Just when I was starting to miss the delicious Bengali food that I tried during my recent visit to Kolkata, I get an invite for a Bengali Food Promotion at Deccan Pavilion, ITC Kakatiya. The essence of the festival was to showcase the mystery and beauty of the culinary art of Bengal for which Chef Dani from ITC Sonar Bangla was specially flown in to curate this quintessential cuisine from the revered land of Calcutta.
Before we could get started, Chef Dani briefed us about the festival where few of the age old recipes were revived and how the festival was curated to make sure that dishes from different parts of Bengal were included in the promotion. Started off with Kabiraji Cutlet – a bong favorite chicken cutlet coated and fried in egg that leaves a lot of fluffy texture. Next up was Aloor Chop (potato fritters) which apparently is the most popular Bengali snack. Both the snacks were very good and went well with the extremely strong mustard sauce which was as authentic as it could get.
Luchi with Aloor Tarkari
Luchi with Aloor Tarkari is a popular Bengali breakfast, was happy to see this feature as part of the spread. Luchi is a deep fried flat bread made of maida and Aloor torkari is plain potato curry made of very minimum ingredients. The end result of the pairing was absolutely heavenly. I also loved luchi paired with Golbari Kosha Mangsho – a specialty spicy dish of Bhuna Mutton that was apparently made famous by Golbari restaurant in Kolkata. The robust flavors of Kosha Mangsho along with succulent pieces of lamb was such that it deserved a second helping and was my personal favorite.
One of the other pairing that went well was steamed rice with the humble Dal Chandrachur – made of grated coconuts and mangodi, this was like the soul food that I always long for. Dal Bhaja Sukto is a very common Bengali lunch time format. Prepared with bitter gourd & commonly available vegetables along with mustard paste & milk, I tried it with luchi which was immediately corrected by the chef to be had with steamed rice and the result was super good.
Next up was Bhetki Macher Jhol that was done in tangy tomato gravy followed by Murgi Kehori Rosha that complimented the Chingri Prawn Pulao. The star of the mains was the Dwarakanath Bhat – sweetened rice dish that was unheard of which apparently Chef Dani had discovered the recipe in old books.
Chingri Prawn Pulao
When it comes to Bengali desserts, whether you have a sweet tooth or not hardly matters. The wide array of desserts on offer at the spread included Rosogolla, Mishti Doi, Malai Sandwich, Cham Cham, Nolen Gurer Sondesh and Patisapta. I sampled the Rosogolla, Mishti Doi and Nolen Gurer Sondesh and loved each of it. Would’ve loved to see the Nolen Gurer ice cream as part of the festival which is a rarity these days.
All in all, the Bengali Food promotion at ITC Kakatiya was indeed an awesome experience and with Chef Dani curating the festival, one couldn’t ask for more authentic preparations.
Thumbs up for this one !