A Bengali is stereotyped by three things- Football, Politics, and Food. A Bengali might choose between East-Bengal or Mohanbagan, Red or Green, but there is no choice on the food vs no food. If you are not a foodie, you are not a Bengali. Seeping in the tradition, I myself, am in awe of Bengali cuisines. Here, I am portraying a glimpse of a typical Bengali Sunday menu.
Photo from Flickr
On Sunday morning, there is no other alternative than Luchi-alur dum (poori and dum alo). Chholar dal is often an accompaniment. No Sunday breakfast is complete without a misti (sweet)- be it jilipi, or rosogolla, or shandesh or chomchom, Bengalis ache for a sweet tooth in the end.
Sunday lunch is the most awaited thing in the whole day, at least I eagerly wait for the noon. The heart-rendering smell from the kitchen which enthralls us since the morning finally can be savoured! To start with, Bengali meal offers something better as a starter. A Bengali meal system is very scientific because in an empty stomach bitter items work well. It is served in small quantities comprising neem or uchchhe (bitter gourd) boiled or fried along with potato. Shukto, a thick curry with vegetables and bitter gourd is also served as the first item. Shak, a preparation with leafy vegetables with mustard sauce is a massive hit starter. Then comes spanking white boiled rice, with dal.
Though fish is popular food item for Bengalis, they not only devour Non-veg items but they are voracious herbivores too. With dal, bhajai (fried item) is a must- bora (pakora), fried potatoes, sliced pumpkins, brinjal- any fried item can go with dal-bhaat. Torkari, (curry) is prepared with vegetable using various methods and varied spices. And then comes the Queen- fish! Bhetki, pabda, rui, pona, chingri- the name goes on, but to make your Sunday lunch special, Ilish (Hilsa) should be your take (during rainy season). Ilish bhapa and paturi are traditional items, absolutely loved by the Bengalis.
And when Queen’s near can the King be far behind? Not it’s not chicken- we Bengalis are mutton lovers. Kosha mangsho with spice and masala is our most favorite.
Next, it’s the time for chutney or tok. This special tangy and sweet delicacy is typical of Bengali cuisine. We have chutneys made of pineapple, tomato, tamarind, coriander-pudina, papaya, mango and at times even with some fish and their eggs! Unbelievable? It’s true.
If you are wondering that this is the end of our Sunday lunch, then let me remind you, who will eat the desserts? Mishti doi or payesh can be left out at all.
Again, a touch of science, sweet in the end, helps in digestion. So, how much you gorge on Ilish and mutton, you cannot be sick! This is the magic of Bengali meals. So, what are you waiting for, come to the City of Joy, and let’s dig a spoon together!