Every state in India would have something unique in its cuisine, which would not be available anywhere else across the country. Some bizarre food combinations, recipes which are unique to the region require to be re-visited by us.
Let me take you on a small journey of my discoveries of the recipes which are unique to our “City of Joy”.
Flavoured milk is like staple diet for a lot of people across the globe. But have you ever heard of Cola Milk- “Doodh-Cola” – it is a combination of chilled milk with our favourite Cola drink (Thumsup), served in earthen glasses and a combination- Kolkata speciality. The taste is quite nice and addictive when you can combine it with some hot samosas.
I have mentioned this must have Kolkata street food earlier but the combination of meat and curd is a unique. I have not really come across this combination as a snack available at a street corner. The meat which is minced and spiced up with onions, tomatoes and chillies, are first deep fried and then added to sweetened curd with some chat masala on top.
A Bengali “Chana Chur”, available at any dry snack shop in Kolkata combined with chopped onions, green chillies, peanuts, raw mango, lemon juice and masala is one of my favourite “snack on the way” to any destination. It is pocket-friendly and leaves you half full so that you can eat the next meal to your heart’s content.
Chanar Jilipi (Cottage Cheese Jalebi)
We have all heard of Indian Jalebi’s , a sweet which is deep fried swirl dipped in sugar syrup and served hot to pleasure your taste buds. This Bengali twist to the regular jalebi is made of cottage cheese (paneer) with lesser swirls but tastes delicious. Chanar Jilipi is made on special occasions in a traditional Bengali family and not available at many sweet shops.
Chana Jor Garam
This is my all-time favourite snack even today when I visit Kolkata. The memory of the vendors dressed in white dhoti, kurta and white cap, carrying a bamboo basket with all the ingredients, around their neck and asking you if you would want “Chana Jor Garam”. It’s basically cooked chickpea that have been flattened, fried, and seasoned with spices. Potato chips, green chillies, onions and lemon juice are added to the fried chickpea which turns it into a yummy snack.
Muri Ghonto/ Muri Bhaaja
These two are unique dishes of Kolkata .Muri Ghonto is “fish heads cooked with flavoured rice”. To get the authentic feel the fish heads have to be Rohu/Katla and the rice has to be “Govindo Bhog Chaal” –only available in Bengal. Muri Bhaaja are fish heads fried in mustard oil until they are crispy, served on the side with steamed rice.
These are a few dishes of Bengal which are unique to the region and the taste cannot be replicated in any part of the country.