Doi Begun – Eggplants in Spiced Yogurt

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Almost every state in India has their own style of making doi begun or dahi baingan. So, this is one recipe where you can do loads and loads of combination, and I assure use you’ll not get wrong.


I like to use the baby eggplants, as the whole eggplants or brinjal, as I used to call while growing up (read before entering USA) gives a good texture to the curry. You can also use the larger eggplants, and cut them into two to three inch size pieces. Using asafoetida is an optional step in this recipe, I like the flavor of it and it goes with the whole yogurt and eggplant mix, so I use it. Also, if you want to enhance the flavor of this dish you can temper with curry leaves and sprinkle dry roasted and then powdered fennel seeds. So the possibilities are unending. But, one thing’s for sure, this recipe is a must have for a hot and dry summer lunch. You can also serve this as a side dish with biryani.

Doi begun


Doi Begun - Eggplants in Spiced Yogurt
Serves 4
A must have for summer lunch
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. 1 lb baby eggplants
  2. 2 cup Greek yogurt
  3. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  4. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  5. 1 teaspoon dry ginger powder
  6. ½ teaspoon sugar
  7. ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (optional)
  8. 2 teaspoons mustard oil (optional)
  9. 3-4 green chili
  10. Salt to taste
  1. Wash and cut the baby eggplants into fours, keeping the stalk intact. Take a pan which has a lid, pour the canola oil and place the eggplants, so that all of them touch the base of the pan, cover with the lid and fry on low heat for about 5 minutes, turning the eggplants once or twice in between
  2. While the eggplants are getting fried, in a mixing bowl beat the yogurt with 2 tablespoon of water. Add the chili powder, dry ginger powder and sugar. And beat again.
  3. Once the eggplants are fried, the skin will turn a darker shade of purple; don’t wait till they turn black; take the eggplants out and place on a kitchen towel to absorb the extra oil.
  4. In the same oil add the asafoetida if using, if not then go straight to the next step. As the asafoetida starts to splatter, about 10 seconds, transfer the eggplants back to the pan.
  5. Pour the spiced yogurt, and add in the green chilies. Stir and cook covered for about 2 to 3 minutes, or till the eggplants are cooked. You can add a little water if the gravy starts sticking to the pan.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and pour the mustard oil, if using. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with rice or chapati
  1. If you add the eggplants while the oil is still not hot, the eggplants will absorb less oil.
Cook like a Bong

Dahi Baingan nnn

Potpourri: The Carnival of Bengali Cuisine Part 2

After the good response (800 views and counting) to Part 1 of Potpourri, we’re here with the second edition. Read on for interesting articles on several aspects of Bengali Food – food in literature and its critique, memoirs, influences, popular culture, restaurants and the bong connection.

Just Eat it

Popular Culture

Sreyashi Dastidar argues that the time around Durga Puja is the ‘sweet season of Bengal’. What else will explain a 20-something, with gelled and spiked hair, shouting “কাকু আমায় আরও দুটো সন্দেশ  [Uncle, 2 more Sandesh please] at a community lunch in a housing complex. Or, crowd noisily demanding “তিরিশটা ছানার গজা” [30 … please] She also outlines the demands of ‘new kids’ and ‘GeNext’ that has forced the sweets entrepreneurs to innovate.

Sample these – a mix of Bengali mishti and north Indian mithai, Kiwifruit Chhanar Payesh, Carrot Rasogolla, Sitaphal Kanchagolla and the likes. A tasty read indeed.

City Bites

4 years back, Shrabonti Bagchi wrote about how several Bengali Restaurants have opened up in cities across India. 6 Ballygunj Place, Oh Calcutta and K C Das in Bangalore, Chowringhee in New Delhi, Howrah in Mumbai and 4 more in Kolkata. Well, since then, more bong eateries have mushroomed outside Bengal. I can count at least 8 in Bangalore, 10 in Mumbai and 4 in New Delhi. This is both due to immigrant bongs and increased awareness of Bengali platter among other communities. I would say probably a third of the clientele of these eateries doesn’t speak Bengali but want to check what Bengalis eat other than Maach (মাছ – Fish) and Rosogolla (রসগোল্লা – Rasgulla). As Shrabonti says, let’s raise our aam porar shorbots (আম পোড়ার শর্বত) to that!

Bengali Groom

Bengali Groom (Model: Jaydev)

Bong Connection

Radheshyam Sharma explains the pains of a vegetarian while eating out in Kolkata. Now imagine hating anything that ‘smells fishy’ (literally) but any restaurant you go to serves fish. Or, has written ‘pure veg’ on its signboard, but essentially doesn’t use separate utensils for meat and fish dishes. Nasty indeed. He gets ‘especially bothered’ if he is invited to Bengali Weddings even though he likes Mishti Doi and other sweets. And all because he can’t stand smell the fish. Smelly Cat must be smiling. 🙂 Another version of the video.

Well, if you know any good Pure Vegetarian restaurant in Kolkata please let him know. I’m sure you would be thanked.


Venu Madhav Govindu presents India’s enduring love affair with food in this Outlook article. He argues that like every other cuisine, Bengali food is also affected by both mindless imitation and the simple expedient of convenience. Well, do you agree with his version?

Critical Eye

Chitrita Banerji (চিত্রিতা ব্যানার্জী  – read her interview with Timeout) is a celebrated author on Bengali food. Three of her popular works are Life and Food in Bengal (released in 1990), Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals (released in 1997) and Hour of the Goddess: Memories of Women, Food, and Ritual in Bengal (released in 2007). In the first book, the author ‘invites the reader to enter, observe, feel and absorb Bengal-the Indian state of West Bengal and the sovereign country of Bangladesh’ [source].

Chitrita Banerji

Chitrita Banerji (Source: TimeOut Dubai)

Evolving Tastes says that the second book talks about the differences and contrasts in food between the various regions in Bengal, of Ghotis and Bangals, of Hindus and Muslims, of rich and poor, of the past and the present, along with plenty of recipes interspersed within the narrative. [Interestingly, if you Google search for ‘Cooking: Seasons and Festivals’, Srivalli’s blog comes right after this book’s Amazon link. :)]

The third book takes you on an idiosyncratic journey through the intricate backlanes of Bengali food, argues Amitabha Mukherjee in an elaborate critique of the book. Here’re two more reviews –  Anuradha Roy’s in Outlook and Arundhati Ray’s in Hindu.

Have you read any of Chitrita Banerji’s books?

You can find the assortment of all these links in StumbleUpon profile of bengalicuisine. Check it out. 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

Gits KaraiSutir Kachori Mix – Product Review

Let’s face it, people who like cooking usually don’t prefer Ready to Eat packs. I, being a food blogger and all (J) normally try and avoid packaged foods. I like preparing the food I serve from scratch.  But a cook never really grows unless you try out all that’s there to try – ready to cook/eat including.

I tried Gits Karaisutir Kachori mix a couple of weeks back and was pleasantly surprised that I kind of liked it. This post is a product review of the same.

Karaisutir Kachuri

Karaisutir Kachuri

Why Ready to Eat Mix?

First Things First. Why take resort to ready to cook mixes, when there is an absolute pleasure of preparing ingredients from scratch? The answer is simple – either you can spend half a day in the kitchen for just preparing the fillings for karaishutir kochuri or you can do the same thing in just 20 minutes.

Gits Karaisutir Kachuri

The packet says you can get up to 30 kachoris from it, but if you put a generous amount of the filling in the dough, you can make around 20. The end product was excellent.

Gits Karaisutir Kachuri

Gits Karaisutir Kachuri

How to prepare it

While talking about karaishutir kachori, there’s always the problem of rolling the dough into a perfect circle, which is quite a tough job. So, if you find it tough to make the perfect circle, then I think you should own a chapatti/paratha maker to make the kachoris.

I prepared the mix in almost the same way as instructed in the packet.

Emptied the packet in a medium sized bowl, and poured luke-warm water over it little by little. If you pour a whole cup of water, the mix tends to form lumps, which is quite hard to get rid of.

Karaisutir Kachuri Bhaja

Karaisutir Kachuri Bhaja

Mixed it well and kept it for 20 min covered with cling film. Heated 1 teaspoon of oil in a wok and just stirred the mixture for 2-3mins, and took out of flame.

Make the dough as is made while preparing luchi (poori), and divide into 20 small balls. Take one ball dip into little oil and roll a little, put about ¾ tablespoons of just made filling and cover the filling with the dough. Roll again to make 5 inch diameter size circle. Do the same for the rest.

We had the kachori with alu dum, it tasted awesome, even my neighbor liked it.


The mix has some amount of asafetida (hing), so if you are averse to the strong sulfurous smell of that, it’s better to avoid the mix.

Karaisutir Kachuri Pur Bhaja

Karaisutir Kachuri Pur Bhaja

How can you get Gits Karaisutir Kachori mix

Gits products can be obtained from supermarkets and grocery stories from 35 different countries including India. The products are also available online and can be bought through Amazon.

Disclosure: This isn’t a paid review, but the ready to eat packs were received from Gits free of cost. I’ve tried to maintain neutrality while evaluating the product. Please let me know if you feel otherwise.

About Gits

Gits started as small company way back in 1963 and have evolved into a household name in the ready to cook and ready to mix Indian food product segment. Their offerings include snacks, desserts, papads, savouries, meals and desserts.

If you like the post, chances are you would like the Gits product too. Try it out.

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

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

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:


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!

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

Pepped up, I searched for several such sites and here’re the results… will redirect you to a golf and tennis website and seem cybersquatters or don’t even exist and 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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Potpourri: The Carnival of Bengali Cuisine #1

Cook Like a Bong completed 100,000 pageviews in its new avatar. Plus, our Facebook page crossed 160 fans [of which, 100 came in last 3 weeks!]. OMG, can’t stop smiling. 🙂



In retrospect, I could see several factors contributing to it, but the discussion deserves a separate post. So, moving on…

To mark the occasion [1 lakh pageviews in 6 months and 100 facebook fans in 3 weeks], we’re starting a new series – Potpourri.

Potpourri: Carnival of Bengali Cuisine

Literally, Potpourri means an assortment of several [incongruous] items. Starting today, every fortnight we plan to share the most interesting ‘discoveries’ [links of course :)] related to bengali food on the internet. Please pass on any interesting link that you come across (over email, comments or facebook).

Whats different from an Event?

Well, many things. For starters, in events we talk about only one aspect of food – recipes. And there too, only the recipes posted on blogs. Even then, several event organizers required you to ‘repost’ the content for participation [never really understood the reason for this extra work]. Thats quite a convoluted requirement and misses an entire gamut of online resources.

Thus, generally events miss several interesting aspects of food – food in movies, literature and music, memoirs, influences, popular culture, restaurants and (unfortunately) the chef.

Potpourri will try and talk about these related aspects – with a single minded focus on Bengali food. We’ll start with a biweekly (once in 2 weeks) post on the interesting reads in several categories. Initially, we expect that most of these links would come from usual browsing (Sudeshna’s and mine). However, we expect that as the series picks up momentum a couple of months later, several of our readers would contribute.

Here we go with the first edition of Potpourri.

Popular Culture

The Telegraph had an article on 50 reasons not marry a Bengali man back in October. Predictably, #1 was his hatred for every fish but Ilish (Hilsa). Another reason was ‘men actually look down on women for chewing fishbones‘. Of the 50 reasons, 20+ were food related. The article became an instant hit and did rapid online rounds. Last Sunday, they came out with.. No prizes for guessing.. 50 reasons not marry a Bengali woman. Could you read and tell how many reasons are related to food?

In my backyard

Andy De talks about his sojourn with Aaheli at Peerless Inn in Kolkata [the post is almost 3 yrs old]. The Bangali Bhadrolok ambiance attracts him and so does the delicacies served (which inlcudes Kacha Aamer Sharbot, Bhetki Paturi and Morolla Maacher Bati Chorchori). Andy asserts that food is raison d’etre of Bengalis and that Bengalis are a tribe of Bon-Vivants (of refined tastes, esp. in food and drinks). Well, we can’t agree more.

City Bites

City Bites

City Bites

Bengalis residing outside Bengal used to crib about non availability of their favorite delicacies. And when they were available, it was either a bastardized version or extraordinarily costly. Well, not anymore. Several restaurants/eateries have opened shop across Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai in recent years.

Kalyan Karmakar writes about his visit to Hangla’s, a bong eatery in Lokhandwala, Bandra, Mumbai. And here’s another take on the same food joint. Nishant Singh, in the post, says – Hangla is changla! Interestingly, both the reviews are quite different. Read it to appreciate the perspective of both sides.

Deccan Herald talks about a couple of Bengali restaurants in Bangalore. The news piece, however, misses Bhajo Hori Manna though, my personal favorite. Looks like I’ll have to take up the cudgels to review this wonderful restaurant.


Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta rediscovered his palate a year back. In this article, he examines the food and cuisine of Bengal in Colonial era. Interestingly, the Brits saahebs distinguished themselves from native bangalis by eating loads of meat. Read the article and Nation on a Platter: the Culture and Politics of Food and Cuisine in Colonial Bengal, by Jayanta Sengupta to know more.

Salivating Sight

Salivating Sight (Models: Sujit and Amit)


Your last Ilish Curry may only be a couple of years away. Jaideep Mazumdar explains in this Outlook article. The culprit – wrong timing of catching the fish. Ilish swims from the sea up a river to spawn.It lays eggs and gets back, and thats when it should be caught. But it’s usually caught on its journey from the sea to the river. This, plus the surge in the demand for Ilish during off season. Next stop? Ilish from Gujarat. But, can the bong taste bud appreciate Gujju Hilsa?

You can find the assortment of all these links in StumbleUpon profile of bengalicuisine. Check it out.

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There is a saying “Bhojon Rashik Bangali” (“food loving Bengali”). I won’t say it’s absolutely a myth. Bengalis are really fond of eating and feeding others. A usual Bengali lunch starts with a shukto, dal, fries or fritters, a vegetarian curry, and then the non-vegetarian item, most likely to be fish if not a egg, chicken or mutton curry, and ending with a chutney. And of course there are a few guests at home, then there is always a chance to feast on some sweets at the end of the meal. So, it is always a heavy meal in a Bengali household whether you like it or don’t like it. Talking about lunches, there has to be a shukto to start with. Shukto is a typical Bengali dish with minimal spices and all the vegetables that you can find in the kitchen, the refrigerator, or for that matter anywhere in and around the house. But, a statutory warning here, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbages are not allowed to be a part of this bitter sweet preparation.

Shukto is of various types, depending on the type of spices used or even at times the absence or presence of some particular vegetables. But, in general it is a bitter in taste because of the bitter gourd, which is the most important ingredient of this preparation. Among all the types of shukto the most popular one is the dudh shukto, here milk is used to temper the taste of the whole preparation.


My mom is an avid lover of shukto, first because she can use all the vegetables in her stock and secondly because she gets an alibi to feed us bitter gourd. She prepares shukto in different style, and this one is one of her own creations. There another very interesting part about having shukto, it is never served for dinner, but is only had at lunch time. While writing this post, I called up my mom, my aunts and even my father, but they all had the same statement, “shukto raat e khete nei” (You should not have shukto at night), but nobody actually knew why not to have it at night. Baba (my father) tried to solve the mystery saying that with so many vegetables its quite a heavy preparation and so one should avoid having it at night. He also added that may be its because of that bitter gourd, which may create some digestive trouble if had at night. Truly speaking, I am not satisfied with his solution. I would love to hear from any of you if you have any suggestions or solutions to this.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 15 -20min


Aubergine (Begun): 1 medium

French Beans (Bean): 5 -6

Bitter gourd (Karola): 2 medium sized

Pumpkin (Kumro): 100gm

Potato (Alu): 2 medium sized

Ridge gourd (Jhinge): 1

Mustard seed (Sarse): 1 tablespoon

Drumsticks (Sajner data): 2, cut into one inch lengths

Raw rice (Atop chal): 2 tablespoon, coarsely made into paste

Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon

Ginger paste (Ada bata) 1teaspoon

Mustard paste (Sarse bata): 2 tablespoon

Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 4 tablespoon


  • Dice the vegetables into even size pieces.
  • Heat 3 tablespoon of oil in a wok, throw in the mustard seeds and grinded rice
  • Add all the vegetables as the mustard seeds start popping
  • Mix the oil well with the vegetables and let it cook in low flame under cover
  • Take out the cover when the vegetables are half done, pour in little water (about half cup), ginger and mustard paste, turmeric powder; mix well
  • Cook for about 5 min or till the vegetables are well cooked
  • Pour in the rest of the mustard oil and take out of flame
  • Shukto tastes best with warm white rice


Hot Tips – You can add squash or green papaya to this, it enhances the taste. Bodi also tastes good with shukto, so you can just fry some and garnish shukto with the bori.

Further Reading – Dudh shukto, Shukto with bori

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Patla Ilisher Jhol (Hilsa with Nigella)

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“Aum Mahalakshmi Vidmahe

Vishnu PriyaYe Dhi Mahi

Tanno Lakshmi Prachodayat”

-Lakshmi Slokam

Lakshmi salelakshmi sale

I had prepared this patka Ilish (hilsa) jhol (curry) quite sometime back, and the images had been in my folder since then. I was searching for the right time to publish this recipe, and nothing can be better than today. According, to Bengali customs it is said that no one should have hilsa between Lakshmi Puja and Saraswati Puja. Ilish is one of my most favorite fishes and I never liked this customJ. Sometime back, while searching for hilsa recipes on the web I came across an article named “The Last Hilsa Curry” in the Outlook India. Along with a dinner menu for the Chief Minister of West Bengal at the Prime Minister’s home there was the answer to my long lost question. Why we should not have hilsa between Lakshmi and Sarawati Puja? The scientific reason behind this custom is very simple. The little hilsa fishes swam back from river to the sea and then again came back in the next monsoon to lay eggs. With globalization everywhere, we are almost forgetting our own cultures, as a result of not following this simple custom the world renowned Padmar Ilish is on the verge of extinction. These days you can find hilsa all throughout the year and some weighing even less than 500gms.

Lakshmir potLakshmir nauka

Coming to a lighter note, today is Lakshmi Puja eve and the markets are flooded with people doing their last minute marketing for welcoming the goddess of wealth. Lakshmi Puja is carried out in almost all families, mainly the Bangals (families who came as refugees from East Pakistan). Ghotis households (the actual inhabitants of Bengal) worship the goddess on Kali Puja (Diwali) and they call it as Mahalakshmi Puja. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and the daughter of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Lakshmi is also depicted as the mother goddess, sitting or sanding on a lotus, holding a lotus on one hand and a vessel filled with grains on the other. The lotus in her hand symbolizes beauty and purity of woman. Her four hands depicts the four ends of human life – dharma (righteousness), kama (desires), artha (wealth) and mokhsha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).

chand mala

Tomorrow is Kojagori Purnima and all households are getting ready for the day. Some families worship the goddess not as an idol but as a painting on terracotta discs (Paut in Bengali). The banana stem is modified to a small boat and filled with paddy and lentils signifying gold and silver. A pair of hilsa is offered to the goddess in some households.

Here is a quick and easy recipe with hilsa. I have used raw banana for the preparation, you can also use thin and long egg plants in place of it. Potato doesn’t go along with hilsa, so its better to leave potato out of this curry.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10min

Cooking time: 15min

Patla Ilish Jhol


Hilsa (Ilish): 4 pieces

Raw Banana (Kancha Kala): 1

Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 4 tablespoons

Nigella (Kalo jeera): ½ teaspoon

Green chili (Kancha lanka): 2

Turmeric powder (Halud guro): 1½ teaspoon

Salt to taste


  • Wash the fishes well, put in a bowl and mix well with 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and salt
  • Cut the raw banana longitudinally into half and then into 2 inch long pieces
  • Heat the oil in a wok and half fry the fishes, take out and keep aside
  • Throw in the bananas and toss for a minute, add the nigella seeds
  • Mix turmeric powder in 2 tablespoons of water and keep ready
  • As the nigella seeds start popping pour in the turmeric paste
  • Add the chilies (slit them if you like the curry to be hot), and pour in 1 ½ cup of water
  • Let the water boil and reduce to half
  • Gently add the fried hilsa pieces and cook for 2 minutes
  • Take out of flame and serve with warm rice

Patla Ilish Jhol

Further Reading – Bong Mom’s Hilsa Curry, Hilsa story

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Kasha Mangsho – Bengali Mutton Curry

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|| ya devi sarvabhutesu buddhirupena samsthita
namas-tasyai namas-tasyai namas-tasyai namo namah ||

|| ya devi sarvabhutesu sakti rupena samsthita
namas-tasyai namas-tasyai namas-tasyai namo namah ||

With less than a week to go for Saptami, its time for a brief on the relevant pujas and a savouring dish. Two events passed by – Vishwakarma Puja and Mahalaya. If you came here just for the recipe, you can skip the next 3 paras.

Vishwakarma Puja

Vishwakarma is the god of architecture (in Hinduism) and thus, the presiding deity of all artisans and craftsmen. He architected of the Golden city of Lanka, Indraprastha (abode of Indra), Hastinapur (the capital of the Pandavas and Kauravas of Mahabharata) and the mythical town of Dwarka, where Lord Krishna lived during the Mahabharata period. Any parallel you can draw from modern times? J

The architect is worshipped usually in mid September each year in several parts of the country. In Bengal, the puja is marked by flying kites. And being the Lord of architecture, heavy machinery factories, construction sites and even engineering colleges celebrate Vishwakarma puja.

God on sale


The enchanting voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra at 4am announces the arrival of Devi. Its Mahalaya and 7 days to Saptami. More about Mahalaya here. And here’s how Delhi is taking up Durga puja this year. Hundreds of men offer water to their deceased ancestors on this day, what Bengalis call as “Tarpan”.

puja shoppingpuja sale

Pujor Ranna – Kasha Mangsho

I had prepared a Bengali style mutton curry for lunch today. Though I am not much of a mutton loving person, just thought of preparing it. With a little help from mom, the preparation turned out well. Here’s how to cook Bengali mutton curry.

Preparation time: 1hr
Cooking time: 30min
Serves 2



Mutton (Khashir mangsho): 400gms

Potato (Aalu): 2 large sizes cut into quarters

Papaya grated (Jhiri kore kata Pepe): 3 tablespoon

Sour curd (Tauk doi): 2 tablespoons

Onion (Peyaj): 2 large sizes

Garlic (Rasun): 8-10 cloves

Ginger-garlic paste (Aada-rasun bata): 1 ½ teaspoon

Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon

Chili powder (Sukhno lanka guro): 1/2 teaspoon

Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 8 tablespoon

Salt to taste


  • Chop one onion and make a paste of the other
  • Make a
  • Wash the mutton pieces well, and drain out the excess water
  • Take the mutton in a large bowl, put in the sour curd, onion and ginger-garlic paste; mix well, pour in 2 tablespoon of mustard oil and a pinch of salt, marinate for 50mins in refrigerator
  • Heat 3 tablespoon of oil in a wok and half fry the potatoes, keep aside
  • Pour in the rest of the oil in the same wok, and sauté the chopped onions and garlic cloves
  • Put in the marinated mutton, turmeric, chili, salt and grated papaya, stir in low flame till the mutton becomes absolutely dry and the oil separates (kashano in Bengali), it will also change color to a darker shade of brown
  • Add the dried up mutton in a pressure cooker and pour in 3 cups of water, close the lid and wait for 3 whistle
  • Open the lid and put in the potatoes and again allow 2 more whistles
  • Take out and serve with warm white rice

Kasha Mangsho

Hot Tips – The grated papaya helps in softening the mutton pieces, so its an optional ingredient in this preparation, if you want you can also add large papaya pieces in place of the grated papaya. The number of whistles depends on the quality of mutton, so check after the 5 whistles whether the mutton has become tender, else allow some more time.

Further Readings – Kasha Mangsho, Mutton Chaap (Bengali style)

Don’t forget to send in your entries to the blog Durga Puja Food Festival ending 22nd September.

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Chicken Keema Curry

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Festive spirit is raging high among Bongs with Durga Puja just round corner (only 11 days). There is so much to talk about – Puja Barshiki, history of Durga Puja, Durga Puja in Kolkata, memories of school/college days, Mahalaya hymns, my experience at last year’s Puja at Bangalore and of course the Puja wardrobe, Puja recipes – that I became overwhelmed with to write and what to leave out.

So, here’s the deal.

Starting today, I’ll write a post a day till Puja starts. And in these posts, I hope to cover ‘Pujor Amej’ (Festive Flavour) in terms of food, history and a bong’s insight. There would be occasional touches of fashion trends too.

And some updates on Durga Puja Food Festival too. Hurry folks, the deadline for getting a chance for an entry in the eBook and a prize is 22nd September. Click here for more information.

Puja is almost at the door steps and am counting on the days, just 11 days to go. The first essence of the puja you get in Kolkata is the sale of the Puja Barshikis. At this time of the year the fat magazines is a well known scene at the news paper stalls. I had not yet bought my share of Puja Shankha this time, but just brought back home this month’s edition of Anadamela. The trigger was the painting of a Durga idol on the cover page of the edition; it said “Pouranik Galpe Debi Durga” (Mention of the Goddess Durga in mythology). I’ll let you all the stories in the corresponding posts, so be patient.

Durga Puja

There had been several stories about the inception of this autumn festival, which became the most important festivals among Bengalis, and for that matter Hindus. My most fond memories of Durga Puja are the dawn of Mahalaya. Mahalaya is said to be the day of the inception of the goddess. This day also marks the last week on countdown for the pujas, and so it is so special. With the cracking of dawn starts the radio program for Mahalaya. When I was a kid that was the only source, these days every Bengali channel shows their version of Mahalaya, but still listening to the hymns sung by Virendra Kishore Bhadra in a half-awake state is my favorite.

What I thought of posting today has nothing to deal with Mahalaya or Durga Puja, but with less than a fortnight to go before the festival starts and as I have missed the last year of Durga Puja celebration in Kolkata, I am looking forward for this year. When it’s autumn, the air, the blue sky with the fluffy wet white clouds, the bamboo structures getting ready for the puja, the crowd at the shops – everything just compelling me to talk about the goddess and the way these four days is spent.

In my previous posts I had written about a lot of chicken preparations, but this time I just shifted a little and prepared with minced chicken. Those of you, who are fond of mutton or lamb, can also prepare it with minced meat.

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 15 – 20min


  • Minced chicken (Murgir keema): 300gm
  • Potatoes (Aalu): 2 medium sizes, cut into quarters
  • Sour curd (Tauk Doi): 2 tablespoons
  • Onion paste (Peyaj bata): 2 tablespoons
  • Ginger-garlic paste (Aada-rasun bata): 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder (Halud guro):  ½ teaspoon
  • Chili powder (Sukhno lanka guro): 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 4 tablespoon


  • Clean the keema  in a colander and keep for sometime for the water to drain out
  • Heat half the oil in a wok and half fry the potatoes and keep aside
  • Pour in the rest of the oil and let it heat
  • Add in the onion and ginger-garlic paste and sauté
  • Add the half-fried potatoes, sour curd, turmeric powder, chili powder and salt ; and stir till the color changes a shade darker and it becomes dry
  • Put in the keema and stir again
  • Pour in water and let the keema cook till tender
  • Take out of flame and serve with warm rice

Chicken Keema Curry

Further reading: Kheema Recipe, Keema in Naan

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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 to get the OPML file for the list. It’ll sure make your life easier. Enjoy!



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 (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.



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

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Prepare Phuchka (Golgappa) at home

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“When people wore hats and gloves, nobody would dream of eating on the street. Then white gloves went out of style and, suddenly, eating just about anything in the street became OK.”

–          Jane Addison, quoted in the Great Food Almanac by Irena Chalmers

Street food in Kolkata epitomizes the pada (neighborhood) culture. Having something at the nearest roadside vendor is not only about eating and fulfilling ones gastronomic urges, but it is also a means of having food with family, friends and sometimes even strangers. Street foods that are in vogue are phuchka, jhal muri, papri chat, muri makha, vegetable chop, and beguni, but phuchka ranks above all. Someone from South Calcutta won’t find it a pain to travel all the way to Bowbazar (for the uninitiated in Calcutta’s geography, Bowbazar is almost an hour drive from South Calcutta) just to confront his friends that the phuchka wala at his pada is better than theirs.

Now, by “street food”, I don’t mean what one can get in the big or even the small restaurants, roadside food is that what you get from the makeshift stalls on the foot path of whole of Bengal. There are also other names for it in the different states of India. Some call it Pani Puri, some golgappa. But if you ask any Calcuttan he/she will say phuchka is definitely different from golgappa or panipuri. The difference may be obscure, probably it’s only the colloquial term that varies, but there is a little difference in one of the ingredients that significantly differentiates phuchka from all its synonyms. The vendors in Bengal use gandhoraj lebu (a typical lemon produced in suburbs of Bengal) to flavor the filling and the tamarind water of phuchka. And this is where all the difference is.


Kolkata street food is such a rage, that there are places in different part of India and even abroad holding “Calcutta street food festival”. When I started having phuchka, as far as I remember it was 5 for a rupee and the last time I had it back in Kolkata I got three for two rupees. Though here in Bangalore there are places where you get pani puri that almost tastes like those back in Kolkata, but are highly priced. Talking about phuchka, I can’t leave the phuckhwalas, people who sell the phuchka. They are mostly from Bihar/Jharkhand, and you just can’t beat them with their style of the phuchka preparation.

Cooking time: 8-10min

Preparation time: 12min

Makes 20 phuchka


  • Phuchka balls: 20
  • Potato(Alu): 2 large
  • Whole Bengal gram (Chola): 2 tablespoon, soaked
  • Green chili (Kacha Lanka): 4, chopped finely
  • Cumin (Jeera): 1 teaspoon, roasted and then grinded
  • Lemon juice (Pati lebu ras): 1 teaspoon
  • Cilantro (Dhane pata): Chopped to 2 tablespoon
  • Tamarind pulp (Tetul): 4 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste


  • Boil the potatoes with the skin on, peel off after boiling and mash properly so that no lumps remain
  • Add soaked bengal gram green chili, cumin powder, lemon juice, one tablespoon of cilantro to the mashed potato and mix well
  • Take the tamarind pulp in a big bowl and add 2 cups of water to it with salt and the rest of the cilantro, mix well
  • Add 2 tablespoon of the tamarind water to the mashed potatoes and keep the rest aside
  • Break just the upper part of one phuchka ball and put in one teaspoon of the filling, fill the other balls also similarly
  • Serve with the rest of the tamarind water
Phuchka with tamarind water

Phuchka with tamarind water

Hot Tips – Though not the basic component, you may also like to add some chopped onions to the filling to make it spicier.

Further Reading – Rasta Nasta, Sasta way, Crazy Street Food of Kolkata

Phuchka is the ideal recipe to send for the “Family Recipe” event at The Life and Loves of Grumpy Honey Bunch co-hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life.

Family Recipes Logo

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