15: Bengali Food 101 with Ishita

Posted on April 3, 2018 |

Ishita Saha is the author of IshitaUnblogged, a popular culinary travel blog featuring Dubai & the world beyond. Also the Co-Founder, Editor & Creative Head of FoodeMag dxbIshita is obsessed with street food and learning about culinary cultures across the world. She aspires to travel the world with her family – husband and two daughters – the Z-Sisters, and dreams about writing a book on Bengali cuisine, the kind that can be passed on as a wedding trousseau to her daughters.

Ishita has been featured on the BBC Travel Show and has also collaborated with Michelin famed Chef Atul Kochhar on a traditional Bengali Menu for Rang Mahal at the JW Marriott Marquis. Her passion for her native cuisine is infectious and only surpassed by her culinary skills – which made her the ideal person to educate us on the nuances of Bengali food.

In case you’d like a tantalizing recap of what we ate, here’s Ishita’s fantastic Bengali menu in her very own words:

Shukto, the Bengali ratatouille as I like to call it with shada bhaat, or plain white rice (V)

Dhokar Dalna, Lentil cakes cooked in gravy (V)

Begun Bhaja with Middle Eastern Twist, fried eggplant with yoghurt dip and fried garlic (sometimes I also garnish the dish with pomegranates and sprinkle of sumac)

Jhurjhure aloo bhaja, fried julienne potatoes

Daal – Cholar dal with coconut, chana dal

Moong Daal with fish head (Rohu fish)

Moori ghonto – rice cooked with fish head

Chingri Maacher malaikari, the Tiger Prawn – the sweet water prawn cooked in a coconut gravy

Shorshebata Salmon, mustard salmon. Usually this preparation is an epic one with Hilsa fish – a bone of contention between Bangladesh and Bengal in India (Hilsa from Padma river vs Hilsa from Ganges!)

Kosha Mangsho, slow cooked lamb. Usually back home this would be a goat

Tomato chutney with dates and raisin, I say this is a casual initiation to sweets before we hit the main desserts! Usually had with Papad.

Desserts:

Mishti Doi or sweet yoghurt

Notun Gurer Roshogolla – rasgulla filled with season fresh jaggery

 

Yes, we do have the best jobs in the world!

You can attempt to make the Mustard Salmon and Mishti Doi at home using these links to Ishita’s blog:

If you enjoyed the rendition of Rabindranath Tagore’s “Ami Rupe Tomay” by Ishita’s mother, Bharati Bhattacharya, you may download the full track here.

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Credits

Rabindranath Tagore’s “Ami Rupe Tomay” sung by Ishita’s mother, Bharati Bhattacharya. Listen to the full track here.

All other music tracks licensed from Audio Jungle.

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