“Durga Puja” fills our mind with images of vibrant pandals filled with devotees, Ma Durga idols and a celebration of traditions & culture. This annual festival is celebrated with great fervour, especially in East India.
One of the vital aspect of any festivity in India is the food and of course Durga Pujo is also incomplete without the epicurean Bengali banquet. Let’s look at some delicious Bengali dishes you can try this Durga Puja. The recipes to the dishes may vary depending on your individual tastes and family traditions. However, the spirit of Durga Puja remains common across the entire country.
Disclaimer: Before consuming the dishes, check with your doctor/nutritionist in case of any food allergies or if you are undergoing any treatment.
Start with cutting potatoes into cubes & soak them in water. Grind soaked poppy seeds into a paste on a sil batta or in a mixer. Add cumin seeds to smoked mustard oil and leave them to splutter. One can add a couple of red chillies as well at this point. Tip in cubed potatoes, with a pinch of turmeric powder. The potatoes are fried till they get a golden hue. Now it’s time for adding the posto/ poppy seed paste. Turn to medium heat, and let the posto coat uniformly over the potatoes. Pour in some water, salt and finely chopped green chillies. Cook covered, till the flavours come together, and the water dries (for a dry dish, else adjust water for a gravy dish). Aloo Posto can be relished with luchi, or as an accompaniment to dals.
This is another simple but traditional Bengali delight. Finely sliced cabbage with potatoes form the basis of this dish. Fry cubed potatoes and set aside. In the same oil add bay leaf and cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds begin to splutter, add a chopped tomato along with some salt. Cover and let them cook till tomato is soft and pulpy. Combine ginger paste, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder add the paste to the tomatoes. Cook till oil separates. Now, add green peas, fried potatoes and cabbage; stir well for the tomato masala to coat evenly. Adjust seasoning and cover to cook till potatoes are done. Later cook uncovered for the moisture to dry completely. Once done, add some ghee, garam masala and sugar (optional). Bandhakopir Dalna is ready to be relished. You can make this dish with or without tomatoes.
Commonly known as Bengal gram/ chana dal, this is a famous festival recipe. Pressure cook thoroughly soaked chana dal with around 2 cups of water till the grains are separate but cooked well. Once the dal is cooked, add turmeric, salt and sugar and simmer the dal at low flame till the water dries up. In a separate pan, fry coconut slivers in some clarified butter, and keep them aside. For the aromatic tempering, in clarified butter crackle cumin seeds, dried red chillies, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, few pods of green cardamom, grated ginger and slit green chillies. Lastly, add the tempering to the simmering dal along with coconut slivers. Cook for a few more minutes for the flavours to seep in, before serving hot.
This delectable dish is a famous Bengali sweet recipe. Grated coconut/khoya, sugar/jaggery, cardamom powder, all-purpose flour, semolina and rice flour are the main ingredients required to make a Patishapta. The dish has two elements- batter for crepes and filling inside the crepes.
For the filling of patishpata- in a wok, mix coconut/khoya with sugar or jaggery; cook on a low flame, while stirring on regular intervals. The filling will be sticky and mushy. Once done, add cardamom powder and keep aside for it to cool. The prep for filling will take about 20 mins.
For the crepe’s- a flowing consistency batter is prepared with rice flour, semolina and maida in milk. Combine well and make sure it is lump free. This batter should be ideally kept outside for half an hour, before preparing crepes. Ladle the batter on a non-stick pan or a tawa to prepare crêpes, fill with the cooled coconut/khoya filling and roll. Brown to golden specs on the crepe ensure that the patishapta is ready to be served. It can be served with payesh/ condensed milk poured on it.
To prepare the Luchi (which is similar to a poori in North India), knead all-purpose flour with water, little salt and some clarified butter/ghee. Once kneaded well, let it rest before frying in ghee/ oil. A luchi may or may not be given a golden hint. It tastes great with any curry or vegetable combination.
This holds immense significance in a Bengali household, especially, during a puja. It is also called as Bhoger Khichuri, which is offered to Goddess Durga. To prepare - dry roast moong dal, before washing in cold water. It is then cooked till half done in an open vessel, later to the same pan washed Gobindo Bhog rice is added to be cooked till half done. Meanwhile, in a wok, chopped coconut, peas and other veggies like potato and cauliflower are fried to golden brown. In the same wok, slit green chillies and- a paste of ginger with turmeric and cumin powder is cooked with little water. To it, the fried veggies are tipped in with salt and some sugar. In the end, dal-rice is added with water to bring every element in unison for the bhoger khichuri to be offered to the Goddess and the devotees later.
Our gastronomic adventure to the Bengali land is incomplete without a bowl of Payesh (kheer). To prepare Payesh- soak basmati rice for 15-20 mins, drain and toss in some ghee to prevent the rice from sticking and also to get a richer texture and aroma. Meanwhile, boil milk with some pods of cardamom and bay leaf. Let it simmer, to reduce, at least to 1/3rd. To the milk, add rice and let it cook till done- but grainy. At this stage, remove the bay leaf and add sugar, stirring continuously to avoid sticking. Scorched milk can ruin the flavour. Cook till you get the desired thick consistency. It can be garnished with dried fruits like almonds cashewnuts, raisins and strands of saffron. Serve hot/chilled- as you desire.