The Oshiwara Bengali Food Trail
Followed up the Maharashtrian food walk with a Bengali one to learn more about my Bengali roots (my mom being Bengali).This one far away from home (Oshiwara) so it was to places I hadn't been to before.As always,Finely Chopped's walk was houseful.There were some people I had met before and some first-timers.Among the new were lawyers,a sports journalist and Kalyan's ex-boss and ex-junior from the marketing research field.This picture was taken by Kalyan and the pretty woman you see at the back is his wife Kainaz who loves Bengali food more than Parsi food!
It was raining when we reached Calcutta Club so we started with Jolkhabar or snacks while we waited for the others.One always looks for the Betki in Bong restaurants and we started off with it.For vegetarians, Beetroot was the substitute.
Cholaar Dal is Bengali comfort food but as gram doesn't agree with me,I had Alur Dom.Kalyan then described an easy way to make it at home.He told us about his recent trip to Delhi and its Bong settlement Chittaranjan Park
We tasted the Calcutta Biryani which was all about flavor.More like a pulao as it was light and devoid of rich masala that we see here. What Chinmay loved about it was the surprise element of finding a potato in it.Here's a link to the article Kalyan has written on biryanis.
We ended with the Kheer Patisapta (recommended by Kalyan's ex boss Mr Das) which was a crepe with coconut in rice kheer.Reminded me of something similar in Malvani cuisine called Patole.
And while we were leaving this first place, we spotted Kalyan helping himself to Roshogollas.In his defense,he then quickly announced the benefits of roshogollas to health.
It was now time to go for a walk.It was a typical Bengali walk.A short one.A hop,skip and jump to Bhojohori Manna
We had a Thala....a Bengali version of Thali available only in Mumbai.This was served in courses.I am sure conspiring Bong moms have something to do with the order of serving.You only get to have nonveg after finishing the veg.
The first thing to come to the table...a bowl with chillies and Gondhoraj Lebu (a lemon with the great aroma and great taste).Then they served rice to go with all the courses and Amporer Sharbat,a beverage made from roasted green mangoes
Then came the Shukto...a bitter dish with drumsticks,beans.potatoes,brinjal (aubergine) and karela or bitter gourd.The base was milk! I have learnt more about Bengali food from Kalyan and the book by Chitrita Banerjee that he lent me on Bengali food in various seasons.
Once more Bhekti made an appearance that day,this time as Bhekti Paturi.Steamed with mustard, wrapped in leaves.Yes,there is a lot of fried food in Bengali cuisine but there are dishes that are otherwise.Reminded us of the Parsi dish Patrani Macchi.Bengali mustard is called Kasundi and is easily available all over Mumbai.This has to be kept out in the sun to get better.We were told by Mr Bose,the owner,that top Indian cricketers carry it on their trips abroad! English Mustard is pungent but this was no less.
Mind you there was more that followed...but there's only that much that one can eat.
And after all that.......it was only right that we walk home