made you to call your blog  “Bong Mom CookBook”?

Coz I am a Bong, a Mom and I Cook and would love to write  a Book some day

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

Doi Maach, Musuri’r Dal and Kalakand

Well, that was Bong Mom for you.

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How do people find this blog: 5 keyword goof ups

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How do people come to your blog?

Has it ever happened to you that visitors come to your blog via completely unrelated keywords. Say you run a travel site but visitors come via “tamil woman saree bathing“? Well, we at Cook Like a Bong  regularly get such search engine traffic hilarious moments. This post is about how google messes up while directing visitors to bengalicuisine.net.

One of the tasks of a webmaster is to understand what are people looking for when search engines send them your way. For instance, this being a site on Bengali cuisine, I would expect visitors to come here while searching for Bengali food, Bengali recipes, Bengali rasgulla, Chanchra, bangali ranna etc .

However, sometimes the keywords that send traffic range from uncommon, to weird, to outright irrelevant. Here’s 5 such keyword strings:

Google

Mishti doi food poisoning

I’ve heard of food poisoning being caused from meat, raw foods, and unwashed vegetables. But never from consuming Mishti Dahi. Medicine sites say that the symptoms of food poisoning are vomiting and abdominal cramping.

The natural question, then, is: why was someone looking for how to prepare Mishti Doi that causes vomiting? OMG. Did we inadvertently participate in some ‘killer intent’? Or, ‘how to fake pregnancy to your husband’? Just when I was about to get excited about all this, google search spilled the beans.

The first result on Google for Mishti Doi food poisoning is Sudeshna’s post on Bhapa Chingri (Steamed Shrimp). Phew! Figure out why.

How to color diyas crafts

I was surprised at first. After all, why would someone looking for craft activities like how to color diyas would come to a Bengali cooking site. But then it dawned. One year after writing a post on Diwali Diya Daler Bada, Google suddenly started sending loads of visitors to this post. Evidently, one of them turned unlucky. Check out the post for some colorful diwali diyas.

Advisable to eat rohu in monsoon?

Well, Sudeshna has talked about rohu fish (or rui maach) in 3 posts – Macher Dimer Vada (Roe fritter), Macher Jhol (Fish Curry) and Doi Rui (Rohu Yogurt gravy) and about monsoon in 5 posts. But never, I repeat never, has she advised on whether to eat rohu in monsoon.

Being a Bengali almost always automatically meant that you ‘have to’ love fish (in addition to several other bong connection myths). And now do search engines also expect a Bengali cook to even advice on seasonal variation in safety factors of eating any variety of fish. Duh!

Morola.com

A quick google search will return results that start with Motorola.com And why not? Commonsense dictates the odds of someone looking for Motorola.com is higher than ABengaliWordforaFish.com.  More than Google’s misplaced results, what surprised me more was who on earth wants to search for a website like NameofTheFish.com?

Pepped up, I searched for several such sites and here’re the results…

rui.com will redirect you to a golf and tennis website

ilish.com and katla.com seem cybersquatters

pabda.com or chingri.com don’t even exist and

tangra.com is  a web solutions provider. Indeed, curiosity killed the cat. 😛

I'm starting to crack

I'm starting to crack

Which Beatles record started as egg and bacon?

Yes, Beatles composed a song ‘Yesterday’, whose lyrics had words like eggs, omlette, ham, cheese and bacon.  In fact, this is one of the few songs that talk of egg delicacies. Sample this:

Scrambled eggs,
Good for breakfast, dinner time or brunch,
Don’t buy six or twelve, buy a bunch,
And we’ll have a lunch on scrambled eggs.

But would Paul McCartney have thought in his lifetime that someone looking for his famous song would come across a how to cook Scrambled Eggs post at a Bengali food website? Hell no.

Well, I guess you have traffic coming from such funny keywords too. Please share a few here.

Images Courtesy: Danny Sullivan and 1HappySnapper

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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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Top 7 Bengali Food Blogs

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The most popular website for Bengali recipes is Bengali Recipes on the Web by Sutapa Ray. Started in 1999, the website pre dates all bong recipes sites, and thus, pre dates even the concept of blogging. The list below is a compilation of the most vibrant blogs on Bengali food. These blogs are usually frequently updated and most of them host recipe pictures as well, with the exception of Bangali Meye. We’ve kept Cook like a Bong out of the scope here, for obvious reasons.

The Magnificient sevenImage Courtesy: Flickr

Bookmark these wonderful blogs. Or better still, subscribe them in your reader. Or even better, email us at bengalicuisine AT gmail.com to get the OPML file for the list. It’ll sure make your life easier. Enjoy!

Bengali-Meye-in-US

Bengali-Meye-in-US

A Bengali Girl in US – Blogging since March 2007 under the name Bangali Meye. Content quality of the blog is excellent but you would find images of the delicacies only in the earlier posts. In fact, in her very first post, she declares – this blog will probably not have that many pictures, ki kori, kabo, ranna korbo, na chobi tulbo. Posts regularly (but unfortunately, not as frequently as her fans would like her to) on authentic Bengali recipes. Samples – Mouri Phoron Diye Beet Shager Chorchori, Alu Kopir Dalna, Tomato Kejurer Chatney, Ranga Alur Pantua etc. Very few sites match up to this one in talking about authentic Bengali dishes.

Spice and Curry

Spice and Curry

Spice and Curry – 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 – whopping 87000+ pageviews since Dec 2008. 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.

Bong Mom's CookBook

Bong Mom's CookBook

Bong Mom’s Cookbook – Sandeepa started the blog in Oct 2006 and it became a fairly popular Bengali recipe blog (with a pagerank of 4, what else you can ask for). The site recently shifted to own domain name. The blog has almost 200 traditional and non traditional Bengali recipes. Samples – Posto Murgi, Pui Chingdi, Beet Gajor Chechki.  Like every blog, this one too has seen a couple of lull periods (twice, to be precise). It has a great blogroll too. Sandeepa is available for freelance writing and can be reached at sandeepa.blog@gmail.com (courtesy: her about page).

Kichu Khon

Kichu Khon

Kichu Khon – Sharmila started this blogspot blog in May 2008, roughly the same time as Sudeshna’s bengalicuisine. A thumbnail sized Durga welcomes you to her site, giving that quintessential bong- at-home feel. The blog hosts more than 150 recipes (mostly authentic Bengali, but several non Bengali as well) and is fairly popular (pagerank 3). Samples – Lao Khosa Bhaja, Ilish Macher Patla Jhol, Arisa Pitha. She has dedicated the blog to her dearest Bapi who loves good food. Sharmila also blogs on her travels.

Appayan

Appyayan

Appyayan – Indrani started the blog in Apr 2008, and till date, it has around 100 posts in several categories. Indrani is based out of Singapore and calls herself a – busy full-time mom of a 10 year old girl and a set of twin boys (2 years old). The blog predominantly features Bengali recipes, and sometimes, other regional Indian and western recipes too. Samples – Patishapta Pitha, Badhakopir Tak Dom, Narkel Shorshe Patol. Incidentally, the blog started at same time as bengalicuisine and has the same number of recipes as of this date. Call it coincidence, huh. She also maintains a recipe index of the blog.

Cook a Doodle Do

Cook a Doodle Do

Cook a Doodle do – Started Feb 2009 by Sharmishtha, the blog features around 50 bengali recipes till date. The site has gained popularity very quickly (pagerank 3 in just 4 odd months). Samples – Pabda Macher Patla Jhol, Boiragi Dal, Palong Shak sheddho. Check out her beautiful poem when she started the blog. Well, you wouldn’t find too many food blogs’ about with poem! Sharmishtha also has a personal blog, check it out.

Cooking in Calcutta

Cooking in Calcutta

Cooking in Calcutta – Angshuman Das started this blog during Durga Puja of 2005 (October) and writes on Bengali food for all ye readers, from Paris to Patna, from Tampa to Timbuktu. The blog posts have been infrequent at times, but have continued to amuse readers. The blog mainly features Bengali food, but occasionally, non Bengali Indian food as well. Angshuman was the only Bengali food blogger to be featured in the Telegraph’s story on Indian Food Bloggers. And if you haven’t noticed it yet, Angshuman is the ONLY male blogger featured in this list!

Hope you like the list. If you know any other wonderful Bengali recipe website, please comment here. We @ BengaliCuisine will include the links in the page for Bengali Food Blog Index

Coming soon:

  1. Interview series of the above mentioned bloggers
  2. Rising stars in the Bengali Food Blogging space

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too. You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

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