In Bengal, no festival can go by without some heavy weight cooking and a big silver thali of all your favourites to savour from! And I being a true blue bong, couldn’t really escape this in the festive air. This post is here to chronicle all the mouth-watering home food that I ever made and served in a traditional thali, quite as, many would be enjoying today!
The traditional Bengali thali can be so very tempting! Its huge, lots of things to start and end with; and every dish is an absolute yum from start to end. A lot like the picture below.
But finishing a whole thali of thus in one meal, is definitely a difficult ask. This thali was served to me on my shadh (Godhbharai- baby shower). It started with something bitter, shukto- a mix vegetable curry made with all healthy vegetables like bitter gourd, raw banana, raw papaya, eggplants etc, and delicately flavoured with a special Bengal spice called randhuni.
Fried veggies and simple dal follows this, after which the two dishes of fish are eaten. Sweet chutney and a big fare of different kinds of desserts follow it. As I mentioned, it was a real treat for the whole family, and after tasting a bit of everything, you are done! To grace an occasion it was ok, but it definitely was not a simple home fare to be had more than once in a year!
The next comes a relatively lighter version of the last thali. The star attractions here were the awesome Dhokar Dalna- steamed lentil dumplings which are fried and put in a simple curry delicately flavoured with bay leaves, coriander and cumin paste; and Jhinge Posto- ridge gourd and potatoes cooked with poppy seeds paste.
My little one had a ball and blast on the day he was fed rice for the very first time- Annaprashan.
His tiny appetite was first quenched with a big spoon ful of Payesh (missing from this picture) - a rice pudding made with milk and delicately flavoured and sweetened with dates syrup (Khejur Gur). It was mishti-mukhe start for him to enjoy the big journey of being a bong foodie for all his life!
Now after talking about all of the most elaborate spreads of last year, lets look at the more humble home-made fare I dished out yesterday to welcome the big Bong new year- 1421.
It was a simple and easy to put together. The star attractions were the Kacha Aamer Mosala diye Chutney- raw mango hot and sweet pickle; and Murighonto- biryani made with Gobindo bhog rice (small grains but very flavourful) and fish head.
That chronicles a beautiful year filled with lots of great home-made bong food. It was fun and nostalgic to write it all down in this lovely post. Hope all of you had fun reading it as much as I did writing it down. So 1421, bring it on!! Shubho Nabo Barsho!!