All Bengalis love street food, which is very evident by the wide range of snacks available around the whole of West Bengal. There is also a special page on Instagram about the West Bengal foods. Many people send their pictures of their food to post. The page is renowned as Westbengalfood. The page has so many followers but not as much likes on post against the followers. Hence they opted to buy instant Instagram likes to promote West bengal cuisine.
This is why ‘Adda’ or the traditional Kolkattan way of weekday socialization of Bengalis, over food, is very popular here. Bengalis enjoy all sorts of snacks, including a variety of mishti (sweetmeats) or nimki (savories) with tea and coffee for adda. Not only do they buy these colorful, crunchy, and spiced delicacies from the local shops for adda, but sometimes they do get a bit adventurous and cook it all up at their homes.
Here are 3 very easy to prepare Bengali snacks that you can try for yourself.
Jhal muri. This Bengali snack is a delicious savory preparation that practically takes a mere 5 minutes to assemble from start to finish! It is very common to find many street vendors selling it all around Bengal and India, from morning hours to late evening.This quick snack can be prepared by merely assembling muri (puffed rice), chopped boiled potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, roasted peanuts, sev (plain or spiced), sliced green chili, and coriander leaves. Season this crunchy mix with some lemon juice or tamarind pulp, salt, chaat masala, red chili powder, and mustard oil. Serve it immediately and enjoy it!
In fact, it is the only catch with this preparation. You have to consume it immediately else it tends to get soggy over time. Some people use dry roasted muri to keep it crunchier for a longer time!
Nimki. It is another addictive Bengali snack that is easy to cook and stays good for a much longer duration than the Jhal muri. It is a type of crispy fried flatbread that is seasoned with very basic spices.
Prepare it by kneading flour, salt, ajwain, and a little oil together to form a soft dough with water. Thinly roll this dough and cut it into fancy shapes of your preference. The most commonly found shapes are folded/layered triangles held together by black peppercorn and long strips. Deep fry the dough strips or folded triangles on a very low flame until golden in color. Let it cool down to room temperature and then save nimki in an airtight container for later use.
Nimki is usually prepared in large batches, and a majority of the traditional Bengali households stock these to be served as an accompaniment with the morning/ evening tea.
Macher fry. Fish is the soul of Bengali cuisine! This means it is quite not possible to enjoy ‘adda’ without having a fish-based recipe on the menu. Macher fry is one such quick snack preparation that is absolutely delightful to taste.
To prepare it, just cut a nice boneless fish (white fish) fillet into medium-sized cubes. You must select a perfect filleting knife for fish or any meat to get smooth and even cuts on the fish meat. Bhetki is the most popular fish that Bengalis use in the fried form. Marinate beautifully cut boneless fish cubes with some lemon juice, turmeric, ginger and garlic paste, salt, and red chili powder for an hour. Deep fry the fish until golden brown after coating it first in beaten egg and then with the breadcrumbs. Sounds easy, right?
You will genuinely enjoy this crispy on the outside and soft, flavorful, and flaky from the inside version of fish. Just serve it hot with tea and plenty of heartwarming talks, to savor this delicacy the Bengali way!