11 Must-Try Authentic Bengali Dishes
Bengali cuisine is a haven for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian people. One interesting thing about Bengali food is that it is the only one in the Indian subcontinent that has a proper multi-course structure, much similar to the style of modern French cuisine.
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What comes to your mind when you think about Bengali food? I am sure ‘Maacch Bhaat’ (fish rice) and sweets like ‘Rosogolla’. Believe me, Bengali cuisine has a lot more than that. Let me tell you about 11 must-try authentic Bengali dishes that will change your perception of Bengali food. Bengalis have a special way of having their food - they like to have it served course-wise, instead of all at once, as is typically done in most other Indian regional cuisines. According to my personal experience, I can say that Bengali food is culturally vibrant and just simply delightful.
Here is the list of 11 authentic Bengali dishes that you must try at least once in your life:
1. Chingri Maacher Malaikari or Prawn Malaikari
Chingri means prawn in Bengali. Chingri Maacher Malaikari or Prawn Malaikari is a popular dish and well-loved Bengali treat. This curry is usually made by cooking large tiger prawns (bagda chingri) or giant freshwater prawns (golda chingri) in the subtle and creamy coconut-milk sauce. This is a super delicious dish and relatively easy to cook.
2. Bhapa Ilish
Hilsa or Ilish is one of the favourite fishes of Bengal. Although there are different kinds of preparation to enjoy this fish. Bhapa Ilish is the easiest and the most delicious one.
Ilish bhaape, also known as Shorshe Ilish bhapa (steamed mustard Hilsa) is a very popular Bengali recipe of Hilsa fish steamed in a mustard paste, doi (yoghurt) and coconut paste. The best part of Bhapa Ilish is that it requires few ingredients and you don’t need to use a special technique to prepare this dish.
3. Muri Ghonto
This is one of the signature fish and rice dishes in Bengal. It is prepared with fish head, rice and potato chunks. It is a mushy side dish and is usually prepared with Rohu or Katla fish.
Shukto is a popular vegetable dish in Bengali cuisine usually served with rice. This famous Bengali curry is cooked with a variety of vegetables. Traditional Bengali meal mostly starts with rice and shukto or shuktoni. One vegetable that you can always find in this curry is ‘Bitter Gourd’.
5. Narkol Diye Mochar Ghonto
Another special dish that you must try is ‘Narkol Diye Mochar Ghonto’. It is a Bengali name of Banana Flowers with a Shredded Coconut recipe and a delicious but super easy one. If you know how to clean the banana flower then you are all set to enjoy this dish.
6. Aloo Posto
Aloo Posto is also a very popular dish that every Bengali love to eat. It is a classic example of how just a few ingredients can yield a creamy spiced potato dish. The key to cooking this dish is giving the poppy seeds enough time to soak in warm water. It will ensure they grind to a fine paste.
Bhaja literally means fried in Bengali. It could be anything from simple stir fry, deep fry or batter fries. Eggplant, Potatoes and pointed gourd (patol) are very common bhajas on Bengali platter. On special occasions, they also fry other seasonal vegetables like cauliflower, pumpkin, okra (Bhindi) or bitter gourd (Karola).
8. Narkol diye Chholar Dal
Narkel diye Cholar Dal
It is a special Bengali version of the chana dal and is prepared commonly in most Bengali households. This recipe is prepared by cooking chana dal with aromatic dried spices and a hint of fried coconut pieces, adding flavour to this already flavorful dish. Narkel Diye Cholar Dal is usually served with luchi or kochuri.
9. Korishutir Kochudi (Kachodi with peas as filling)
This is a deep-fried puffy bread stuffed with spiced green peas filling. Matarshutir kachori or Koraishutir kochuri along with dal and aloor dum is a traditional winter delicacy in each and every Bengali household.
10. Luchi-Alur Dom
Luchi Alur Dom
One of the favourite breakfast recipes of a Bengali household. Luchi is similar to puris and is served with alur dum or aloo dom, which is a spicier and more tangy version of the dum aloo.
Rice Pudding Bengali Style (Payesh)
This Bengali delicacy is a rice-based pudding made on several occasions such as baby showers, birthdays, house-warming ceremonies etc.
Bengali Chaler Payesh is prepared using Gobindobhog rice which has a pleasing aroma and buttery taste. This rice blends quite well with ghee, full cream milk, sugar and dry fruits to enhance the overall taste of this dessert. Mostly, Payesh is served after a proper Bengali meal.
Have you ever tried any of these dishes? Which one is your favourite?