Recipes for Poila Baisakh 1419

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Cheers to the beginning of a new year. Our non-Bong friends might wander why we are wishing each other Happy New year in the middle of April. The Bengali calendar or Bangabdo refers to  sidereal solar Hindu calendar, which starts from Poila Baisakh (or the first day of the month of Baisakh) and it generally falls on the 14th of April.

The wiki page on Bengali calendar says that this calendar was introduced by one of the ministers of the Mughal empire during the 16th century for the sole purpose of tax collection in Bengal. Some even say that the calendar started from the time of emperor Shashangko.

We Bengalis take the first day of the year very seriously. And, when I say seriously that means whole lot of shopping and even more eating. If you ever try visiting the shopping districts of Kolkata and for that matter in Bengal during this time of the year there will be a huge “end of season sale”. Everybody out in the streets buying something or the other.

While the shopping is going on, there is always the good old street food stalls to gorge on. And, when it comes to street food how can we not mention phuchka, the world famous born in Kolkata typical Bengali golgappa.

The new year always begins with wearing new dresses. As a kid, I always used to look forward for this day, other than of course the time during pujas, when you get loads of clothes even from relatives you meet not more than once a year.

now, when Bengalis are celebrating something there cannot be a lack of food. Poila baisakh is another day of feasting on the Bengali calendar. A wholesome meal is served any all households. And, to ease out this year’s plan on what to cook for your family and friends here’s a list of the authentic Bengali platter.

The day should always begin with luchi, cholar dal, alu dum and may be a sandesh at the end of the breakfast. 

There is a whole lot of option for the lunch menu. A Bengali meal always start with shukto. Shukto helps as an appetizer and the bitter taste of the bitter gourd helps to cleanse your taste buds for the dishes to follow. 

Shukto is followed by dal and some fries with may be a non-spicy vegetable curry.

Bengali meal without fish is like rasogolla without the sweet syrup. There is a huge number of fishes available in the markets, here a what you can do with those.  

As the meal continues, fish is followed by any type of meat. Mutton is the most preferred when it comes to a festive platter, but because of huge count of heart diseases in most families people are going for the chicken curry

All the savory dishes over, its now time for some sweet. Chatni, papad followed by misti doi, sandesh and rasogolla

Hope you enjoyed the meal. Let us know what you made or had for Poila Baisakh. Subho Nabobarsho.

Oh, I just forgot to mention the photo of the platter served is from my ayeburobhaat, my last meal as a maiden. Bhalo kore kheyo !

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Poila Baisakh Special – Tel Koi

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Paila Baisakh, the first day of the Bengali New Year is just a week to go. Its definitely a big day for all Bongs all over the world. It’s a day to celebrate the joy of being a Bengali – food, new clothes and of course Rabindra Sangeet. The way of celebrating may have changed over time, but you just can’t find a Bengali who doesn’t want to celebrate this day. The Chaitra sale in Gariahat market is just something indispensable. If you are in Kolkata at this time of the year, you should definitely make it a point to visit Gariahat – from big shops to the street vendors, everybody has the “SALE” tag hanging.  The essence of Poila baisakh is being a Bengali in heart. You may celebrate it in a club with friends over a peg of JohnnyWalker, but your heart still beats to the rhythm of “esho hain Baisakh esho esho”.

We at Cook Like a Bong wanted to share our joy with you all, and so we have planned to share one recipe everyday till Paila Baisakh. Starting from today, the menu starts with the Bong favourite – fish. Tel koi is an authentic Bengali recipe, and a must have with warm rice for lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 8 koi fish
  • 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon clarifies butter
  • 3 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Grind 1 ½ tablespoon cumin seeds, and mix with the chilli and turmeric powder
  • Strain with a chakni, and mix with water
  • Heat the oil in a wok and add the extra cumin seeds
  • Put in the koi fish and the spice mixture
  • Pour in water and cook covered till the fish is soft
  • Sprinkle the garam masala and ghee
  • Serve hot with rice

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Subho Nabobarsho

Wishing you all Bongs and non-Bongs a very Happy Bengali New Year 1417.

In the words of the great poet, Rabindranath Tagore, we welcome the new year :

Esho he Baisakh esho esho|
Tapasnishwas bahe murmursure dao uraye,
batsarer aborjana dur haye jak||
jak puratan smriti, jak bhule jao geeti,
ashru bashpo sudure milak
Here is a video for the occassion:

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