West Bengal is the eastern state of India bounded by the Bay of Bengal from the south. The state is rich in heritage and culture. West Bengal is one of the smallest states of India, despite of being smaller in area it contributes the major portion of Indian agriculture. Rice is the leading crop here, as rice requires a large amount of irrigation and the state produces India’s big part of the rice harvest.
West Bengal is also known for its incredible literature, folk dramas, traditional music, and delicious Bengali cuisine. The rich legacy of the state’s literature is world-famous for its folk tails and the great authors named, Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay. They have not only contributed to Bengali literature but given their fair share of world literature also.
The two words Bengali and Thali are synonyms for each other because whenever the name of Bengal comes the first thing that comes to mind is tasty Bengali food, Rasogolla, Mishti Doi, Maach aar Bhaat and the list goes on. So, if you are curious about Bengali food and want to experience the traditional vibes of West Bengal then read the article further.
Bengali cuisine is the only traditionally severed multi-course cuisine in South Asia which is compared with the French style of serving cuisine, Service à la française. This food is the perfect combination of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Bengali food is highly influenced by the rule of Nawabs during the 13th century, by their light and fiery flavours. West Bengal is the land of “Maach aar Bhaat”, which means Fish and Rice. Being the two important dishes rice and fish are severed with every Bengali dish.
Bengali food is famous for its vibrant flavours, widespread sweets and confectionaries. The people of Bengal like to eat their meals course-wise, like Muri for breakfast, Chira Bhaja in snakes, Dal, Vegetable, Non-veg., Rich with some sweet and sour Chutney in lunch/dinner. Last comes the desert such as Rasogolla, Payesh, Sandesh and many more. Bengali food is culturally attractive and simply delicious.
The balance between essential ingredients and seasonings is the speciality of Bengali cuisine. The food is mainly consisting of Pancha Phutana (a blend of spices), Boiled Rice, Fresh Water Fish, and mostly cooked in mustard oil for maintaining its flavour and gentleness.
Some famous dishes of West Bengal
- Macher Jhol :-This dish is the favourite dish of Bengali people, commonly known as Bengali Fish Curry served with rice. Macher Jhol can be made from any fish but the traditional curry is cooked with Rohu fish (rui mach) or Hilsa fish (ilish mach). The curry has a thin texture but is highly flavoured with the spices like turmeric, ginger, chilli, cumin and coriander. And the fish is fried in mustard oil to retain its softness and taste.
- Jhal Muri :-It is the food famous on the streets of Bengal, the Bengali version of Bhel. Jhal Muri is rice flake flailed with mustard oil, spicy chutney, roasted peas and with chunks of coconut. It is a suitable snack that one can eat while travelling or moving around the city. The Dacre Lane in Kolkata is a popular spot for Jhal Muri. However, the lane is recognised as the best street food lane by World Health Organization (WHO).
- Sandesh :- It is a Bengali sweet literally means message in Hindi. Sandesh is made with milk or chenna(paneer), cardamom powder and sugar, unlike rasogulla it is dry and can be stored for the highest 2 days only. It is a soft and delicious piece of confectionery that melts the time it is kept in the mouth. Sandesh is a very important dish on occasions and festivals in West Bengal.
- Shukto :- This is a traditional vegetarian dish made on special occasions like marriage, birth ceremonies, Durga pooja and on family get-togethers. Shukto is one of the famous dishes of West Bengal and is liked by people of all age groups. The dish is made from potatoes, drumsticks, bitter gourd, sweet potatoes, raw papaya, flat beans and green plantains, with panch phutana and ground coconut milk. It is also known as Mixed Vegetable Stew.
- Luchi – Alur Dom :-It is another street food of Bengal, translated as maida puri (i.e., Luchi) and aloo dum or potato curry (i.e., Alur Dom). The dish is commonly made for breakfast on Sundays in households in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Odisha. Luchi – Alur Dom is a spicy and tangy dish, an idle blend of various spices with garlic and onion. The dish is prepared in different regions of India according to their choice of ingredients, generally called Puri Bhaji.
Famous cities of the state
- Kolkata :- It is the capital city of the state and one of the oldest cities in the country. The city is known for its famous Durga Pooja festivals, incredible cuisines, and historical buildings. Kolkata is the city of joy as well as a well-known destination for emerging talent in India. Hence, you can explore and experience the city.
- Siliguri :- The city lies in the foothills of the Himalayan ranges and is surrounded by many tea gardens. It is a picturesque destination on the bank of Mahananda River famous for its 3 T’s, Tourist, Tea, and Timber. This city accepts thousands of visitors every year during the winter seasons and is the most famous tourist spot in the state.
- Kurseong :- It is a small town near the city of Darjeeling, known as the Land of White Orchids. The town has mesmerizing views of the hill slopes covered with adoring white flowers. However, is a famous hill station of the state having various temples, waterfalls and Buddhist gompas to explore.
The food of West Bengal is highly flavoured, sweet and sour food made with rich spices and ingredients. A strong emphasis is given to rice as a staple with every dish served. The state is also famous for its beverages like Lachhi, Seven Colour-Tea, Date Juice, etc., known as Rosh. These are just pictures of some appetizing Bengali dishes. But there is a big fat menu of mouth-watering dishes in the state. Bengali food is made traditionally and secures its culture to date. Along with the food, the astonishing as well as incredible landscape of the state is the perfect place to spend your vacations.
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