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Contents
Various Food Preparations with Rice ..................................................................................4
Kolkata Biryani...........................................................................................................................4
Origin of Biryani ....................................................................................................................5
Origin of Kolkata Biryani (Dum Biryani):.................................................................7
How to cook Alu-Biryani of Kolkata:............................................................................9
Some of the Best Restaurants in Kolkata Serving Kolkata Biryani.............13
Khichuri........................................................................................................................................15
Origin of Khichdi..................................................................................................................15
Bengali khichuri ...................................................................................................................22
Sona Moong khichuri........................................................................................................22
Bhuni Khichuri....................................................................................................................23
Paila-Style Khichuri ..........................................................................................................24
Til Khichuri:.........................................................................................................................24
Malai Bhuni Kichuri: ........................................................................................................24
Khejurer Khichuri: ............................................................................................................24
Side dishes of Bengali Khichuri....................................................................................24
Labra.......................................................................................................................................24
Begun Bhaja .........................................................................................................................25
Beguni & Peyaji...................................................................................................................25
Ilish Bhaja.............................................................................................................................25
Alur Dom/ Bandhakopir Ghonto...................................................................................25
Chutney..................................................................................................................................25
Bhoger Khichuri....................................................................................................................26
Best Khichuri Restaurants in Kolkata .......................................................................27
Khichdi Khichri...................................................................................................................28
Tero Parbon..........................................................................................................................28
Thakroon ...............................................................................................................................28
Rajdhani Thali.....................................................................................................................28
The Bhoj Company.............................................................................................................28
Mumbai Local......................................................................................................................28
Monkey Bar ..........................................................................................................................28
Bangladeshi – Bhuna Khichuri ......................................................................................28
Khichdi – it’s Regional Variations in India.............................................................30
pg. 2
 North:.............................................................................................................................30
 South: .............................................................................................................................30
 East: ................................................................................................................................30
 West:...............................................................................................................................30
Some varieties of Regional Khichdi and their Recipes......................................31
Rajasthani Bajra Khichdi ................................................................................................31
Hyderabadi Khichdi ..........................................................................................................31
Keeme ki khichdi............................................................................................................31
Khichda ..............................................................................................................................31
Mixed Dal (Matar & Arhar Dal) Khichdi ...............................................................32
Festival Khichdis................................................................................................................32
Ven Pongal............................................................................................................................32
Sabu dana Khichdi..........................................................................................................32
Health Benefits of Khichdi ..............................................................................................33
Khichdi to Become the `Brand India Food'..............................................................34
Panta bhaat.................................................................................................................................35
Panta Ilish.................................................................................................................................37
Bengal’s Sweets ............................................................................................................................39
Who made Bengalis connoisseurs of sweets? ............................................................39
Origin of Sweets made of Channa....................................................................................39
Rasogolla......................................................................................................................................41
Origin of Rasogolla – Bengal vs Odissa .........................................................................41
Rasgulla Recipe.......................................................................................................................44
Ingredients of Rasgulla....................................................................................................44
How to Make Rasgulla .....................................................................................................44
Varieties of Rasogolla ..........................................................................................................45
Some famous Rasogolla shops in Kolkata ....................................................................45
Lyangcha ......................................................................................................................................48
Lyangcha’s Origin - Burdwan or Krishnanagar?........................................................49
Lyangcha Hub in Shaktigarh .............................................................................................51
Recipe of Lyancha..................................................................................................................52
Street Foods....................................................................................................................................54
Fuchka ...........................................................................................................................................54
Regional names of Fuchka..................................................................................................54
pg. 3
History of Fuchka...................................................................................................................55
Draupadi created Pani-puri ...........................................................................................55
Phulki in the Kingdom of Magadha.............................................................................56
Medicinal motive behind the Chaat Masala of Pain-puri...................................56
Bengal’s Fuchka......................................................................................................................57
Origin of Bengal’s Fuchka...................................................................................................57
How To Make Fuchka ...........................................................................................................58
Ingredients:..........................................................................................................................58
Method:..................................................................................................................................59
Bangladeshi Fuchka ..............................................................................................................60
Fuchka’s journey out of India & Bangladesh...............................................................61
New York...............................................................................................................................61
London....................................................................................................................................63
Jhalmuri ............................................................................................................................................66
Origin of Jhalmuri in Bengal..............................................................................................66
Jhalmuri as Street food in West Bengal ........................................................................68
Various styles of Jhalmuri in India.................................................................................70
Bhelpuri.................................................................................................................................70
The 3 Major Variations of Bhelpuri............................................................................71
Bangladeshi Jhalmuri ...........................................................................................................72
Jhalmuri’s journey outside India .....................................................................................76
London ......................................................................................................................................76
New York ...................................................................................................................................77
How to make Jhalmuri.........................................................................................................80
Ingredients ...........................................................................................................................80
Method ...................................................................................................................................81
Best Places to eat Bengal’s Jhalmuri ..............................................................................81
Kolkata...................................................................................................................................81
Delhi........................................................................................................................................83
pg. 4
Various Food Preparations with
Rice
Kolkata Biryani
Digha is most popular sea beach destination for Bengali
tourists. It is described as the ‘Brighton of the East’. Digha
Originally known as Beerkul, during Warren Hastings time,
was discovered in the late 18th century by the British. In 1923,
an English tourist John Frank Smith was charmed by the
beauty of Digha and started living here. His writings about
Digha slowly gave exposure to this place. After independence,
West Bengal’s chief minister Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy
developed Digha as a beach resort.
While fish lovers of West Bengal will feast at Digha with
seafood menus with Tiger Prawns, Bhetki, Pomfrets, Crab,
Shol, Tuna, Pabda etc we can see boards outside every road
side restaurant advertising about their speciality Biryani.
Some of the popular Biryani restaurants in Digha-New Digha
area are:
pg. 5
Dum Biryani House,
New Digha
Arsalan, New Digha Champion Biryani, New
Digha
Hyat Biryani and
Restaurant
Bengali’s prefernce for Biriyani is the most important factor in
the selection of menu – not only in the roadside take-away
stalls, nearly every restaurant in Digha and it’s neighbouring
Mandarmani, Tajpur, Shankarpur Biryani is in their menu.
Origin of Biryani
Biryani has link with two Persian words - Birian, which means
‘fried before cooking’ and Birinj, the Persian word for rice.
While our biryani is popularly associated with the Mughals,
there is some historical evidence to show that there were
other, similar rice dishes prior to the Mughal invasion.
One legend links Biryani with the Arab traders who were
frequent visitors to the southern Malabar coast of India. There
are records of a rice dish known as Oon Soru in Tamil
literature as early as the year 2 A.D. Oon Soru was said to be
made of rice, ghee, meat, turmeric, coriander, pepper, and bay
leaf, and was used to feed military warriors.
Another legend links Biryani with Turk-Mongol conqueror,
Timur Sha, who brought the precursor to the biryani with him
when he arrived at the frontiers of India in 1398. It is believed
that during the war campaign the food for the warrior’s in
pg. 6
Timur’s army was prepared by filling an earthen pot with rice,
spices and whatever meats were available and buring in a hot
pit. The pit was dug up before the food inside the pot was
served to the warriors.
The stories that link Biryani with our Mughal empire are also
interesting. Once Mumtaz Begam, Shah Jahan’s queen, visited
the army barracks and found the Mughal soldiers looking weak
and undernourished. She asked the chef to prepare a special
dish that combined meat and rice to provide balanced nutrition
to the soldiers and thus the biryani was created in the Mughal
dynasty!
The Nizams of Hyderabad and Nawabs of Lucknow were also
famous for their appreciation of the subtle nuances of biryani.
Their chefs were renowned the world over for their signature
dishes. These rulers too were responsible for popularising
their versions of the biryani – and mouth-watering
accompaniments like mirchi ka salan, dhanshak and baghare
baingan – in different parts of the country.
Traditionally, Biryani was cooked over charcoal in in earthen
pot. Across India there are different variations of Biryani -
Mughlai Biryani, Lucknow Biryani (also known ‘pukki’
Biryani), Bombay Biryani, Hyderabadi Biryani, Bangalorean
Biryani, Thalassery Biryani (one of India’s most loved
Biryanis), Moradabadi biriyani (now popular in Delhi).
pg. 7
Origin of Kolkata Biryani (Dum Biryani):
While most biryanis are known for their aromatic rice and
succulent meat, what sets Kolkata Biryani apart is the addition
of a surprising ingredient - potatoes. The tale goes back to the
year 1856 when Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the last King of Awadh,
was dethroned and stripped off his royal privileges by the
British and was exiled to Kolkata from his capital Lucknow.
The nawab sent his family to London to petition his case before
the Queen and the British Parliament. During the revolt of
1857, the Nawab was arrested and kept in Fort William for a
period of 26 months. After being released, he was given an
opportunity to live anywhere in the country, and he chose
Metiabruz on the outskirts of Calcutta. Here, the nawab built a
replica of his beloved Lucknow complete with grand Islamic
structures, a zoo of exotic animals, kabootarbaazi (pigeon-
flying), kite-flying, and of course, food from the royal kitchen.
pg. 8
On the outskirts of Kolkata, in Metiabruz, the Nawab rebuilt a replica of his
beloved capital
Sultan Khana, Metiabruz
Over the time, due to the scarcity of Nawab's money, his
indulgences were in a fix. Due to the money crunch, the
biryani became lighter with toning down of spices in the rice.
But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention - the
cooks decided to add a local variation to the Lucknowi Biryani.
Meat being expensive, the chef decided to add potatoes and
eggs instead to give contrast to the rice.
pg. 9
The inclusion of potatoes in the Biryani has had a significant
impact on its flavor profile. As the biryani was cooked in the
dam-pukht (slow oven cooking) style, where the lid is sealed
over the pot so the steam doesn’t go out, the potatoes absorb
the aromatic spices and meat juices, infusing them with a
burst of flavor. The
potatoes turn soft and
tender, complementing
the tender meat pieces
and blending seamlessly
with the fragrant rice.
The contrasting textures
of the meat, potatoes,
and rice create a
delightful gastronomic experience that has captured the hearts
and palates of food enthusiasts across generations.
The tuber had been brought to India by the Portuguese and was
considered a novelty since it was imported. It was also quite
expensive, though not as much as meat. In an interview,
Shahanshah Mirza, the great-great-grandson of the nawab,
clarifies that potatoes were used in making the royal biryani
not just because of a financial crunch, but because of the
nawab’s intense fascination for it.
How to cook Alu-Biryani of Kolkata:
Ingredients
Main Ingredients
 1 Kg Basmati rice or
long grain rice
 1200 gms chicken
 4 medium potatoes
 3 medium onions
 1/2 cup tokdoi or
curd
 4 tbsp milk
Masala
 2 tsp garlic paste
 1 1/2 tsp ginger paste
 1/2 Lemon (juiced)
 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli
powder
 3 drops rose essence
 1 1/3 tsp kewra water
 8-9 drops mitha attar
Biryani Masala
 1 tsp shah jeera
 1 tsp white
peppercorn
 25 green cardamom
 1 1/2 Mace or javitri
 1 1/2 inch cinnamon
stick
 1/4 nutmeg
pg. 10
 6-7 Hard-boiled eggs  A pinch of saffron
strand
 5 Bay leaves
 2-3 inch cinnamon
stick
 8-10 Cloves
 10 Green cardamom
or elaichi
 1 tsp turmeric
powder
 10-12 tbsp ghee
 1/2 cup refined oil
 Salt (as required)
 50 gms bay leaves
(for spreading on the
bottom)
 3 1/2 tsp biryani
masala
 1 tsp kebab chini or
all spice
 5 Cloves
Method
1. First, take medium to large size potatoes, wash it and peel it out first.
Then cut into halves or four into pieces according to its size and boil it or
cook in a pressure cooker.
2. Once the potatoes completely cool down then heat a pan with 1/2 cup of
ghee and half cup of oil on medium flame. Then fry the potatoes until it
gets golden brown in colour. In the meantime, take the same pan used for
frying potatoes, to fry onions.
Prepare Bengali Biryani Masala:
1. First, take a pan with shahi jeera, white peppercorn (shah morich),
cardamom (or elaichi or elach), mace (or javitri or joitri), cinnamon stick,
nutmeg or Jaifal, kabab china or all spice and cloves. Dry roast on a low
flame.
2. When the aroma starts to come out from the spices then turn off the heat.
Cool it down and then ground all spices by using a grinder to make a
powdered form of it. Bengali biryani masala is ready to use in this recipe.
Prepare Chicken:
1. Now take the chicken pieces (curry cut), first, clean and wash it properly.
For making biryani we always choose to keep the pieces little big in size,
as It should be 4 to 6 pcs of whole chicken.
pg. 11
2. Take a bowl with 1/2 cup of curd or tokdoi, then add 1 tsp of kashmiri
chilli powder and and 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix it well together.
3. Once the mixing is done then add it to the chicken pieces, then add 2 tsp
go garlic paste, 1 1/2 tsp ginger paste and mix it well together.
4. Add 1 1/2 tsp of powdered biryani masala(prepared earlier) and mixed it
nicely with the chicken.
5. Now squeeze 1/2 lemon(medium size) to mix its juice for marinating the
chicken pieces.
6. Lastly, add a handful of fried onions and mix it together. Now marinate
chicken for at least 45 mins to 1 hour.
7. After 45 minutes to 1 hour, take the same pan used for frying onion, place
it on medium flame, then put the marinated chicken to the pan. Let it
cook.
8. After 5 mins turn down the pieces and cook it for 10 minutes by covering
the pan with a lid.
9. Again turn the chicken pieces and cook it for the next 8-10 minutes, but
don’t cover it then. I don’t add water to it, but you may add a little if you
wish to. Turn off the heat when the gravy of this chicken will mostly dry
up.
Preparing Rice for Biryani:
1. Take 1 kg basmati or long grain rice, wash it gently for 5-6 times and then
soak it up for at least 30 minutes.
2. After 30 minutes, take a big vessel with its 3/4 of water, place it on high
flame. Add salt, refined oil in it with bay leaves, green cardamoms,
cloves, cinnamon sticks(break into 3-4 pieces). Let the water boil.
3. When the water starts boiling then strain the soaked rice and add it to the
water. Let the rice boil in water.
4. While cooking the rice must check it frequently as rice can not be cooked
more than 80 percent. Then turn off the heat and immediately drain the
starch from the rice.
5. Then you may spread the rice in some plates and completely cool it down.
This procedure will prevent the rice from overcooking. Once the rice
totally cools down then keep it aside.
Prepare Saffron Milk:
1. Take warm milk in a bowl, add a pinch of saffron strands or kesar or
zaffran and let it soak for 15-20 minutes.
2. After 15 minutes, when saffron strands get soft and almost leave its color
in milk, then first use your fingertips to rub the strands to release more
color from it. Even you may use a little saffron color if the strands don’t
leave a strong strain into the milk.
3. Then add kewra or Keora water and 3 drops of rose essence one by one.
pg. 12
4. Lastly add, 8-9 drops of mithaattar (not more than that) to the milk, and
mix it well. Keep it aside for using it later.
Assemble Kolkata Biryani:
1. Take a thick bottom wide mouth vessel. First, make it dry, then first
spread the bay leaves in the bottom of the vessel.
2. First spread 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick layer of rice on the bay leaves.
3. Then place two chicken pieces and three pieces of aloo on the first layer
of rice. Mainly used leg pieces, though that’s not mandatory but you may
use breast pieces too. Then add 3-4 tbsp of chicken gravy on the rice and
chicken pieces.
4. Now first sprinkle 1/2 tsp biryani masala all over the layer. Then sprinkle
3-4 tsp of essence or flavour added saffron milk all over the layer.
5. Next, sprinkle 2-3 tsp of ghee from the top of the layer. Lastly, sprinkle a
handful of crispy fried onion on the layer and half tsp of salt. The first
layer is complete.
6. Then add rice from the top to completely cover. Then again assemble the
next layer with the same process described just before. Again cover the
second layer with white rice and make the third layer in the same way.
7. Lastly, cover the last layer with an ample amount of rice to make sure
nothing can be visible from the top.
8. Then end up the assembling process by sprinkling 3-4 tsp of ghee, a pinch
of biryani masala(not more than that) from the top. Lastly add salt and
the hard-boiled eggs on the top of the rice and close its lid.
Put Biryani on Dum:
1. Place the biryani vessel on the
lowest heat of the oven. And
place another pan on the top of
the biryani vessel full of hot
water.
2. It’ll take a maximum of 30
minutes-45 minutes to be
perfectly done. Or when the
outer side and the lid of the
vessel will be so hot that you
cannot touch it also, that indicates your biryani is done.
3. Then turn off the heat. Kolkata special chicken biryani is ready to serve,
serve it with a side dish, or just with salads.
pg. 13
Some of the Best Restaurants in Kolkata Serving
Kolkata Biryani
Located in Plot-1 Phase-3, Kasba
Industrial Estate, Anandapur,
Manzilat’s Fatima’s biryani
(Awadhi Cuisine) is the most iconic.
She is a direct descendant of the
Nawab of Lucknow Wajid Ali Shah and
is born to Kolkata’s oldest Shia Muslim
family.
Zam Zam, Park Circus - They
have a lighter version of the biryani,
where the meat is really well-cooked
and luscious, loaded with flavours, but
it’s not spicy. I love how they cook
their meat as well. Their beef biryani
and beef malai is also very good.
The Bengal Club on Russel Street
- Every Saturday, Bengal Club makes
a batch of some of the best biryani
for its members and their guests , but
it's only available during lunch on
that one day of the week. It's only
available for lunch, and for this plate
you have book in advance.
Shiraz Golden Restaurant in
Park Street is among the oldest
biryani joints in Kolkata, and also
among the best-known. “Their biryani
is extremely delicate. Chef
Shammuddin, a direct descendant of
Wajid Ali Shah’s royal kitchen created
the recipe of what we call “Shiraz-e-
Biriyani.
Aminia, New Market, established
in 1929. Their biryani-chap and mutton
pasinda kebab combination, are one of
the best in town. The restaurant has
branches in various parts of the city,
including Barrackpore, Rajarhat,
Golpark and more.
Dada Boudi Restaurant,
Barrackpore started out in the
suburbs of Kolkata back in 2001 or
2002. They gained popularity
because the meat would be very big
pieces (180-200gm) and the potatoes
are really tender, absorbing all the
flavours from the rice and meat.
pg. 14
Arsalan, started in 2002, The original
store is in Park Circus; the one in Chinar
Park makes the best biryani
Popular Mughlai dine den from
Mumbai, Kareeem’s Kolkata
opened their first outlet in Sector V,
Salt Lake in 2017. Kareem’s Special
Mutton Handi Dum Biryani: A crowd
pleaser across both outlets, this
biryani is full of flavour and aroma.
Finished off in a clay pot, it has
tender mutton falling off the bone
along with our Calcutta fave aloo,
and a boiled egg.
Oudh 1590, Deshapriya Park Road,
Kolkata - Ambience and music gives a
Nawabi feel but the room was very
cramped. Their Awadhi Special
Mutton Handi Biryani, Gaulati kebab,
Tangri Kabab are superb - simply out
of the world.
Unlike other Indian biryanis, which are eaten with salan or
raita, the Kolkata biryani is a meal in itself and needs no
accompaniment. Many, however, like the combination of
biryani and chaap—slow cooked meat, in a luscious gravy. The
beauty of the Kolkata biryani is that it feels very light, but it
actually isn’t. Making it takes an incredible amount of time
and effort, not including the time needed to hunt down all the
exotic stuff. But the flavours never overwhelm you.
pg. 15
Khichuri
Khichuri as the Bengalees titled it, called ‘Khichdi’ in most
other states, is typically cooked from rice and some variety of
lentil with masala for taste and flavor. ‘Khichdi’ is consumed
four companions – pickle or ghee (clarified butter), curd, and
‘papad’ and ghee. Perhaps, the joy of eating ‘khichdi’ with
‘ghee’ can be understood only by Indians. The name khichdi
comes from the Sanskrit word khiccā, which means a dish of
rice and lentils.
A plate of Bengali Khichuri
Origin of Khichdi
Khichdi, a warm bowl of rice and lentils, simmered to
perfection and subtly seasoned. The name khichdi comes from
the Sanskrit word khiccā, which means a dish of rice and
lentils. This seemingly modest concoction has a history as rich
and diverse as the Indian subcontinent itself. Historian
Mohsina Mukadam has described khichdi as "the most ancient
food in India, yet one that has hardly changed over the years."
An Epic Dish
pg. 16
It's in the Indian epic Mahabharata, where the earliest
reference to khichdi can be found. During their exile, Draupadi
is said to have fed the Pandavas khichdi. Additionally, a grain
of rice from it swallowed by Lord Krishna, made a starving and
enraged Rishi Durvasha lose his hunger when he and his
followers dropped in unexpectedly for lunch.
Khichdi also finds a mention in
Sudama's story. A friend of Lord
Krishna, Sudama, went to meet
him in Dwarka. He was carrying
two potlis (bundles), each
holding khichdi and roasted
gram, respectively. The former
is snatched by a monkey, but
Sudama somehow manages to take a part of the other to
Dwarka, where Krishna eats some of the gram and bestows
blessings on his friend.
Krusaranna in Kamika agama
Khichdi is one of the oldest known Indian dishes, as we can
find traces of Khichdi as Krusaranna in Kamika agama, the
foremost scripture that came out of the Sadyojata face of
Sadashiva, around 2nd century text. It is believed that the
scripture was directly uttered by Lord Shiva to Devi and it is
the root of the divine culture ensconced in the Hindism. In its
chapter 6 verse 30 – 59 talks about various dishes and
pg. 17
methods of preparation and offering to gods. Krusaranna is
said to be evolved to today’s Khichdi, Krusarannawas prepared
with sesame seeds, mung beans, salt and black pepper and a
certain quantity of rice. There are two more variations
mentioned in the chapter. Cooked rice mixed with mung beans
is called Mudganna and cooked rice, pepper, turmeric powder,
cumin and mustard seeds are used to prepare a dish known as
Haridranna. These are three possible variations of Khichdi as
mentioned in the agama.
Ancient Civilisation of Egypt
Khichri is considered to be the ancestor of Egypt's national
dish, koshary, which is made with rice, lentils and macaroni.
"There's no doubt that the Egyptian koshary's ancestor is in
fact the Indian khichri," says Clifford Wright, an American
food writer and author of several cookbooks. The name and
the ingredients are similar, he says. And khichri "is similar
to mujaddara (another Middle Eastern comfort dish with rice
and lentils), which can be traced back to the 10th century."
Although it's likely that koshary got its macaroni much later,
from the Italians, he adds.
Early Visitors to India
Rice was an unknown and distinctive grain to early European
visitors. During his war in India (305-303 BC), the Greek
monarch Seleucus reported that rice with pulses is particularly
popular among the people of the Indian subcontinent.
Aristobulus, one of Alexander’s comrades, wrote around 327
B.C. ‘Rice is an unusual plant that is grown in a flooded area.”
Strabo (64 or 63 BC – 24 AD), a Greek geographer,
philosopher, and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the
transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman
Empire, notes that Indian food mainly consisted of rice
porridge and a beverage made of rice, presently called arak.
pg. 18
Seleucus Alexander Aristobulus Strabo
Khichdi’ was mentioned by travellers like as Ibn Battuta (AD
1300), Abdul Razzak (AD 1400), Afanasiy Nikitin (AD 1400)
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1600) and Francisco Balzac (AD
1800) in their works. "Munj (moong beans) is boiled with rice,
then buttered and eaten. They called it kishri, and they ate it
for breakfast every day.” This is what Moroccan scholar and
explorer Ibn Battuta, who travelled to the Indian subcontinent
in the 14th century, wrote in his chronicles after getting a
taste of khichdi. Afanasy Nikitin, said that ‘khichdi’ was also
served to horses. A Scottish recipe for kedgeree is found in a
1790 book by Stephena Malcolm and uses cayenne pepper.
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a 17th-century French gem merchant
and traveller, who came to India six times, noticed khichdi
being prepared with green lentils, rice, and ghee and referred
to it as "a peasant's evening meal."
The Mughals
It was immensely popular among the Mughals, particularly
Jahangir. Akbar, a frugal eater, was also very fond of khichdi.
According to food historian Pushpesh Pant, Akbar had it served
to Prince Salim when he returned victorious from a campaign
in Gujarat, and it was given the name lazizaan (the delicious)
in the Imperial kitchen.
A story about Akbar's courtier Abul Fazl and his connection to
khichdi is intriguing. Every day, Fazl used to get 30 maunds
(1200 kg) of khichdi cooked in Emperor’s kitchen. Anybody
passing by his house could relish it. According to the Ain-I-
pg. 19
Akbari, written in 1590 A.D., the ‘Khichdi’ cooked in Emperor
Akbar’s kitchen contained equal amounts of rice, split mung
lentils, ‘ghee,’ and a tiny amount of spices. The crucial thing to
remember is that the ‘ghee’ used in it was sourced from the
Haryana region of Hisar.
The story Birbal’s Khichdi is used for the children as a lesson
for appreciating the deserving people and their hard work.
Once Akbar asked Birbal, “Tell me Birbal! Will a man do
anything for money?” When Birbal said, “Yes”, the Emperor
ordered him to prove it. The next day, Birbal came to the court
along with a poor brahmin who was ready to do anything for
the sake of money.
It was the peak of winter season and the water was freezing.
The Emperor ordered the brahmin to stand inside the frozen
pond all through the night if he wanted money. The poor
brahmin agreed and kept standing the whole night inside the
pond, shivering badly. Next morning, he came to the durbar to
receive his reward.
The Emperor asked, “Tell me something! How could you stand
in the freezing cold water all through the night?” The innocent
pg. 20
brahmin replied, “Huzoor, I could see a faintly glowing light
coming from your palace, a kilometre away. Looking at that
light gave me imaginary warmth and strength to keep standing
in the water.”
Akbar declined to pay the brahmin his reward saying that he
had got warmth from the light and this was cheating. The poor
brahmin went away empty handed. Birbal tried to say
something in the favour of the poor brahmin but the Emperor
refused to listen to him.
Soon after, Birbal stopped coming to the durbar and sent a
messenger to the king stating that he would come to the court
only after he has cooked his khichdi.
When Birbal did not come to the court for five days, the
Emperor himself went to Birbal’s house to see what he was
doing. Birbal had lit the fire and kept the pot of khichdi one
metre away from it. Akbar asked him “How will the khichdi get
cooked with the fire one metre away? Are you in your senses,
Birbal?” Birbal replied, “O’ Jahapanah! If it is possible for a
person to receive warmth from a light that was a kilometre
away, then it should also be possible for me to cook this
khichdi a metre away from the fire.” Akbar understood his
mistake. He called back the poor brahmin and rewarded him
with gold coins.
Emperor Jahangir was so fond of a spicy khichdi adaptation
(enriched with pistachios and raisins - Gujarati variant of
pg. 21
khichdi,) that he named it “lazeezan” (which translates to “the
delicious”)! Jahangir, who used to eat dry fruits, mutton and
various types of delicious dishes, would say to his cooks. ‘Take
away these dishes. Today, I will eat Lazeezan.
The Mughal era witnessed ‘khichdi’ taking on many forms.
Even Aurangzeb, who rarely paid attention to food, was fond of
the Alamgiri Khichdi, a spin-off featuring fish and boiled eggs.
He used to have Khichdi during Ramzaan. Later. during the
colonial era, this version of khichdi would go on to be called
kedgeree by the British who took this recipe back to their
country. By the 19th century, kedgeree had become a
sophisticated breakfast/brunch dish in England that continues
to remain popular even now. Bahadur Shah Zafar enjoyed
eating Moong-ki-Dal Khichdi so much that the Dal came to be
known as ‘Badshah Pasand’.
British era
Like all good ideas, khichri, too, seems to have spread to other
parts of the world. The British liked it so much that they took
it back home and created their own version – kedgeree, the
popular breakfast dish made with cooked, flaked fish
(traditionally smoked haddock), boiled rice, parsley, hard-
boiled eggs, curry powder, butter or cream, and occasionally
sultanas (a seedless grape variety). Lentils were omitted as the
British were known to dislike them. A Scottish recipe for
kedgeree is found in a 1790 book by Stephena Malcolm and
uses cayenne pepper.
Khichdi made its way to Queen Victoria too. She tasted it when
her Urdu tutor, Munshi Abdul Karim, offered her some. But she
fancied masoor ki dal mixed with rice as an accompaniment.
This is how the lentil came to be known as "Malika Masoor"
(Queen’s Red Lentil).
pg. 22
"The Indian khichri becomes the Anglo-Indian kedgeree ... in
the 17th century," says Clifford Wright, an American food
writer and author of several cookbooks "Then it jumps across
the Atlantic to New England, where it's made with rice, curry
powder, and fresh cod," he says. By the nineteenth century,
kedgeree evolved into a sophisticated breakfast/brunch dish in
England. It is still popular today.
Bengali khichuri
Sona Moong khichuri
Every Bengali mom can brighten up a rainy day with this
khichuri made with bhaja moong dal. Often made as bhog or an
offering during Durga, Lakshmi or Saraswati Puja, this rice and
lentil dish is akin to risotto in global parlance. When not
prepared as bhog, onions can be added to this dish to make it
more sumptuous. It is both nutritious and light on the stomach.
Since moong dal is easily digestible, it is commonly had in
Bengali households as a relief food during stomach ailments. The
khichuri is a hot favorite of Bengalis, especially when it is
raining. The Bengali khichuri is generally paired with labra (a
mixed vegetable dish), brinjal fry or fish fry. Here's the Bengali
khichuri recipe.
pg. 23
Some more varieties of Bengali Khichuri are:
Bhuni Khichuri
A richer version of the plain khichuri, it is made with Gobindo
Bhog rice, moong dal, hot spices, bay leaves and ghee. Considered
more of a polao in the family of khichuri, it is stir fried, a step
involving roasting of the dal and frying the rice. “Bhuni khichuri,
as it's often referred to, is a misnomer. Bhuni is a colloquial term
made famous by the east Indians,“ said chef Sambit Banick. Often
raisins and cashews are added to this khichuri that lends to it a
distinct taste.
Masoor Daler Khichuri
Any kind of rice can be mixed with masoor dal (red lentils) to
make this khichuri, which has a semi-solid consistency. Add to that
turmeric powder, green chillies, ghee, round onions and fresh
tomatoes. Considered `amish' or non-veg because of the mix of red
lentils and onions, the khichuri is commonly had during monsoon
days.
pg. 24
What goes best with it? Ilish Bhaja,
of course!
Paila-Style Khichuri
A combo of sticky rice, any variety of lentils, onions, ginger and
garlic, saffron, hot spices, this khichuri is made with shrimps,
sausages or small chunks of any meat and chicken stock. “It's a
fusion food, which is fast gaining popularity. It is also my
favourite as I can experiment with the meat” said chef Rongon
Niyogi. He added that the khichuri is nutritious and can be treated
as a wholesome meal.
In Bengal, we can find many other versions of the Kichuri - such
as:
Til Khichuri: made with sesame seed paste and
saffron,
Malai Bhuni Kichuri: made with coconut milk and bak-
tulsi variety of rice,
Khejurer Khichuri: made syrup-soaked dates, nuts and thick
cream) were being fine-tuned.
Side dishes of Bengali Khichuri
Labra : It is a stir fried mixed vegetable recipe, that tops the list
of sides dishes with Khichuri
pg. 25
Begun Bhaja: Portions of Brinjal cut into round or long slices,
then fired with some simple spices. The skin is crispy and the
flesh remains soft and plump.
Other fired Veggies: Alu (Potatoe) Bhaja, Lau (Gourd) Bhaja,
Kumro (Pumpkin) Baja
Labra Begun Bhaja Alu Bhaja/ Kumro Bhaja
Beguni & Peyaji : These are called telebajas - cut pieces of these
vegetables, dipped in thick batter of Besan (Gram flour) with
some spices, then firied in Mustard Oil.
Ilish Bhaja: During monsoons, no bhaja-bhuji can compete with
fried Hilsa served with a drizzle of Hilsa flavoured oil as a side
dish of Khichuri.
Alur Dom/ Bandhakopir Ghonto: These tradition bengali veg
preparations goes very well with Khichuri.
Chutney: Tomato chutney is must as a cooked dessert with
Bengali Kichuri.
Beguni & Peyaji Ilish Bhaja Tomato chutney
pg. 26
Bhoger Khichuri
Once every year, Maa Durga comes down from her heavenly
abode to visit her parents for four days. She comes fully armed,
atop her lion, and along with her four famous children. In this
great festival of Maa Durga, why Bengalis offer her a humble
broth of rice and lentils, (khichuri)?
According to Markandeya Purana, spring was the time to worship
Durga. Durga puja was, not surprisingly, also called Basanti puja.
That was changed to autumn when the goddess was first
worshipped on a grand scale by Bengal zamindars of the late 16th
century. They probably understood that the Devi could become a
goddess of the masses if only worshipped at the right time.
In eastern India, autumn is the season of blue skies, golden
harvests, happy hearts and prosperity. On the agrarian calendar,
it is also the time for “nabanna utsab” or thanksgiving for “new
rice,” until the commencement of winter. The one-pot dish of
khichdi, as the prasad of the goddess, symbolises veneration for
the first fruits of agrarian labour—the newly harvested rice and
grain.
Khichdi as Maa Durga’s bhog could have yet another meaning; as
protection against diseases. Spring was for long the season of
deadly pox epidemics in east India. Similarly, autumn was
marked by cholera outbreaks. A light digestible food like khichdi
has always been at the heart of traditional nutritional healing:
for fast recovery during illnesses, for balancing all the three
“dosha” (vatta, pitta, kapha) of Ayurveda and for providing
protection against infections and diseases. According to Charaka
Samhita, khichdi is both cooling and drying, it rests the digestive
system, prevents ulcers and acidity, improves the liver. No
wonder, it has been called a detox food, that cleanses the body.
pg. 27
Khichdi lights up the digestive energy (agni), allowing the body
to assimilate food while getting rid of the b toxins (ama).
This everyday staple food crops up throughout Indian mythology.
One such story is about God Shani’s love for khichdi made with
black lentils. It is said that his mother, Goddess Chhaya,
performed extreme penance when he was in her womb, going
without food and water for days, and practising severe austerity
under the blazing sun. This made the baby in the womb dark, but
not before he inherited great powers due to his mother’s
penance. For this reason, it is believed that Shani loves dark-
coloured foods, especially khichdi!
Best Khichuri Restaurants in Kolkata
pg. 28
Khichdi
Khichri
1/107, Metropolitan
Cooperative Housing Society,
Beliaghata
Serves more than 25 varieties
of Khichdi in earthen pots
along with pickles and papad
Cost for two : INR 200
Tero Parbon 49 C, Purna Das Road,
Hindustan Park
Serves authentic Bengali
flavoured simple khichdi with
a spoonful of ghee
Cost for two : INR 200
Thakroon P 411/23 B, Hemanta
Mukhopadhyay Sarani,
Hindustan Park
Serves a different khichdi
combo that includes a portion
of khichuri with brinjal
fritters, scrambled eggs and
chutney
Cost for two : INR 120
Rajdhani Thali 21, Park Street Serves authentic Rajasthani
flavoured khichdi with curry,
papad and pickle
Cost for two : INR 115
The Bhoj
Company
30 A, free school street, New
market area
Serves Veg Bhuna khichdi and
Bhuna Khichdi with mutton
with side dishes like - aloo
bhaja, prawn cutlet, bhetki
fish fry
Cost for two : INR 120
Mumbai Local 19, Ballygunge road Serves multi grain khichdi
with papad, chutney
Cost for two : INR 295
Monkey Bar 6, Camac Street The butter chicken khichdi is
the best non-veg khichuri
served in Kolkata
Cost for two : INR 440
Bangladeshi – Bhuna Khichuri
Khichuri is a very popular one-pot meal in Bangladesh. There
are different kinds of varieties that are cooked and relished in
different parts of the country. In Bangladesh Khichuri is either
Veg or Non-veg using either moong dal (yellow lentil) or
pg. 29
masoor dal (red lentil). while moong dal khichuri is thick in
consistency, the masoor dal khichuri is runny. Both are
popular, both are highly delectable.
Coming to Bhuna Khichuri (also known as Bhuni Khichuri) is
different. Bhuna Khichuri can be prepared with vegetables of
choice (the vegetarian version) or with chicken, mutton or
beef.
The cornerstone of the dish is it’s spices - green cardamom,
black cardamom, cloves, a hint of nutmeg, mace, and black
pepper. These spices are ground to a fine powder to infuse the
dish with an intricate layering of flavors. In place of butter,
mustard oil and ghee is used. The addition of thinly sliced
onions caramelized to perfection, and a selection of whole
spices including shah jeera, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and
bay leaves are used for it’s deep aromatic flavour. Fried
cauliflower floret and peeled potato cubes are the only
vegetable used in traditional Bhuna Khichuri.
For No-Veg Khichuri, the meat is marinated, then sauted in
Marinated oil with fried onion slices, till the meat is soft.
The sautéed meat mixed with rice and lentils is then boiled for
10 minutes before adding fried onions and ghee and then
cooked for another 20 minutes.
Veg - Bhuna Khichuri Beef – Bhuna Khichuri
pg. 30
Khichdi – it’s Regional Variations in India
As ‘khichdi’ journeyed across India, it adapted and evolved,
taking on regional flavors and characteristics. In the:
 North:
Pistachio/nut-laden Awadh khichdi was Royal khichdi,
Haryanvi khichri (made with bajra),
Kashmir’s sacrificial khichdi,
 South:
Tamilnadu’s Pongal variations (an array of aromatic
renditions),
Karnataka’s flavourful bisi bele bhat,
Kerala’s Onam Sadhya Kichadi,
 East:
Bengal’s niramish khichuri,
Odiya adahengu khechidi,
 West:
the Parsi bharuchi vaghareli khichdi (made using marinated
and fried Bombay duck),
Rajasthani khichdi (made with bajra)
Khichdi ke chaar yaar- dahi, papad,
ghee aur achaar’.
pg. 31
Some varieties of Regional Khichdi and their
Recipes
From serving it as a baby’s first meal or Durga Puja’s bhog (food,
that is first offered to a deity) to an easily digestible and nutritious
meal for a sick person, khichdi is part of diverse occasions in the
Indian culture. Based on this diversity of the same food, people
started using the phrase:
“Kya Khichdi paka rahe ho?” which means How many schemes
are you making?
Here are some varieties of khichdi from various parts of the
country and their recipes.
Rajasthani Bajra Khichdi
The most popular Rajasthani khichdi is made of bajra and served
with curd. Below is the recipe for the Rajasthani bajra khichdi,
which is eaten across the state. Curd and pickle are its best
companions.
Hyderabadi Khichdi
Keeme ki khichdi
The imperial chefs of Hyderabadi Nizams had created the unique keeme ki khichdi — a spice-laden mix
of rice, lentils and minced meat that was served with sour and soupy khatta.
Khichda
A famous delicacy in Hyderabad, prepared especially during Eid,
khichda is a mixture of lentils and meat. A nonveg khichuri, it is
often made with beef and is famous in the Metiabruz and
pg. 32
Kidderpore areas. In Kolkata, the khichuri is reminiscent of the
Lucknow cuisine brought to the city by Wajid Ali Shah and is made
with short grain rice, stock of the beef and bone marrow et al.
Robust spices are added to parboiled rice and cooked on slow
steam.
Tahiri
A veg version of khichda, tahri too is of Hyderabadi origin and is
often thought to be a vegetarian's answer to biryani. Tamarind
and whole spices are used in tahri to add to its taste. It gained
popularity, as khichda, for long, was not accepted by the Hindus.
North Indian Khichdi
Moong dal khichdi
The moong dal khichdi has been a caring friend for people in the
North whenever anyone is unwell. Easy to digest and nutritious,
it tastes best served hot with pickle and papad.
Mixed Dal (Matar & Arhar Dal) Khichdi
Matar dal, mixed with any rice, tomatoes and ginger-garlic paste,
must be tempered in cumin seeds and dry chillies with a 50-50
consistency. Arhar dal khichuri is made in the same process, but
what brings to it a distinct taste is the addition of coriander
leaves. Mixed dal khichuri is yet another form of the comfort food,
which is more popular in north India. Made with egg plants and
ladies fingers, this khichuri draws its taste from kasuri methi, a
must for making it. Ghee, ginger-garlic paste and onion paste are
the other ingredients for this variety of khichuri.
Festival Khichdis
Ven Pongal
The king of the South! Ven Pongal is the savoury version of the
famous Pongal. Curry leaves and cashews, it is one dish no one
can say no to. It is one of the popular Naivedyam foods offered to
the Gods. Ven Pongal recipe is given below.
Sabu dana Khichdi
In the late 1800s, the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore was going
through a major famine. The then king Ayilyam Thirunal Rama
pg. 33
Varma, and his brother Vishakham Thirunal Maharaja, who
succeeded him, realised that the starchy tuber could help revitalise
the population. But people were hesitant. Not enough was known
about this strange tuber, and many were unsure about whether it
was safe to eat. To help people trust the new food, Vishakham
Thirunal Maharaja ordered that tapioca be cooked and served to
him to eat.
Then, in the aftermath of the Second World War, tapioca truly
became a saving grace. In the midst of a rice shortage in the
kingdom, it grew popular as a cheap and filling substitute. Today,
Sabudana Khichdi is a popular dish in parts of Western India such
as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, & Gujarat, usually
prepared during fast made during Navratri, Shivratri or Ekadashi.
This Khichdi is made from soaked Sabudana or Sago or Tapioca
Pearl. It’s preparation time is very long, since Sabudana needs 2-3
hours of soaking time in water before they are ready for cooking.
One key ingredient of this dish is a bit of milk. This festival special
is sticky in consistency. To turn it into a filling meal, one can add
peas and other vegetables, along with green chillies, ginger and
turmeric powder.
Health Benefits of Khichdi
 Khichdi is a balanced meal packed with carbohydrates,
proteins, dietary fibre, vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium,
Phosphorus and Potassium.
 Meal for sick person – since it is easy to digest.
 It is Good for Heart – since less oil is used in it’s preparation.
 It is suitable for kids, weight loss and diabetic patients since
it is Gluten free and easy for digestion. People with loose
motion or stomach upset can get some relief.
 Since turmeric is used in Khichdi, it is anti-inflammatory and
aids healing cough and cold.
 Combination of Daal makes Khichdi makes it protein rich
food.
pg. 34
Khichdi to Become the `Brand India Food'
Bengalis always considered Khichuri to be their own!? But now, it
seems like everyone else in the country is under the same
impression. Khichuri is getting prominence as a nationally
important dish or `Brand India Food'.
For long, it has stood for sanctity and devotion when transformed
into the sublime bhog. In its watery variety, it has been the
comfort food for those suffering from stomach ailments and on
rainy days, when combined with ilish bhaja, it has given one the
experience of heaven on earth.
Nov 2017, during World Food India 2017 event, arranged India
Gate lawns, New Delhi, Chef Sajeev Kapoor and his team prepared
800 kilograms of Khichdi was cooked in giant kadhai (diameter 7
feet, capacity 1000 lts)
Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor along with others cooking Khichdi in World Food
India 2017
pg. 35
Panta bhaat
‘Panta bhaat’, also known as ‘Kanji’, holds a significant place in
Bengali culture, with references dating back to ancient scriptures
like Chandimangal. During the humid months of ‘Jaistha’, the
Baishanabas offer ‘panta’ to Radha Krishna, accompanied by
yogurt, sugar, and vegetable curries, in a ritual known as ‘pakal
bhog’. Additionally, on Dashami of Durga Puja, just before the
conclusion of final rituals marking Maa Durga's departure, ‘panta
bhaat’ is offered to the deity as well, symbolizing a cherished
tradition deeply ingrained in Bengali customs.
Its origins trace back centuries, with Friar Sebastian Manrique's
17th-century accounts shedding light on its pervasive presence
among the populace. Across communities, from farmers to city
dwellers, the simplicity of a meal comprising panta bhaat, salt,
and green vegetables sufficed for sustenance.
Moreover, beyond Bengal's borders, this dish finds appreciation in
neighboring states like Odisha and Assam, where it takes on
distinct forms. In Odisha, it's known as 'pokhala', while in Assam,
it's affectionately called 'poita bhaat'.
pg. 36
Panta bhaat traditionally hails from rural Bengal and finds its
roots in the resourcefulness of farmers. Born out of the necessity
to utilize leftover rice, it became a staple breakfast choice for
those labouring in the fields. In the sweltering heat of summer,
panta bhaat's cooling properties provided much-needed relief,
making it an essential part of their daily routine.
Besides being a culinary delight;
‘panta bhaat’ is a nutritional
powerhouse. This fermented
rice dish boasts a treasure trove
of essential nutrients including
potassium, calcium, vitamin C,
and B. Delving into studies,
researchers have unearthed its
surprising health benefits, showcasing its superiority over warm
rice. Is is gentle on the digestive system, offering relief to those
grappling with gut issues like constipation or dysentery. Also, it
acts as a hydrating agent, regulates body temperature, and keeps
blood pressure in check.
The literal meaning of Panta Bhat is “overnight steeped rice”,
which is exactly what it is. The leftover cooked rice after dinner
is left to soak in water over night. While a few hours of soaking
suffice, an overnight soak lends a gooey texture and significantly
boosts its nutritional value. Alongside the fermented rice, mashed
potato, onion slices, green chili, a drizzle of mustard oil and a
sprinkle of salt is added as simple side dish. Addition of charred
red chilies, crispy fried fish, lentil fritters, papad, and an
assortment of pickles are the best side dishes, that adds to the
flavour of Pantabhaat.
In places like Purulia, Bankura, and Birbhum, 'maacher twak' (a
sour pickle-ish dish made with fish), a paste of poppy seeds, or
poppy seed fritters are common sides for ‘panta bhaat’.
Meanwhile, across the border in Bangladesh, ‘shutki maach
pg. 37
bhorta’ (fermented dried fish mashed with spices) is a beloved
accompaniment to this dish.
Panta bhat retains its taste for 2-3 days before it starts to
disintegrate and spoil. The water left over from ‘panta bhaat’
serves another purpose: it's used to concoct ‘amani’, a locally
popular part-alcoholic beverage in rural Bengal.
Panta Ilish
Pohela Boishakh or Bangla Noboborsho, the first day of Bengali
calendar is celebrated in Bangladesh and Indian states of West
Bengal, Tripura and Assam by people of Bengali heritage,
irrespective of their religious faith. It is the celebration of the
Bengalihood, transcending the border between Bangladesh and
India, rising above any religious differences.
Traditionally Bengalis at home and abroad eat Panta Bhat
(overnight steeped rice), Ilish (Hilsa Fish) and varieties of
Bhorta to commemorate Pohela Boishakh.
pg. 38
The Full Boishakh Feast: Ilish Bhaja, Panta Bhat, Five Types of
Bhorta and Kolar Mocha Ghonto
Ilish Bhaja is Ilish in its simplest form. A pinch of salt, a dash
of turmeric, and a little rub. Then off it goes to be fried in
simmering hot mustard oil. 3-5 minutes on each side until it's
crunchy and golden brown. Enjoy it with hot steamed rice,
panta bhat or alone.
pg. 39
Bengal’s Sweets
Who made Bengalis connoisseurs of
sweets?
The habitat of Indian Bengalees, West Bengal, surrounded by
Assam, Bihar and Orissa and Bangladesh, is often remembered
for its pioneering role in the flowering of Indian renaissance in
18th century. Kolkata has been a harbinger of many aspects of
our life today from international trade, education, Industrial
development....and food industry, specially for sweets where
many new innovations have been made during the last three
centuries under Muslim, Portuguese, Dutch and the British
influence. The Bengali babus created an ambience that
demanded creations of new items, which became the trademark
of the creator.
Bengal’s unapologetic sweet tooth is probably a result of once
being the producer of the finest sugar in the world, beginning
with the prized gur that gave it its ancient name Gauda. Since
then the sweet story has come a long way. Bengali sweets are
different from most sweets in the rest of India due to the use of
chhana, the curdled milk, which is also call paneer or cottage
cheese that was brought here by the Portuguese invaders.
Origin of Sweets made of Channa
Till the 16th century, Bengalis could not be termed as
connoisseurs of sweets, as they were satisfied with
simple dudh-chire (milk and flattened rice), dudh-lau (milk
and gourd) and monda. Some country-made crude pulses
(mung) and coconut products were also available.
In the 18th century, some important changes came in the food
habits of Bengalis. A large number of sweets, both fried and
those soft ones made of posset or cottage
pg. 40
cheese (chhana), entered Bengali cuisine. Many attributed the
sudden development of the sweet industry in Bengal to the
Portuguese. It is impossible to think of Bengali food without
sweets made of posset or cottage cheese - Rossogolla, Pantua,
Sandesh and Chumchum. They are inseparable parts of Bengali
culture. But one does not find any mention of cottage cheese in
Bengali texts till the 16th century, as among the Hindus curdling
the milk to make posset and cottage cheese was considered
improper. Cottage cheese made in Portugal is almost identical
with the Bengali version of cheese (chhana), so many credit the
Portuguese with importing cottage cheese to Bengal.
The Portuguese introduced three types of cheese in Bengal:
Cottage cheese, Bandel cheese and Dhakai paneer. However, one
may attribute the improvement of Bengali confectionary in the
18th century to urbanization and the growth of a cosmopolitan
urban culture. In this era, Murshidabad, Bardhhaman,
Bishnupur and Krishnanagar on the western banks of Bengal,
along with Dhaka and Natore in East Bengal, became major
urban centres. Naturally, professional elite (bhadralok)
populace grew up there, who were not satisfied with the simple
country-made products and demanded more sophisticated food
products. In the early 19th century, urban centres such as Janai,
Shantipur and Barddhaman were becoming well known for
specific sweets like raskara, moa and ola.
But the sweets of Bengal owe a lot to the colonial powers like
the Portuguese. For if they hadn’t taught us how to
make chhana, Bengalis wouldn’t have learnt how to make
sweets.
pg. 41
Rasogolla
Around mid-1600s, 20,000 Portuguese settled in Bengal. The
Portuguese first arrived in Chittagong around 1528 and left in
1666 after the Mughal conquest. They were skilled in the art of
preparing sweet fruit preservatives & were fond of cottage
cheese. The Bengali sweet makers fired their imaginations &
came up with an array of innovative products made out of
cottage cheese (paneer or chena or chana).
The sweet is known as Rasogolla in Bengali and Rasagola in
Odia. In hindi speaking states it is Rasgulla - ras ("juice") and
gulla ("ball"). In Nepal, Rasgulla became popular under the
name Rasbari.
Origin of Rasogolla – Bengal vs Odissa
Many food historians believe Rasogolla, made from cottage
cheese, was invented by Nobin Chandra Das (1845–1925) in
1868. He was known as ‘Nobin Moira’ (also known as 'Columbus
of Rasogolla') of Bagbazar. In 1866, he set up his sweet shop on
Chitpur Road (now known as Rabindra Sarani, Bagbazar) in
pg. 42
Sutanuti. Nobin Chandra's ambition was not to run just a sweet
shop but to create completely original sweets.
It was sometime in the year 1868 that he was able to create a
perfectly homogeneous spherical sweet that was both spongy
and succulent with a unique and distinctive taste, through a
novel method of processing the "chhana" in boiling sugar syrup.
Nobin Chandra christened this creation the "Rasogolla" and a
popular gastronomic legend was born. Bhagwandas Bagla, a
Marwari businessman and a customer of Nobin Chandra Das,
popularized the Bengali Rasgulla beyond the shop's locality by
ordering huge amounts. Fifty years later, his grandson K C Das
launched a commercial company by the name of K C Das and Co.
which is a very famous chain of sweet shops till today.
One Sept 18, 2015, West Bengal submitted the application for a
GI (Geographical Indication) tag for the Rasogolla. November
2017, West Bengal received its GI tag. After this, a bitter fight
ensued between the two states over the sweet’s origin, delicacy,
both on social media and off it. The Odisha government initiated
a move to get the Geographical indication (GI) status for their
Rasagulla, made in a village Pahala and finally applied for the
Geographical Indication (GI) tag for 'Odishar Rasagola'
(Rasagola of Odisha), almost three months after West Bengal
was awarded GI tag for 'Banglar Rasogolla'. The committee
formed by Odissa govt refuted Bengal's claim that Rasgulla had
reached Odisha under the influence of Shri Chaitanya.
According to Asit Mohanty, an Odia research scholar on
Jagannath cult and traditions, in Jagamohana Ramayana the
pg. 43
sweet is mentioned as "Rasagola" and it also has references of
many other sweets made from cheese found in Odisha, like
Chhenapuri, Chhenaladu and Rasabali. Another ancient text
Premapanchamruta of Bhupati also mentions that the cheese
(Chhena) making process was well known in Odisha long before
the Portuguese came to India. Tracing the origin of the sweet,
the report claimed that the sweet was being offered to gods in
mutts and temples for over 600 years.
According to historians of Odisha, the Rasagola originated in
Puri, as khira mohana, which later evolved into the Pahala
Rasgulla. According to folklore, Pahala (a village on the
outskirts of Odisha's capital Bhubaneshwar) had a large number
of cows. The village would produce excess milk, and the
villagers would throw it away when it became spoilt. When a
priest from the Jagannath Temple saw this, he taught them the
art of curdling, including the recipe for Rasagulla. Thus, Pahala
went on to become the biggest market for Chenna-based sweets
in the area.
On July 29, 2019, following opinions from jurists and patent
experts, including Chennai-based attorney P Sanjay Gandhi,
who filed the present application on behalf of OSIC, the battle
over the GI tag ended in a draw between Odisha and West
Bengal. The GI tag for the same product to both the
neighbouring states now recognizes two distinct varieties in
taste and texture.
pg. 44
Rasgulla Recipe
 Total Cook Time: 50 mins
 Prep Time: 10 mins
 Cook Time: 40 mins
 Servings: 2
 Size: Medium
Ingredients of Rasgulla
 2 Litre low fat milk (Refrigerated overnight, boiled
 1/4 cup lemon juice (mixed in 1/4 cup water)
 1 tsp refined flour (maida) or semolina
 4 cups thin sugar syrup (flavored with cardamom or
rosewater)
How to Make Rasgulla
1. Remove whatever cream that forms over the milk.
2. Bring to a boil, lower heat and add the lemon mixture
gradually, till milk curdles.
3. Does not matter if you do not use up the whole solution.
4. Shut off the heat and leave mixture to rest for 5 minutes.
5. Drain off water and leave the paneer in a colander for at
least 4 hours.
6. Mash paneer very smooth (no grains).
7. Add the flour/semolina and mash some more.
8. Bring 4-6 cups of water to a boil, and shape the paneer into
balls (smooth ones, no cracks) in the meantime.
9. Transfer balls into the boiling water, cover with a tight-
fitting cover and let cook till puffed up (about 20 minutes).
10. Let cool, squeeze out of the water, transfer to syrup, chill
and serve.
pg. 45
Varieties of Rasogolla
Swati Swarup’s 170 flavours of Rasogolla: clove, tulsi, cinnamon, coriander, curry-pata, capsicum, tomato, strawberry,
black currant, raspberry, green apple, orange, blueberry, litchi, banana, watermelon, pineapple, gundi-paan-shot,
cappuccino, jeera, green chilli, pudina, kala-khatta, phuchka, dalchini, bub-blegum, Maggi, chocolate…..etc
Baked Rasogolla Nolen Gurer Rasogolla
Some famous Rasogolla shops in Kolkata
Nalin
Chandra
Das & Sons
Nalin Chandra Das &
Sons has been in
business since 1845. The
store is close to Sealdah
Train Station. Varieties
of Rasgullas are found
here, such as chocolate,
but the orange-
pg. 46
flavoured Rasgullas are
their speciality.
Address: No 313, Rabindra Sarani, Balaka Natun Bazar, North Dumdum, Kolkata-700006
Nobin
Chandra
Das & Sons
Nobin Chandra Das is
popularly known as the
founder of Bengali
Rosogolla. In 1866, he
set up the sweet shop,
Nobin Chandra Das at
Baghbazar-
Shobhabazar.
Address: 77, Jatindra Mohan Avenue,
Kolkata, 700005
Bhim
Chandra
Nag
For more than 150 years,
Bhim Chandra Nag has
been serving Rosogolla.
The closest metro
station is Girish Park,
and the store is close to
Hedua Park.
Address: 46, Strand Rd, Fairley Place,
Barabazar Market, Kolkata-700007
Balaram
Mullick &
Radharam
an Mullick
The store, which serves
desserts since 1885, is
close to Triangular Park.
The famous spongy
Kolkata Rasgulla from
Balaram Mullick &
Radharaman Mullick is
produced from cow's
milk and drenched in
syrup made of sugar and
pg. 47
cardamom. Clay pots are
used to serve the
Rasgullas.
Address: 139A, Rash Behari Ave, Dover Terrace, Ballygunge, Kolkata-700029
KC Das K.C. Das has been
serving it since 1868. KC
Das fans regard this as
the best Rasgulla in
Kolkata. Esplanade is the
closest metro stop to
K.C. Das.
Address: 124B, Opposite Kalighat Tram
Depot, Kolkata-700026
Girish
Chandra
Dey &
Nakur
Chandra
Nandy
The store is close to
College Street. In
business since 1840.
They are famous for
their soft, spongy
Rasgullas.
Address: 56, Ramdulal Sarkar St, near
Bethune College, Hedua, Kolkata-700006
Ganguram Ganguram is one of the
Kolkata’s most
distinctive chain of
confectioneries. Park
Street is the closest
metro station to
Ganguram. The shop
sells many Rasgulla
variants.
Address: Everest House, 46C, Jawaharlal
Nehru Rd, Kankaria Estates, Park Street
area, Kolkata-700071
pg. 48
Chittaranj
an
Mistanna
Bhandar
This 116-year-old shop is
famous for its spongy
Rasgulla and is one of
the best Rasgullas in the
city. This sweet shop has
been located in Shobha
Bazar.
Address: 34 B Raja Naba Krishna Street,
Near Shyambazar Av School Hatkhola,
Kolkata, 700005
Mithai -
Sweet
Bakery &
Cake Shop
Mithai is known
throughout the city for
its quality sweets, and
its mastery of Rasgullas
is accepted by everyone
who has ever had tasted
their sweet.
Address: 18, Gariahat Road, Gariahat,
Kolkata - 700019
Lyangcha
Lyangcha is a Bengal’s sweat dish akin to Gulab Jamun - but it
is a long in shape and softer inside. Lyangcha of Nabadwip,
Tarapith and Shaktigarh in West Bengal and a village
'Simultala' in Jharkhand district is v famousery. Nabadwip's
Lyangchas are of top quality and Lyangcha of Tarapith region
in Birbhum district are very big in size - one shop in Tarapith
is famous for his 3 ft Lyangcha.
pg. 49
Lyangcha - Rs 10 each piece Lyangcha - Rs 5 each piece
Lyangcha’s Origin - Burdwan or Krishnanagar?
Currently Shaktigarh in Burdwan district claims all the credits
with huge Lyangchas but the shops in Krishnanagar take a
special pride in how “Lyangcha '' has travelled from
Krishnanagar to Burdwan.
The people in Shaktigarh claim that Khudiram Dutta, an
artisan in Shaktigarh in Bardhhaman, had first made this
sweat. district who used to make Pantua - a fried oval shaped
sweet of huge sizes made of flour and chchana (cottage cheese-
an ingredient common to most of the sweets in Bengal) dipped
in sugar syrup.
Lyangchas became popular when a British officer with
disability of one leg, declared his great love for this sweat
prepared by Khudiram Dutta. Since the crippled men are called
“Lyangra” in Bengali, the sweat also became popular as
“Lyangcha” and his maker Khudiram became known as
“Lyangcha Dutta”. Khudiram Dutta started his first shop,
Lyangcha Mahal in Shaktigarh. But today, there are some 5
shops by the same name and each trying to claim the
authenticity.
pg. 50
However, Narayan Sanyal in his historical novel
“Rupamanjari” tells us a different story. Goutam Dhoni a noted
journalist and correspondent of “Ekdin” a Bengali Daily, in an
article in Nadia Darpan (a local Bengali Daily) brings to our
attention how Lyangcha has travelled from Krishananagar (a
town in Nadia District) to Burdwan.
Dhoni thinks, as novelist Narayan Sanyal has also said in his
novel “Rupamanjari”, the genesis of “Lyangcha” actually goes
back to the matrimony alliance between the two seats of
power in two different parts of present-day West Bengal. A
matrimony alliance between the royal households of
Krishnanagar and Burdwan is the genesis of “Lyangcha”. The
story goes that a girl from the then Krishnanagar royal
household was married to a son from Burdwan royal
household. When she became pregnant, she lost her appetite
and refused to eat any food. During this time when Rani asked
her, she expressed a desire to eat a sweetmeat “Lyangcha” that
an artisan from her maternal home used to prepare.
The then ruler of Krishnanagar made arrangements to find out
who prepared “Lyangcha'' but none of the Modaks/ Moiras -
the Bengali confectioners, a caste group involved in
preparation of sweets - in Krishnanagar seemed to be aware of
Lyangcha. Apparently even the lady did not remember the
pg. 51
name of the sweet. She had mentioned “Lyangcha” because the
artisan who used to prepare this specific sweetmeat used to
limp and walk. In Bengali “Lyangchano” means to limping.
Finally, the Lyangra artisan was traced and summoned to the
Krishnagar court. He was sent off to Burdwan. The Maharaja
of Burdwan offered him land to settle in Barshul village in
Burdwan so that he could prepare delicacies for the royalty.
Lyangcha Hub in Shaktigarh
Today, around 90 kms from Kolkata, on both sides of the
expressway NH-2, near Barshul village there are some 30 - 40
“Lyangcha” shops with some special adjectives like “Adi”
(meaning Original) “Bhabon”, “Kuthi” “Bhuban”, “Niketan”,
“Palace”, “Mahal”, Hut, etc in the back. Among all the names,
the one name that truly stands out is Lyangchapon (in Bengali
apon means shop/ market). Crafted in a strange calligraphy at
the entrance of the age-old sweet shop, famous for making
Lyangcha using ghee brought from Bishnupur. Apart from
Lyangcha, Sitabhog, Mihidana, Kochuri, Luchi torkari are also
available in these shops.
Each shop has appointed a few resources. the only job of these
poor guys is to wave/shout and try to attract people for a
snack in their shop and some pictures of some filmstar/
celebrity enjoying the same. It is a ritual for every Bengali to
stop their cars or buses in one of his favorite shops, while
passing by this area.
pg. 52
On his way to Ausgram for the shooting of 'TE3N', the superstar Amitava Bachchan made a halt at Shaktigarh's
Langcha Kuthi on December 11, 2015, -little did Big B know that he'd become the face of the sweet shop.
Recipe of Lyancha
Though the original recipe mentions Chchana, today Lyangcha
is made from flour, milk powder (replacement of Chchana) and
sugar. The flour and milk powder is thoroughly mixed with a
sprinkle of baking powder; Then water is added slowly to
make the dough. While kneading the dough ghee is added at
constant intervals. After the dough is homogeneous and soft, it
is kept for a few hours. Then the dough is divided into
cylindrical shapes of sizes (defined by the price Rs 5, Rs 10 or
more, not very common in the street shops). The Cylindrical
pieces are deep fried in oil till the deep brown upper crust is
formed. Then the pieces are dipped in rose or elaichi flavored
sugar syrup for a few hours, before they are ready to be
served.
pg. 53
pg. 54
Street Foods
Fuchka
Fuchka, known by myriad names like Gol Gappe, Pani-Puri,
Pani ke Batashe, and more, this crispy delight holds a special
place in every Indian’s heart and taste buds. Imagine a crispy,
hollow sphere, filled with the perfect blend of spicy potato
goodness, and submerged in an aromatic concoction of jal
jeera and meetha chutney – that’s the enchanting Pani Puri for
you.
Regional names of Fuchka
The diversity of India finds its reflection in the myriad names of
Pani Puri across the country. While the roots of this delectable
delicacy have yet to be established with historical accuracy, one
thing is certain: pani puri travelled across India and made the
country fall head over heels in love with it. The combinations
changed dramatically over time as each region evolved its own
version based on its tastes.
1. Fuchka-Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
pg. 55
2. Gol gappe- New Delhi,
Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir,
Haryana, Madhya Pradesh
and Himachal Pradesh.
3. Gup-chup-Odisha, parts of
Bihar, Jharkhand
Chhattisgarh, Hyderabad,
and Telangana.
4. Pakodi-interior parts
of Gujarat and Madhya
Pradesh
5. Padaka- Aligarh
6. Pani ke patashe- Uttar
Pradesh
7. Patashi- Central India,
including parts of UP and Rajasthan
8. Phulki-Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Nepal
9. Tikki-Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh
History of Fuchka
Chaat, with its origin in North India, paved the way for the
evolution of Fuchka/ Panipuri/Gol Gappa. As per culinary
anthropologist Kurush Dalal, Gol Gappa has likely emerged
from the larger Raj-Kachori, leading to its smaller version.
Fuchka’s journey across India can be attributed to the 20th-
century migration of people between regions.
Draupadi created Pani-puri
A captivating story about the origin of Panipuri, takes us back
into Mahabharata, where Draupadi’s culinary genius shines. It
is said that Kunti gave a challenge to her daughter in law, to
feed her sons with food made out of scratch. Draupadi, being
the iconic and intelligent women she was, while in exile,
transformed leftover aloo sabzi and dough into the delectable
pg. 56
Pani Puri. Legend has it that her innovation earned this dish
the blessing of immortality from her mother-in-law, Kunti.
Phulki in the Kingdom of Magadha
In the historic kingdom of Magadha, along the banks of the
Ganges, an early form of Pani Puri known as ‘Phulki’ existed.
These miniature, crispier puris were akin to the modern-day
Pani Puri. Although the exact filling remains a mystery, the
influence of aloo sabzi (potato curry) is likely.
Medicinal motive behind the Chaat Masala of Pain-puri
In his book Digesting India: A Travel Writer’s Subcontinental
Adventures with the Tummy, the humourist Zac O’ Yeah refers
to an alternate origin story of the panipuri. In medieval times,
the Yamuna was believed to be the cause, and carrier, of
diseases. It was the royal physician at the imperial court in
Delhi, he writes, who came up with the idea of a diet “rich in
certain spices” to combat the virulent waters of the river. This
disinfectant mix of spices and condiments supposedly birthed
the “classic chaat masala” we know and love today. While
attributing medicinal motive to chaat and Fuchka makes the
theory more attractive, this story is most likely apocryphal. As
stated by Pushpesh Pant, a renowned academic and food
historian, seeking to locate the place and time of chaat’s
conception is itself a flawed enterprise. In an interview
discussing the history of Indian cuisine, Pant brushed away a
question on the antecedents of panipuri as a misguided and
fruitless inquiry. Perhaps he is right. Perhaps it is futile to
attempt to isolate a single point of origin for such mercurial
fare, every element of which is inconstant.
While the origins of this delicious snack is yet to be pinpointed
with historical accuracy, the one thing that is clear is that pani
puri travelled across India and made the country fall head over
heels in love with it. Over the years, the combinations
underwent many changes as each region developed its own
version according to its preferences.
pg. 57
Epicurean delights were no more taboo. It became one of the
most common and popular street food of the City of Joy.
Bengal’s Fuchka
The story of the Panipuri served by Draupodi has seeped so far
into the Bengali’s consciousness that it inspired a Fuchka-
themed Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata. Though, it is difficult to
mathch this story of Pani puri with our Fuchka – particularly,
since Draupadi, Kunti, and the Pandavas had seen a potato,
which arrived on Indian shores only in the 17th century,
courtesy of European traders. During Oct 2019, Behala Nutan
Dal Club in Kolkata prepared a Durga Puja pandal in Tala Park
on the theme of Puchka. The decorations have been done using
Puchkas and Donas (plates made of leaf). 2.5 lakh Puchkas
have been used in making this puja pandal. It took about 3
months and 30 artisans to build this pandal.
Durga Puja pandal in Tala Park, Kolkata has done a theme based on the popular
snack, Fuchka (pani puri).
Origin of Bengal’s Fuchka
The origin of Fuchka in Bengal is mired in mystery. One of the
16 ‘Mahajanapadas’, or ‘Great Kingdoms’, of ancient India, the
Kingdom of Magadha, along the banks of the Ganges,
corresponded to what is now called South Bihar, that later
became part of Bengal residency. Both the Maurya and Gupta
Empires had their origins in Magadha, and the region has
fostered the birth and development of Jainism, Hinduism, and
Buddhism. Lively accounts of Magadh and its capital,
Pataliputra, are available in the travel diaries of the Greek
historian Megasthenes and the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims
Faxian and Xuanzang.
pg. 58
According to a legend, it first came into existence in the
historic kingdom of Magadha at a time when several
traditional specialities of the region, like chitba, pitthow, tilba
and chewda of Katarni rice, were evolving. The culinary genius
who invented them is lost in the pages of history; while the
exact time frame of its existence is unclear, it reportedly
existed prior to 600 BCE. This early form of Pani Puri known
as ‘Phulki’- a word still used to refer to Fuchka in Uttar
Pradesh, Gujarat and Nepal today.
Phulki in Magadha was not exactly the way we have it now.
Phulkis were made with smaller, crispier puris than those used
today. What they were initially filled with is unclear, though it
is likely to be some variation of the aloo sabzi.
Bengal’s Fuchka is unique- it is not same as Gol gappa, pani
puri, pani ka pataasha, gup chup, tikki --- similar snacks that
one gets in other parts of
India. The name of this
snack might have been
derived from the word
‘phuch,’ the sound it
makes when you take a
bite.
The unique feature of the
Fuchka lies in the fact that
it is made of whole wheat, unlike the other varieties, where
the body is made of flour (maida) or semolina (sooji). The
Fuchka water is also a lot more spicier and tangier than that
used in the rest of the country.
How To Make Fuchka
Ingredients:
Puri Sauce Filling
3 cups white peas
pg. 59
1 cup unroasted
semolina
¼ cup all-purpose
flour
1/3 cup water
50-gram tamarind
pulp
3 cups of water
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black salt
1 ½ tbsp ground
roasted coriander
1 tbsp ground
roasted red chili
1 ½ tsp ground
roasted cumin
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lime juice
2 medium potatoes
2 tbsp chopped red
onion
4-5 freshly chopped
green chili
1 tsp ground
roasted coriander
1 tsp ground
roasted cumin
1 tsp ground
roasted red chili
2 tbsp freshly
chopped coriander
½ tsp salt to taste
½ tsp lime juice
Method:
1. Mix semolina with ap flour very well using your hand
2. Gradually add water as you mix and knead while allowing
the semolina to absorb the water
3. Once the dough has reached an elastic-like texture, cover it
up with a moist cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes and make
sure your dough is not too soft nor hard
4. Knead the dough again before cutting the dough in half and
roll it out thinly flat using a rolling pin
5. Cut out into small round pieces using a cooking cutter
6. Deep dry and gently tap as it puffs up and lights golden in
color
7. For the sauce, pour in tamarind pulp along with 2 cups of
water and bring to a boil
8. Strain out the tamarind sauce into a clean bowl, add 1 cup of
water, salt, black salt, coriander, red chili, cumin, sugar, and
lime
pg. 60
9. Mix the tamarind sauce and set aside
10. In a new bowl, add boiled white peas, boiled potatoes, red
onion, green chili, ground coriander, cumin, red chili, fresh
coriander, salt to taste, and lime juice along with a 2 tbsp of
tamarind sauce
11. Ready to assemble your very own Fuchka and enjoy!
Bangladeshi Fuchka
Incidentally, Fuchka was not a ‘socially acceptable’ street food
before Independence in former East Bengal. Those who
enjoyed Fuchka were snubbed as ‘Ghoti’. But post 1947, Fuchka
gained freedom from society’s judgmental stance and the
Fusion food made its foray into the gastronomic universe.
In a CNN report
published in 2022,
the Bangladeshi
Fuchka, has been
listed among Asia’s
top 50 street foods.
Other street foods
featured in the list
include Bun Kebab
and Falooda
pg. 61
(Pakistan), Asam Laksa (Malaysia), Jalebi (India), Khao Soi
(Thailand), Kimbap (South Korea), Momos (Nepal), and so on.
One gets two types of Fuchka in Bangladesh – Fuchka Soup and
Dim Fuchka. As per food enthusists, the Bangladeshi Fuchka is
completely different from the phuchkas we get in Kolkata.
What makes Bangladeshi Fuchka’s magical appeal is that it has
sogginess and
crunchiness – both at
the same time. The stuffing is a mixture of boiled potato,
grated boiled egg, onion, chick pea and fresh chaat masala.
Morich (Chilli) is a vital ingredient, which makes Bangladeshi
Fuchka different from Kolkata Phuchka.
Fuchka’s journey out of India & Bangladesh
New York
Origin of a Bengali Street Food in New York
Naeem Khandaker believes he can see
his future in Fuchka. He claimed he
was the first person in America to sell
the Bengali snack — crispy and
orblike, sweet and spicy in a single
bite — when he opened his street cart
five years ago on a busy corner in
Queens.
Naem grew up in Khulna, in
Bangladesh. He came to America as an
international student in 2014 and was
dismayed to see so many Bangladeshi
people selling food from other
countries — namely India — or selling
Bengali dishes under non-Bengali names. Fuchka, in his eyes, was
easy to love: spherical semolina shells, chipped open and filled
with savoury potato, yellow peas, onion, chili and cilantro,
Soggy and Crunchy, at the same time
pg. 62
adorned with shavings of hardboiled egg, before being splashed
with tangy tamarind sauce. For Khandaker, it was utmost
important to call Fuchka by its name.
“The first Fuchka cart in USA,” trumpets the sign on Tong,
Khandaker’s business, on the northeast corner of 73rd Street and
37th Avenue. It was opened in 2008. His business idea and toil
paid off. After lines began forming in front of Tong, other carts
began sprouting down the block. Today, no fewer than eight
Fuchka carts, with near-identical menus and similar design
aesthetics, operate within a one-block radius of his original spot.
Khandaker, has expanded his empire to eight carts across Queens,
Brooklyn, Bronx, Jamaica, Queens. And with a business partner
from Bangladesh, he has plans to bring Fuchka to other states in
the form of Tong franchises. He is constantly contacted these days
by people outside the city who have started, or are planning to
start Fuchka businesses in upstate New York, Florida,
Pennsylvania, California, Texas, even London and are seeking his
advice.
Another business owner might be stressed about the mimicry. “But
I’m happy,” Khandaker said. “They are not ashamed to put a
Bangladeshi name on a Bangladeshi store.”
pg. 63
London
Few Restaurants of Panipuri around London
The Panipuri a popular street food of India is now served in
several restaurants in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Leicester
and Manchester. Few restaurants in and around London that
are famous for serving Panipuri are:
1. Ashoka Chat
House
Ashoka Chat House bring a little taste
of India by Indian Street Food & Drink
in Proper London,
📞 07493 981 938
Unit 1-2, 105B Ealing Road, London,
Wembley HA0 4BP
2. Bombay Cafe
Dishoom
Cold and crunchy, light and lovely.
Puffed rice, Bombay Mix and nylon sev
tossed with fresh
pomegranate, tomato, onion, lime,
pg. 64
tamarind, mint.
📞 020 7420 9324
Address: 7 Boundary Street, London E2
7JE (Covent Garden and Shoreditch)
3. Diwana Bhel
Puri House
Highly recommended for its tasty pani
puri!
📞 020 7387 5556
Address: 121 Drummond Street NW1
2HL
4. GIFTO’s Lahore
Karahi
This restaurant’s vision is to give
people in and around London a taste of
the delicacies of Lahore Pakistan and,
yes, it succeeds. Relish the yummy Pani
puri here!
📞 020 8813 8669
Address: Gifto’s Lahore Karahi, 162-164
The Broadway, Southall, Middlesex.
5. Masala Zone Lentil and tamarind stuffed
wholewheat biscuits; filled with spicy
dressing. Mouthwatering dine.
📞 020 7386 5500
Address: 583 Fulham Road, London
SW6 5UA
6. Sakonis Famous for its crispy puris, this is a
must try!
📞 020 8903 1058
Address: 127 Ealing Rd, Wembley, HA0
4BP
7. Mumbai Dosa A pure vegetarian eatery that serves
Indian street food dishes.
📞 07828782988
pg. 65
537, Unit 9, High Road, Wembley,
Brent, United Kingdom HA0 2DJ
8. Kolapata Small Bangladeshi average quality
family restaurant.
Address: 222 Whitechapel Road,
London E1 1BJ England
pg. 66
Jhalmuri
Bengal has always seen the tradition of evening snacks be it
the aloor chop, beguni, chingro chop, mochar chop etc; these
telebhajas to chop cutlets as collectively referred has shaped
the Bengali jol khabar or evening snacks. One such snack that
goes beyond time and can be enjoyed any time of the day is
Jhalmuri.
Jhalmuri (ঝালমুড়ি), is a savoury mix street food popular in the
Bengali, Bihari, Odia cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. At
every nook and corner of Kolkata you will find one Jhalmuri
wala. Jhalmuri is not just a snack; it is a cultural icon that
embodies the vibrant and diverse flavours of the region.
The term "Jhalmuri" is derived from two Bengali words: "jhāl"
meaning spicy and "muri" meaning puffed rice. Jhalmuri is
made of Muri” and an assortment of Indian spices, boiled
potatoes, diced tomatoes, onions, some seasonal vegetables,
crunchy peanuts, sliced fiery chilies, chanachur and a hint of
raw mustard oil. Finally, topped off with the fragrant touch of
coconut, fresh coriander, and the timeless crunch of evergreen
bhujia. "Jhal," translates to spicy and hot in Bengali - the spicy
heat is derived from the chilies and/or the amalgamation of
spices, giving this snack its vibrant name.
Origin of Jhalmuri in Bengal
Jhalmuri traces its roots to the state of West Bengal in India,
particularly the bustling city of Kolkata. This iconic street food
pg. 67
first gained popularity in the late 19th century when the
British colonial presence in India was at its peak.
As per Pritha Sen. food writer and historian “The origin of jhal
muri is in Calcutta started by Bihari migrant workers when the
metropolis was growing as the capital of the British Empire in
the subcontinent and in Undivided Bengal. It was probably
carried to Bangladesh by Muslim Bihari settlers who moved
post-Partition – in 1947.”
During World War II, Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta) played an
important role in the military operations during the war.
There was a large influx of labour from East Indian states like
Bihar, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh, who came to the city during
the emergence. The migrant workers saw the business
potential in selling it as a snack to British soldiers American
GIs and the Bengali babus. These migrant workers, primarily
from Bihar, were instrumental in making it common as a street
snack. The recipe was a combination of the Bengali and Bihari
palette and eventually became Kolkata’s own.
However, these migrant workers were not the first to invent
the recipe, or even to bring it to Kolkata. Due to muri's long
history in South Asian cuisine, it's difficult to pinpoint the
exact moment muri was first drenched in such fiery and
titillating flavours and took on a life of its own in Bengal. Muri
has somehow just always existed in Bengalis’ food menu. It
had been consumed in different variations and was eaten
often.
"[The] point is, muri has been a staple in Bengal from time
immemorial, often acting as a [preserved] substitute for rice
[during lean periods],"as per Pritha Sen. Saira Hamilton chef
and author of Cookbook agreed: "Rice in Bangladesh is used
for absolutely everything – desserts, breakfast, lunch and
dinner. I imagine one day someone wondered what else we
could use it for."
pg. 68
Jhalmuri as Street food in West Bengal
Jhalmuri, as we like to eat today, became popular as a street
food during World War II. 'Jhal muri' tastes best when eaten
out of a newspaper bag - packed in a newspaper cone called a
thonga and mixed in a steel shaker or a modest plastic mug (a
small pitcher), it's generally sold at the affordable price of Rs
10-20/ per thonga. Thongas are both portable and practical –
used both as a bowl and later as a napkin to wipe spicy
seasonings off one's hand. Rectangles of cardboard or
magazine paper are usually supplied as a scoop. Since single
portions are made to order, As per Hamilton, "There's [also]
this sense of it being a personal gesture, like, 'I've done this
just for you',"
The jhal-muri wallah is often as much of a draw as the snack, with some vendors
commanding cult followings
As per Arnab Mitra, an Indian entrepreneur and extensive
traveller: "An established muri-wallah is famous. And he knows
it,…Typically, he'll be wearing a lungi (an Indian men's sarong).
He may be shirtless or clad in a vest, yet he has a certain self-
assuredness about him, as if he's saying, 'Here I am, this simple
pg. 69
dude. But you will stop your Mercedes and come eat from me,
because I can turn simple ingredients into magic.'"
A 'muri' vendor on Kolkata's Camac Street
While vendors have their own recipes, they will occasionally ask
a favoured customer for specifications. The question that
separates the muri amateur from the champion, is a single word,
a test of strength and resilience, what separates the children
from adults:
“Jhaal?” Or, “how much spice can you handle?”
Like most street food in India, Jhal muri transcends social
barriers – everyone from upper crust Bengali babus to rikshaw
pullers love it. It works as a light snack between meals, an
accompaniment to afternoon tea.
pg. 70
Fair warnings:
 Street food will never taste as good as when made on the
streets.
 Do not ever eat Jhal muri with a spoon.
Some muri-wallahs command an almost cult-like following due to their signature
spice blend,
with everyone from students to office workers queuing up for a fix.
Various styles of Jhalmuri in India
Bhel puri in Mumbai, Orissa and Assam, churumuri in Karnataka
and chatpatay in Nepal all closely resemble the beloved Jhalmuri of
Bengal.
A flavourful mishmash of murmura (puffed rice), sev, spices,
and some delicious chutneys, bhelpuri has been winning hearts
and satiating our mid-meal hunger since time immemorial.
Bhelpuri
According to food critic Vir Sanghvi's 'Rude Food: The
Collected Food Writings Of Vir Sanghvi', the origin of bhelpuri
is a matter of dispute. "Legend has it that the dish was
invented not on Chowpatty beach, but at a restaurant called
Vithal, near Victoria Terminus railway station," he writes.
Further explaining the story behind its complex flavours, Vir
Sanghvi states, "It was the contribution of the city's
(Mumbai's) Gujaratis who recognized the potential for
pg. 71
complex flavours in the sweaty simplicity of North Indian
chaat."
However, an article on the Incredible India website
(www.incredibleindia.org) reads that the chaat is believed to
have been first made in the "kitchens of Mughal emperor Shah
Jahan when his doctor advised him to eat light and spicy
foods".
Regardless of its exact beginnings, one thing is clear - Bhelpuri
is an iconic Indian street food that showcases a diverse array
of flavours and regional twists that unfailingly bring joy to
taste buds all over the nation.
The 3 Major Variations of Bhelpuri
Bhelpuri from Mumbai:
Bhelpuri is all about flavours. Soft but firm potatoes, crunchy
sev, crispy murmura, and small pieces of onions, all mixed
together with khatta-mitha chutney and some spices, the dish
tastes the best when fresh (otherwise it gets soggy).
Jhalmuri from Bengal:
When bhelpuri travelled to Bengal, it got a local makeover
with strong and aromatic mustard oil in it. Here, the chutneys
were replaced with a mix of roasted masala and included
roasted peanuts, sprouted chana, slices of raw mango, ginger,
chilli, etc. for added crunch and flavour. And the dish was
named Jhalmuri, which means hot-and-spicy murmura.
Churumuri from Karnataka:
While travelling to the South, the flavours of bhelpuri got
lighter and concentrated more on the texture. In Karnataka,
the dish is called churumuri and includes murmura, with some
sev, boiled chana, roasted peanuts, and some salt and lemon
juice. Some also add ghee, onion, and tomato for added
flavour. Click here for the recipe.
pg. 72
While all three variations have their own set of fanbases,
bhelpuri reigns supreme. If you look into it closely, today you
will find bhelpuri holding a fixed spot on the streets of
Mumbai, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, and various other states.
Whereas, Jhalmuri and churumuri are majorly restricted to the
local palates of the respective regions.
Bangladeshi Jhalmuri
Combining two of Bangladesh's greatest loves – rice and spice – jhal
muri by street-side vendors has cult followings.
“Rice in Bangladesh is used for absolutely everything – desserts,
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Saira Hamilton, a food enthusiast and author of My Bangladesh
Kitchen, born to first-generation immigrants from Bangladesh in
the UK. Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith, a 213 episodes video
program that was the winner of The Guild of Food Writers' Best
Broadcast or Podcast Award 2022 and was shortlisted for Fortnum
and Mason Best Podcast 2022 and 2024, is one of creation.
According to her view, one of the nation's most iconic snacks, jhal
muri is a spiced puffed rice salad (jhal means hot in Bangla;
and muri, also called moori or murmura, is puffed rice) that
pg. 73
combines two of Bangladesh's greatest loves: rice and spice. (The
third, of course, is fish.)
"I think it's fair to say jhal muri is a street-food classic found all
over Bangladesh. It's very vibrant in taste and truly speaks to the
predominant palate," said Hamilton. In her cookbook, My
Bangladesh Kitchen, the humble snack stands proudly as the first
recipe – a quintessential Bangladeshi culinary experience. It is
firmly rooted in the tapestry of food cultures in Bangladesh,
featuring prominently in both daily life and auspicious occasions
such as the iftar meal during Ramadan for Muslims or the Puja
period during Durgapuja for Hindus.
The bland muri gets the signature Bangladeshi fireworks – the
"jhal" in jhal muri – from a smorgasbord of explosively hot and
sour ingredients. Green chillies, red chilli powder and channa
chur (a popular spicy snack mixture with dried and fried lentils,
peanuts and chickpeas) provide nose-watering heat. Table
salt, sendha namak (Himalayan pink salt) or kaala namak (kiln-
fired, sulphurous black salt) are used – sometimes all together – for
seasoning, supplemented copiously with lime juice and tamarind
water to bring the mouth-puckering sharp, tangy flavour. Mint,
coriander and finely diced onions, along with cucumbers (and,
occasionally, tomatoes), give jhal muri its crisp tartness and
garden-fresh aroma. And of course, a generous drizzle of
Bangladesh's omnipresent mustard oil brings everything together.
As per Pritha Sen, a food writer and historian, “The origin of jhal
muri is in Calcutta started by Bihari migrant workers when the
metropolis was growing as the capital of the British Empire in the
subcontinent and in Undivided Bengal. It was probably carried to
Bangladesh by Muslim Bihari settlers who moved post-Partition – in
1947.”
"[The] point is, muri has been a staple in Bengal from time
immemorial, often acting as a [preserved] substitute for rice
[during lean periods],"explained Sen. Hamilton agreed: "Rice in
Bangladesh is used for absolutely everything – desserts, breakfast,
pg. 74
lunch and dinner. I imagine one day someone wondered what else
we could use it for."
What sets Bangladeshi jhal muri apart, however, is the ratio of wet
to dry ingredients and Bangladesh's enthusiastic embrace of intense
spice. "It's heat you feel in your nose, not your throat," Hamilton
said. Some locals believe the piquancy triggers a sweating response
and helps them cool off in sweltering humidity.
For many Bangladeshis though, part of the charm of visiting the
jhal muri-wallah (vendor) lies in the theatricality. "Ingredients are
put into a steel shaker with a lid, and then dramatically shaken and
banged on the tray until they're mixed together, with all the aplomb
of a fancy mixologist in a cocktail bar," Hamilton said. Since single
portions are made to order, "There's [also] this sense of it being a
personal gesture, like, 'I've done this just for you'," she said.
Some muri-wallahs command an almost cult-like following due to
their signature spice blend, with everyone from students to office
workers queuing up for a fix. Arnab Mitra, an Indian entrepreneur
and extensive traveller, has sampled variants of the snack in more
than 20 cities across four countries. He says jhal muri in
Bangladesh's second largest city, Chittagong, is the spiciest – and
noticed a unique phenomenon he terms "the muri-wallah's swag".
Story of the Origin of Some Foods in Bengal.docx
Story of the Origin of Some Foods in Bengal.docx
Story of the Origin of Some Foods in Bengal.docx
Story of the Origin of Some Foods in Bengal.docx
Story of the Origin of Some Foods in Bengal.docx
Story of the Origin of Some Foods in Bengal.docx
Story of the Origin of Some Foods in Bengal.docx
Story of the Origin of Some Foods in Bengal.docx
Story of the Origin of Some Foods in Bengal.docx
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Story of the Origin of Some Foods in Bengal.docx

  • 1. Contents Various Food Preparations with Rice ..................................................................................4 Kolkata Biryani...........................................................................................................................4 Origin of Biryani ....................................................................................................................5 Origin of Kolkata Biryani (Dum Biryani):.................................................................7 How to cook Alu-Biryani of Kolkata:............................................................................9 Some of the Best Restaurants in Kolkata Serving Kolkata Biryani.............13 Khichuri........................................................................................................................................15 Origin of Khichdi..................................................................................................................15 Bengali khichuri ...................................................................................................................22 Sona Moong khichuri........................................................................................................22 Bhuni Khichuri....................................................................................................................23 Paila-Style Khichuri ..........................................................................................................24 Til Khichuri:.........................................................................................................................24 Malai Bhuni Kichuri: ........................................................................................................24 Khejurer Khichuri: ............................................................................................................24 Side dishes of Bengali Khichuri....................................................................................24 Labra.......................................................................................................................................24 Begun Bhaja .........................................................................................................................25 Beguni & Peyaji...................................................................................................................25 Ilish Bhaja.............................................................................................................................25 Alur Dom/ Bandhakopir Ghonto...................................................................................25 Chutney..................................................................................................................................25 Bhoger Khichuri....................................................................................................................26 Best Khichuri Restaurants in Kolkata .......................................................................27 Khichdi Khichri...................................................................................................................28 Tero Parbon..........................................................................................................................28 Thakroon ...............................................................................................................................28 Rajdhani Thali.....................................................................................................................28 The Bhoj Company.............................................................................................................28 Mumbai Local......................................................................................................................28 Monkey Bar ..........................................................................................................................28 Bangladeshi – Bhuna Khichuri ......................................................................................28 Khichdi – it’s Regional Variations in India.............................................................30
  • 2. pg. 2  North:.............................................................................................................................30  South: .............................................................................................................................30  East: ................................................................................................................................30  West:...............................................................................................................................30 Some varieties of Regional Khichdi and their Recipes......................................31 Rajasthani Bajra Khichdi ................................................................................................31 Hyderabadi Khichdi ..........................................................................................................31 Keeme ki khichdi............................................................................................................31 Khichda ..............................................................................................................................31 Mixed Dal (Matar & Arhar Dal) Khichdi ...............................................................32 Festival Khichdis................................................................................................................32 Ven Pongal............................................................................................................................32 Sabu dana Khichdi..........................................................................................................32 Health Benefits of Khichdi ..............................................................................................33 Khichdi to Become the `Brand India Food'..............................................................34 Panta bhaat.................................................................................................................................35 Panta Ilish.................................................................................................................................37 Bengal’s Sweets ............................................................................................................................39 Who made Bengalis connoisseurs of sweets? ............................................................39 Origin of Sweets made of Channa....................................................................................39 Rasogolla......................................................................................................................................41 Origin of Rasogolla – Bengal vs Odissa .........................................................................41 Rasgulla Recipe.......................................................................................................................44 Ingredients of Rasgulla....................................................................................................44 How to Make Rasgulla .....................................................................................................44 Varieties of Rasogolla ..........................................................................................................45 Some famous Rasogolla shops in Kolkata ....................................................................45 Lyangcha ......................................................................................................................................48 Lyangcha’s Origin - Burdwan or Krishnanagar?........................................................49 Lyangcha Hub in Shaktigarh .............................................................................................51 Recipe of Lyancha..................................................................................................................52 Street Foods....................................................................................................................................54 Fuchka ...........................................................................................................................................54 Regional names of Fuchka..................................................................................................54
  • 3. pg. 3 History of Fuchka...................................................................................................................55 Draupadi created Pani-puri ...........................................................................................55 Phulki in the Kingdom of Magadha.............................................................................56 Medicinal motive behind the Chaat Masala of Pain-puri...................................56 Bengal’s Fuchka......................................................................................................................57 Origin of Bengal’s Fuchka...................................................................................................57 How To Make Fuchka ...........................................................................................................58 Ingredients:..........................................................................................................................58 Method:..................................................................................................................................59 Bangladeshi Fuchka ..............................................................................................................60 Fuchka’s journey out of India & Bangladesh...............................................................61 New York...............................................................................................................................61 London....................................................................................................................................63 Jhalmuri ............................................................................................................................................66 Origin of Jhalmuri in Bengal..............................................................................................66 Jhalmuri as Street food in West Bengal ........................................................................68 Various styles of Jhalmuri in India.................................................................................70 Bhelpuri.................................................................................................................................70 The 3 Major Variations of Bhelpuri............................................................................71 Bangladeshi Jhalmuri ...........................................................................................................72 Jhalmuri’s journey outside India .....................................................................................76 London ......................................................................................................................................76 New York ...................................................................................................................................77 How to make Jhalmuri.........................................................................................................80 Ingredients ...........................................................................................................................80 Method ...................................................................................................................................81 Best Places to eat Bengal’s Jhalmuri ..............................................................................81 Kolkata...................................................................................................................................81 Delhi........................................................................................................................................83
  • 4. pg. 4 Various Food Preparations with Rice Kolkata Biryani Digha is most popular sea beach destination for Bengali tourists. It is described as the ‘Brighton of the East’. Digha Originally known as Beerkul, during Warren Hastings time, was discovered in the late 18th century by the British. In 1923, an English tourist John Frank Smith was charmed by the beauty of Digha and started living here. His writings about Digha slowly gave exposure to this place. After independence, West Bengal’s chief minister Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy developed Digha as a beach resort. While fish lovers of West Bengal will feast at Digha with seafood menus with Tiger Prawns, Bhetki, Pomfrets, Crab, Shol, Tuna, Pabda etc we can see boards outside every road side restaurant advertising about their speciality Biryani. Some of the popular Biryani restaurants in Digha-New Digha area are:
  • 5. pg. 5 Dum Biryani House, New Digha Arsalan, New Digha Champion Biryani, New Digha Hyat Biryani and Restaurant Bengali’s prefernce for Biriyani is the most important factor in the selection of menu – not only in the roadside take-away stalls, nearly every restaurant in Digha and it’s neighbouring Mandarmani, Tajpur, Shankarpur Biryani is in their menu. Origin of Biryani Biryani has link with two Persian words - Birian, which means ‘fried before cooking’ and Birinj, the Persian word for rice. While our biryani is popularly associated with the Mughals, there is some historical evidence to show that there were other, similar rice dishes prior to the Mughal invasion. One legend links Biryani with the Arab traders who were frequent visitors to the southern Malabar coast of India. There are records of a rice dish known as Oon Soru in Tamil literature as early as the year 2 A.D. Oon Soru was said to be made of rice, ghee, meat, turmeric, coriander, pepper, and bay leaf, and was used to feed military warriors. Another legend links Biryani with Turk-Mongol conqueror, Timur Sha, who brought the precursor to the biryani with him when he arrived at the frontiers of India in 1398. It is believed that during the war campaign the food for the warrior’s in
  • 6. pg. 6 Timur’s army was prepared by filling an earthen pot with rice, spices and whatever meats were available and buring in a hot pit. The pit was dug up before the food inside the pot was served to the warriors. The stories that link Biryani with our Mughal empire are also interesting. Once Mumtaz Begam, Shah Jahan’s queen, visited the army barracks and found the Mughal soldiers looking weak and undernourished. She asked the chef to prepare a special dish that combined meat and rice to provide balanced nutrition to the soldiers and thus the biryani was created in the Mughal dynasty! The Nizams of Hyderabad and Nawabs of Lucknow were also famous for their appreciation of the subtle nuances of biryani. Their chefs were renowned the world over for their signature dishes. These rulers too were responsible for popularising their versions of the biryani – and mouth-watering accompaniments like mirchi ka salan, dhanshak and baghare baingan – in different parts of the country. Traditionally, Biryani was cooked over charcoal in in earthen pot. Across India there are different variations of Biryani - Mughlai Biryani, Lucknow Biryani (also known ‘pukki’ Biryani), Bombay Biryani, Hyderabadi Biryani, Bangalorean Biryani, Thalassery Biryani (one of India’s most loved Biryanis), Moradabadi biriyani (now popular in Delhi).
  • 7. pg. 7 Origin of Kolkata Biryani (Dum Biryani): While most biryanis are known for their aromatic rice and succulent meat, what sets Kolkata Biryani apart is the addition of a surprising ingredient - potatoes. The tale goes back to the year 1856 when Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the last King of Awadh, was dethroned and stripped off his royal privileges by the British and was exiled to Kolkata from his capital Lucknow. The nawab sent his family to London to petition his case before the Queen and the British Parliament. During the revolt of 1857, the Nawab was arrested and kept in Fort William for a period of 26 months. After being released, he was given an opportunity to live anywhere in the country, and he chose Metiabruz on the outskirts of Calcutta. Here, the nawab built a replica of his beloved Lucknow complete with grand Islamic structures, a zoo of exotic animals, kabootarbaazi (pigeon- flying), kite-flying, and of course, food from the royal kitchen.
  • 8. pg. 8 On the outskirts of Kolkata, in Metiabruz, the Nawab rebuilt a replica of his beloved capital Sultan Khana, Metiabruz Over the time, due to the scarcity of Nawab's money, his indulgences were in a fix. Due to the money crunch, the biryani became lighter with toning down of spices in the rice. But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention - the cooks decided to add a local variation to the Lucknowi Biryani. Meat being expensive, the chef decided to add potatoes and eggs instead to give contrast to the rice.
  • 9. pg. 9 The inclusion of potatoes in the Biryani has had a significant impact on its flavor profile. As the biryani was cooked in the dam-pukht (slow oven cooking) style, where the lid is sealed over the pot so the steam doesn’t go out, the potatoes absorb the aromatic spices and meat juices, infusing them with a burst of flavor. The potatoes turn soft and tender, complementing the tender meat pieces and blending seamlessly with the fragrant rice. The contrasting textures of the meat, potatoes, and rice create a delightful gastronomic experience that has captured the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts across generations. The tuber had been brought to India by the Portuguese and was considered a novelty since it was imported. It was also quite expensive, though not as much as meat. In an interview, Shahanshah Mirza, the great-great-grandson of the nawab, clarifies that potatoes were used in making the royal biryani not just because of a financial crunch, but because of the nawab’s intense fascination for it. How to cook Alu-Biryani of Kolkata: Ingredients Main Ingredients  1 Kg Basmati rice or long grain rice  1200 gms chicken  4 medium potatoes  3 medium onions  1/2 cup tokdoi or curd  4 tbsp milk Masala  2 tsp garlic paste  1 1/2 tsp ginger paste  1/2 Lemon (juiced)  1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder  3 drops rose essence  1 1/3 tsp kewra water  8-9 drops mitha attar Biryani Masala  1 tsp shah jeera  1 tsp white peppercorn  25 green cardamom  1 1/2 Mace or javitri  1 1/2 inch cinnamon stick  1/4 nutmeg
  • 10. pg. 10  6-7 Hard-boiled eggs  A pinch of saffron strand  5 Bay leaves  2-3 inch cinnamon stick  8-10 Cloves  10 Green cardamom or elaichi  1 tsp turmeric powder  10-12 tbsp ghee  1/2 cup refined oil  Salt (as required)  50 gms bay leaves (for spreading on the bottom)  3 1/2 tsp biryani masala  1 tsp kebab chini or all spice  5 Cloves Method 1. First, take medium to large size potatoes, wash it and peel it out first. Then cut into halves or four into pieces according to its size and boil it or cook in a pressure cooker. 2. Once the potatoes completely cool down then heat a pan with 1/2 cup of ghee and half cup of oil on medium flame. Then fry the potatoes until it gets golden brown in colour. In the meantime, take the same pan used for frying potatoes, to fry onions. Prepare Bengali Biryani Masala: 1. First, take a pan with shahi jeera, white peppercorn (shah morich), cardamom (or elaichi or elach), mace (or javitri or joitri), cinnamon stick, nutmeg or Jaifal, kabab china or all spice and cloves. Dry roast on a low flame. 2. When the aroma starts to come out from the spices then turn off the heat. Cool it down and then ground all spices by using a grinder to make a powdered form of it. Bengali biryani masala is ready to use in this recipe. Prepare Chicken: 1. Now take the chicken pieces (curry cut), first, clean and wash it properly. For making biryani we always choose to keep the pieces little big in size, as It should be 4 to 6 pcs of whole chicken.
  • 11. pg. 11 2. Take a bowl with 1/2 cup of curd or tokdoi, then add 1 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder and and 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix it well together. 3. Once the mixing is done then add it to the chicken pieces, then add 2 tsp go garlic paste, 1 1/2 tsp ginger paste and mix it well together. 4. Add 1 1/2 tsp of powdered biryani masala(prepared earlier) and mixed it nicely with the chicken. 5. Now squeeze 1/2 lemon(medium size) to mix its juice for marinating the chicken pieces. 6. Lastly, add a handful of fried onions and mix it together. Now marinate chicken for at least 45 mins to 1 hour. 7. After 45 minutes to 1 hour, take the same pan used for frying onion, place it on medium flame, then put the marinated chicken to the pan. Let it cook. 8. After 5 mins turn down the pieces and cook it for 10 minutes by covering the pan with a lid. 9. Again turn the chicken pieces and cook it for the next 8-10 minutes, but don’t cover it then. I don’t add water to it, but you may add a little if you wish to. Turn off the heat when the gravy of this chicken will mostly dry up. Preparing Rice for Biryani: 1. Take 1 kg basmati or long grain rice, wash it gently for 5-6 times and then soak it up for at least 30 minutes. 2. After 30 minutes, take a big vessel with its 3/4 of water, place it on high flame. Add salt, refined oil in it with bay leaves, green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon sticks(break into 3-4 pieces). Let the water boil. 3. When the water starts boiling then strain the soaked rice and add it to the water. Let the rice boil in water. 4. While cooking the rice must check it frequently as rice can not be cooked more than 80 percent. Then turn off the heat and immediately drain the starch from the rice. 5. Then you may spread the rice in some plates and completely cool it down. This procedure will prevent the rice from overcooking. Once the rice totally cools down then keep it aside. Prepare Saffron Milk: 1. Take warm milk in a bowl, add a pinch of saffron strands or kesar or zaffran and let it soak for 15-20 minutes. 2. After 15 minutes, when saffron strands get soft and almost leave its color in milk, then first use your fingertips to rub the strands to release more color from it. Even you may use a little saffron color if the strands don’t leave a strong strain into the milk. 3. Then add kewra or Keora water and 3 drops of rose essence one by one.
  • 12. pg. 12 4. Lastly add, 8-9 drops of mithaattar (not more than that) to the milk, and mix it well. Keep it aside for using it later. Assemble Kolkata Biryani: 1. Take a thick bottom wide mouth vessel. First, make it dry, then first spread the bay leaves in the bottom of the vessel. 2. First spread 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick layer of rice on the bay leaves. 3. Then place two chicken pieces and three pieces of aloo on the first layer of rice. Mainly used leg pieces, though that’s not mandatory but you may use breast pieces too. Then add 3-4 tbsp of chicken gravy on the rice and chicken pieces. 4. Now first sprinkle 1/2 tsp biryani masala all over the layer. Then sprinkle 3-4 tsp of essence or flavour added saffron milk all over the layer. 5. Next, sprinkle 2-3 tsp of ghee from the top of the layer. Lastly, sprinkle a handful of crispy fried onion on the layer and half tsp of salt. The first layer is complete. 6. Then add rice from the top to completely cover. Then again assemble the next layer with the same process described just before. Again cover the second layer with white rice and make the third layer in the same way. 7. Lastly, cover the last layer with an ample amount of rice to make sure nothing can be visible from the top. 8. Then end up the assembling process by sprinkling 3-4 tsp of ghee, a pinch of biryani masala(not more than that) from the top. Lastly add salt and the hard-boiled eggs on the top of the rice and close its lid. Put Biryani on Dum: 1. Place the biryani vessel on the lowest heat of the oven. And place another pan on the top of the biryani vessel full of hot water. 2. It’ll take a maximum of 30 minutes-45 minutes to be perfectly done. Or when the outer side and the lid of the vessel will be so hot that you cannot touch it also, that indicates your biryani is done. 3. Then turn off the heat. Kolkata special chicken biryani is ready to serve, serve it with a side dish, or just with salads.
  • 13. pg. 13 Some of the Best Restaurants in Kolkata Serving Kolkata Biryani Located in Plot-1 Phase-3, Kasba Industrial Estate, Anandapur, Manzilat’s Fatima’s biryani (Awadhi Cuisine) is the most iconic. She is a direct descendant of the Nawab of Lucknow Wajid Ali Shah and is born to Kolkata’s oldest Shia Muslim family. Zam Zam, Park Circus - They have a lighter version of the biryani, where the meat is really well-cooked and luscious, loaded with flavours, but it’s not spicy. I love how they cook their meat as well. Their beef biryani and beef malai is also very good. The Bengal Club on Russel Street - Every Saturday, Bengal Club makes a batch of some of the best biryani for its members and their guests , but it's only available during lunch on that one day of the week. It's only available for lunch, and for this plate you have book in advance. Shiraz Golden Restaurant in Park Street is among the oldest biryani joints in Kolkata, and also among the best-known. “Their biryani is extremely delicate. Chef Shammuddin, a direct descendant of Wajid Ali Shah’s royal kitchen created the recipe of what we call “Shiraz-e- Biriyani. Aminia, New Market, established in 1929. Their biryani-chap and mutton pasinda kebab combination, are one of the best in town. The restaurant has branches in various parts of the city, including Barrackpore, Rajarhat, Golpark and more. Dada Boudi Restaurant, Barrackpore started out in the suburbs of Kolkata back in 2001 or 2002. They gained popularity because the meat would be very big pieces (180-200gm) and the potatoes are really tender, absorbing all the flavours from the rice and meat.
  • 14. pg. 14 Arsalan, started in 2002, The original store is in Park Circus; the one in Chinar Park makes the best biryani Popular Mughlai dine den from Mumbai, Kareeem’s Kolkata opened their first outlet in Sector V, Salt Lake in 2017. Kareem’s Special Mutton Handi Dum Biryani: A crowd pleaser across both outlets, this biryani is full of flavour and aroma. Finished off in a clay pot, it has tender mutton falling off the bone along with our Calcutta fave aloo, and a boiled egg. Oudh 1590, Deshapriya Park Road, Kolkata - Ambience and music gives a Nawabi feel but the room was very cramped. Their Awadhi Special Mutton Handi Biryani, Gaulati kebab, Tangri Kabab are superb - simply out of the world. Unlike other Indian biryanis, which are eaten with salan or raita, the Kolkata biryani is a meal in itself and needs no accompaniment. Many, however, like the combination of biryani and chaap—slow cooked meat, in a luscious gravy. The beauty of the Kolkata biryani is that it feels very light, but it actually isn’t. Making it takes an incredible amount of time and effort, not including the time needed to hunt down all the exotic stuff. But the flavours never overwhelm you.
  • 15. pg. 15 Khichuri Khichuri as the Bengalees titled it, called ‘Khichdi’ in most other states, is typically cooked from rice and some variety of lentil with masala for taste and flavor. ‘Khichdi’ is consumed four companions – pickle or ghee (clarified butter), curd, and ‘papad’ and ghee. Perhaps, the joy of eating ‘khichdi’ with ‘ghee’ can be understood only by Indians. The name khichdi comes from the Sanskrit word khiccā, which means a dish of rice and lentils. A plate of Bengali Khichuri Origin of Khichdi Khichdi, a warm bowl of rice and lentils, simmered to perfection and subtly seasoned. The name khichdi comes from the Sanskrit word khiccā, which means a dish of rice and lentils. This seemingly modest concoction has a history as rich and diverse as the Indian subcontinent itself. Historian Mohsina Mukadam has described khichdi as "the most ancient food in India, yet one that has hardly changed over the years." An Epic Dish
  • 16. pg. 16 It's in the Indian epic Mahabharata, where the earliest reference to khichdi can be found. During their exile, Draupadi is said to have fed the Pandavas khichdi. Additionally, a grain of rice from it swallowed by Lord Krishna, made a starving and enraged Rishi Durvasha lose his hunger when he and his followers dropped in unexpectedly for lunch. Khichdi also finds a mention in Sudama's story. A friend of Lord Krishna, Sudama, went to meet him in Dwarka. He was carrying two potlis (bundles), each holding khichdi and roasted gram, respectively. The former is snatched by a monkey, but Sudama somehow manages to take a part of the other to Dwarka, where Krishna eats some of the gram and bestows blessings on his friend. Krusaranna in Kamika agama Khichdi is one of the oldest known Indian dishes, as we can find traces of Khichdi as Krusaranna in Kamika agama, the foremost scripture that came out of the Sadyojata face of Sadashiva, around 2nd century text. It is believed that the scripture was directly uttered by Lord Shiva to Devi and it is the root of the divine culture ensconced in the Hindism. In its chapter 6 verse 30 – 59 talks about various dishes and
  • 17. pg. 17 methods of preparation and offering to gods. Krusaranna is said to be evolved to today’s Khichdi, Krusarannawas prepared with sesame seeds, mung beans, salt and black pepper and a certain quantity of rice. There are two more variations mentioned in the chapter. Cooked rice mixed with mung beans is called Mudganna and cooked rice, pepper, turmeric powder, cumin and mustard seeds are used to prepare a dish known as Haridranna. These are three possible variations of Khichdi as mentioned in the agama. Ancient Civilisation of Egypt Khichri is considered to be the ancestor of Egypt's national dish, koshary, which is made with rice, lentils and macaroni. "There's no doubt that the Egyptian koshary's ancestor is in fact the Indian khichri," says Clifford Wright, an American food writer and author of several cookbooks. The name and the ingredients are similar, he says. And khichri "is similar to mujaddara (another Middle Eastern comfort dish with rice and lentils), which can be traced back to the 10th century." Although it's likely that koshary got its macaroni much later, from the Italians, he adds. Early Visitors to India Rice was an unknown and distinctive grain to early European visitors. During his war in India (305-303 BC), the Greek monarch Seleucus reported that rice with pulses is particularly popular among the people of the Indian subcontinent. Aristobulus, one of Alexander’s comrades, wrote around 327 B.C. ‘Rice is an unusual plant that is grown in a flooded area.” Strabo (64 or 63 BC – 24 AD), a Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire, notes that Indian food mainly consisted of rice porridge and a beverage made of rice, presently called arak.
  • 18. pg. 18 Seleucus Alexander Aristobulus Strabo Khichdi’ was mentioned by travellers like as Ibn Battuta (AD 1300), Abdul Razzak (AD 1400), Afanasiy Nikitin (AD 1400) Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1600) and Francisco Balzac (AD 1800) in their works. "Munj (moong beans) is boiled with rice, then buttered and eaten. They called it kishri, and they ate it for breakfast every day.” This is what Moroccan scholar and explorer Ibn Battuta, who travelled to the Indian subcontinent in the 14th century, wrote in his chronicles after getting a taste of khichdi. Afanasy Nikitin, said that ‘khichdi’ was also served to horses. A Scottish recipe for kedgeree is found in a 1790 book by Stephena Malcolm and uses cayenne pepper. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a 17th-century French gem merchant and traveller, who came to India six times, noticed khichdi being prepared with green lentils, rice, and ghee and referred to it as "a peasant's evening meal." The Mughals It was immensely popular among the Mughals, particularly Jahangir. Akbar, a frugal eater, was also very fond of khichdi. According to food historian Pushpesh Pant, Akbar had it served to Prince Salim when he returned victorious from a campaign in Gujarat, and it was given the name lazizaan (the delicious) in the Imperial kitchen. A story about Akbar's courtier Abul Fazl and his connection to khichdi is intriguing. Every day, Fazl used to get 30 maunds (1200 kg) of khichdi cooked in Emperor’s kitchen. Anybody passing by his house could relish it. According to the Ain-I-
  • 19. pg. 19 Akbari, written in 1590 A.D., the ‘Khichdi’ cooked in Emperor Akbar’s kitchen contained equal amounts of rice, split mung lentils, ‘ghee,’ and a tiny amount of spices. The crucial thing to remember is that the ‘ghee’ used in it was sourced from the Haryana region of Hisar. The story Birbal’s Khichdi is used for the children as a lesson for appreciating the deserving people and their hard work. Once Akbar asked Birbal, “Tell me Birbal! Will a man do anything for money?” When Birbal said, “Yes”, the Emperor ordered him to prove it. The next day, Birbal came to the court along with a poor brahmin who was ready to do anything for the sake of money. It was the peak of winter season and the water was freezing. The Emperor ordered the brahmin to stand inside the frozen pond all through the night if he wanted money. The poor brahmin agreed and kept standing the whole night inside the pond, shivering badly. Next morning, he came to the durbar to receive his reward. The Emperor asked, “Tell me something! How could you stand in the freezing cold water all through the night?” The innocent
  • 20. pg. 20 brahmin replied, “Huzoor, I could see a faintly glowing light coming from your palace, a kilometre away. Looking at that light gave me imaginary warmth and strength to keep standing in the water.” Akbar declined to pay the brahmin his reward saying that he had got warmth from the light and this was cheating. The poor brahmin went away empty handed. Birbal tried to say something in the favour of the poor brahmin but the Emperor refused to listen to him. Soon after, Birbal stopped coming to the durbar and sent a messenger to the king stating that he would come to the court only after he has cooked his khichdi. When Birbal did not come to the court for five days, the Emperor himself went to Birbal’s house to see what he was doing. Birbal had lit the fire and kept the pot of khichdi one metre away from it. Akbar asked him “How will the khichdi get cooked with the fire one metre away? Are you in your senses, Birbal?” Birbal replied, “O’ Jahapanah! If it is possible for a person to receive warmth from a light that was a kilometre away, then it should also be possible for me to cook this khichdi a metre away from the fire.” Akbar understood his mistake. He called back the poor brahmin and rewarded him with gold coins. Emperor Jahangir was so fond of a spicy khichdi adaptation (enriched with pistachios and raisins - Gujarati variant of
  • 21. pg. 21 khichdi,) that he named it “lazeezan” (which translates to “the delicious”)! Jahangir, who used to eat dry fruits, mutton and various types of delicious dishes, would say to his cooks. ‘Take away these dishes. Today, I will eat Lazeezan. The Mughal era witnessed ‘khichdi’ taking on many forms. Even Aurangzeb, who rarely paid attention to food, was fond of the Alamgiri Khichdi, a spin-off featuring fish and boiled eggs. He used to have Khichdi during Ramzaan. Later. during the colonial era, this version of khichdi would go on to be called kedgeree by the British who took this recipe back to their country. By the 19th century, kedgeree had become a sophisticated breakfast/brunch dish in England that continues to remain popular even now. Bahadur Shah Zafar enjoyed eating Moong-ki-Dal Khichdi so much that the Dal came to be known as ‘Badshah Pasand’. British era Like all good ideas, khichri, too, seems to have spread to other parts of the world. The British liked it so much that they took it back home and created their own version – kedgeree, the popular breakfast dish made with cooked, flaked fish (traditionally smoked haddock), boiled rice, parsley, hard- boiled eggs, curry powder, butter or cream, and occasionally sultanas (a seedless grape variety). Lentils were omitted as the British were known to dislike them. A Scottish recipe for kedgeree is found in a 1790 book by Stephena Malcolm and uses cayenne pepper. Khichdi made its way to Queen Victoria too. She tasted it when her Urdu tutor, Munshi Abdul Karim, offered her some. But she fancied masoor ki dal mixed with rice as an accompaniment. This is how the lentil came to be known as "Malika Masoor" (Queen’s Red Lentil).
  • 22. pg. 22 "The Indian khichri becomes the Anglo-Indian kedgeree ... in the 17th century," says Clifford Wright, an American food writer and author of several cookbooks "Then it jumps across the Atlantic to New England, where it's made with rice, curry powder, and fresh cod," he says. By the nineteenth century, kedgeree evolved into a sophisticated breakfast/brunch dish in England. It is still popular today. Bengali khichuri Sona Moong khichuri Every Bengali mom can brighten up a rainy day with this khichuri made with bhaja moong dal. Often made as bhog or an offering during Durga, Lakshmi or Saraswati Puja, this rice and lentil dish is akin to risotto in global parlance. When not prepared as bhog, onions can be added to this dish to make it more sumptuous. It is both nutritious and light on the stomach. Since moong dal is easily digestible, it is commonly had in Bengali households as a relief food during stomach ailments. The khichuri is a hot favorite of Bengalis, especially when it is raining. The Bengali khichuri is generally paired with labra (a mixed vegetable dish), brinjal fry or fish fry. Here's the Bengali khichuri recipe.
  • 23. pg. 23 Some more varieties of Bengali Khichuri are: Bhuni Khichuri A richer version of the plain khichuri, it is made with Gobindo Bhog rice, moong dal, hot spices, bay leaves and ghee. Considered more of a polao in the family of khichuri, it is stir fried, a step involving roasting of the dal and frying the rice. “Bhuni khichuri, as it's often referred to, is a misnomer. Bhuni is a colloquial term made famous by the east Indians,“ said chef Sambit Banick. Often raisins and cashews are added to this khichuri that lends to it a distinct taste. Masoor Daler Khichuri Any kind of rice can be mixed with masoor dal (red lentils) to make this khichuri, which has a semi-solid consistency. Add to that turmeric powder, green chillies, ghee, round onions and fresh tomatoes. Considered `amish' or non-veg because of the mix of red lentils and onions, the khichuri is commonly had during monsoon days.
  • 24. pg. 24 What goes best with it? Ilish Bhaja, of course! Paila-Style Khichuri A combo of sticky rice, any variety of lentils, onions, ginger and garlic, saffron, hot spices, this khichuri is made with shrimps, sausages or small chunks of any meat and chicken stock. “It's a fusion food, which is fast gaining popularity. It is also my favourite as I can experiment with the meat” said chef Rongon Niyogi. He added that the khichuri is nutritious and can be treated as a wholesome meal. In Bengal, we can find many other versions of the Kichuri - such as: Til Khichuri: made with sesame seed paste and saffron, Malai Bhuni Kichuri: made with coconut milk and bak- tulsi variety of rice, Khejurer Khichuri: made syrup-soaked dates, nuts and thick cream) were being fine-tuned. Side dishes of Bengali Khichuri Labra : It is a stir fried mixed vegetable recipe, that tops the list of sides dishes with Khichuri
  • 25. pg. 25 Begun Bhaja: Portions of Brinjal cut into round or long slices, then fired with some simple spices. The skin is crispy and the flesh remains soft and plump. Other fired Veggies: Alu (Potatoe) Bhaja, Lau (Gourd) Bhaja, Kumro (Pumpkin) Baja Labra Begun Bhaja Alu Bhaja/ Kumro Bhaja Beguni & Peyaji : These are called telebajas - cut pieces of these vegetables, dipped in thick batter of Besan (Gram flour) with some spices, then firied in Mustard Oil. Ilish Bhaja: During monsoons, no bhaja-bhuji can compete with fried Hilsa served with a drizzle of Hilsa flavoured oil as a side dish of Khichuri. Alur Dom/ Bandhakopir Ghonto: These tradition bengali veg preparations goes very well with Khichuri. Chutney: Tomato chutney is must as a cooked dessert with Bengali Kichuri. Beguni & Peyaji Ilish Bhaja Tomato chutney
  • 26. pg. 26 Bhoger Khichuri Once every year, Maa Durga comes down from her heavenly abode to visit her parents for four days. She comes fully armed, atop her lion, and along with her four famous children. In this great festival of Maa Durga, why Bengalis offer her a humble broth of rice and lentils, (khichuri)? According to Markandeya Purana, spring was the time to worship Durga. Durga puja was, not surprisingly, also called Basanti puja. That was changed to autumn when the goddess was first worshipped on a grand scale by Bengal zamindars of the late 16th century. They probably understood that the Devi could become a goddess of the masses if only worshipped at the right time. In eastern India, autumn is the season of blue skies, golden harvests, happy hearts and prosperity. On the agrarian calendar, it is also the time for “nabanna utsab” or thanksgiving for “new rice,” until the commencement of winter. The one-pot dish of khichdi, as the prasad of the goddess, symbolises veneration for the first fruits of agrarian labour—the newly harvested rice and grain. Khichdi as Maa Durga’s bhog could have yet another meaning; as protection against diseases. Spring was for long the season of deadly pox epidemics in east India. Similarly, autumn was marked by cholera outbreaks. A light digestible food like khichdi has always been at the heart of traditional nutritional healing: for fast recovery during illnesses, for balancing all the three “dosha” (vatta, pitta, kapha) of Ayurveda and for providing protection against infections and diseases. According to Charaka Samhita, khichdi is both cooling and drying, it rests the digestive system, prevents ulcers and acidity, improves the liver. No wonder, it has been called a detox food, that cleanses the body.
  • 27. pg. 27 Khichdi lights up the digestive energy (agni), allowing the body to assimilate food while getting rid of the b toxins (ama). This everyday staple food crops up throughout Indian mythology. One such story is about God Shani’s love for khichdi made with black lentils. It is said that his mother, Goddess Chhaya, performed extreme penance when he was in her womb, going without food and water for days, and practising severe austerity under the blazing sun. This made the baby in the womb dark, but not before he inherited great powers due to his mother’s penance. For this reason, it is believed that Shani loves dark- coloured foods, especially khichdi! Best Khichuri Restaurants in Kolkata
  • 28. pg. 28 Khichdi Khichri 1/107, Metropolitan Cooperative Housing Society, Beliaghata Serves more than 25 varieties of Khichdi in earthen pots along with pickles and papad Cost for two : INR 200 Tero Parbon 49 C, Purna Das Road, Hindustan Park Serves authentic Bengali flavoured simple khichdi with a spoonful of ghee Cost for two : INR 200 Thakroon P 411/23 B, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay Sarani, Hindustan Park Serves a different khichdi combo that includes a portion of khichuri with brinjal fritters, scrambled eggs and chutney Cost for two : INR 120 Rajdhani Thali 21, Park Street Serves authentic Rajasthani flavoured khichdi with curry, papad and pickle Cost for two : INR 115 The Bhoj Company 30 A, free school street, New market area Serves Veg Bhuna khichdi and Bhuna Khichdi with mutton with side dishes like - aloo bhaja, prawn cutlet, bhetki fish fry Cost for two : INR 120 Mumbai Local 19, Ballygunge road Serves multi grain khichdi with papad, chutney Cost for two : INR 295 Monkey Bar 6, Camac Street The butter chicken khichdi is the best non-veg khichuri served in Kolkata Cost for two : INR 440 Bangladeshi – Bhuna Khichuri Khichuri is a very popular one-pot meal in Bangladesh. There are different kinds of varieties that are cooked and relished in different parts of the country. In Bangladesh Khichuri is either Veg or Non-veg using either moong dal (yellow lentil) or
  • 29. pg. 29 masoor dal (red lentil). while moong dal khichuri is thick in consistency, the masoor dal khichuri is runny. Both are popular, both are highly delectable. Coming to Bhuna Khichuri (also known as Bhuni Khichuri) is different. Bhuna Khichuri can be prepared with vegetables of choice (the vegetarian version) or with chicken, mutton or beef. The cornerstone of the dish is it’s spices - green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, a hint of nutmeg, mace, and black pepper. These spices are ground to a fine powder to infuse the dish with an intricate layering of flavors. In place of butter, mustard oil and ghee is used. The addition of thinly sliced onions caramelized to perfection, and a selection of whole spices including shah jeera, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves are used for it’s deep aromatic flavour. Fried cauliflower floret and peeled potato cubes are the only vegetable used in traditional Bhuna Khichuri. For No-Veg Khichuri, the meat is marinated, then sauted in Marinated oil with fried onion slices, till the meat is soft. The sautéed meat mixed with rice and lentils is then boiled for 10 minutes before adding fried onions and ghee and then cooked for another 20 minutes. Veg - Bhuna Khichuri Beef – Bhuna Khichuri
  • 30. pg. 30 Khichdi – it’s Regional Variations in India As ‘khichdi’ journeyed across India, it adapted and evolved, taking on regional flavors and characteristics. In the:  North: Pistachio/nut-laden Awadh khichdi was Royal khichdi, Haryanvi khichri (made with bajra), Kashmir’s sacrificial khichdi,  South: Tamilnadu’s Pongal variations (an array of aromatic renditions), Karnataka’s flavourful bisi bele bhat, Kerala’s Onam Sadhya Kichadi,  East: Bengal’s niramish khichuri, Odiya adahengu khechidi,  West: the Parsi bharuchi vaghareli khichdi (made using marinated and fried Bombay duck), Rajasthani khichdi (made with bajra) Khichdi ke chaar yaar- dahi, papad, ghee aur achaar’.
  • 31. pg. 31 Some varieties of Regional Khichdi and their Recipes From serving it as a baby’s first meal or Durga Puja’s bhog (food, that is first offered to a deity) to an easily digestible and nutritious meal for a sick person, khichdi is part of diverse occasions in the Indian culture. Based on this diversity of the same food, people started using the phrase: “Kya Khichdi paka rahe ho?” which means How many schemes are you making? Here are some varieties of khichdi from various parts of the country and their recipes. Rajasthani Bajra Khichdi The most popular Rajasthani khichdi is made of bajra and served with curd. Below is the recipe for the Rajasthani bajra khichdi, which is eaten across the state. Curd and pickle are its best companions. Hyderabadi Khichdi Keeme ki khichdi The imperial chefs of Hyderabadi Nizams had created the unique keeme ki khichdi — a spice-laden mix of rice, lentils and minced meat that was served with sour and soupy khatta. Khichda A famous delicacy in Hyderabad, prepared especially during Eid, khichda is a mixture of lentils and meat. A nonveg khichuri, it is often made with beef and is famous in the Metiabruz and
  • 32. pg. 32 Kidderpore areas. In Kolkata, the khichuri is reminiscent of the Lucknow cuisine brought to the city by Wajid Ali Shah and is made with short grain rice, stock of the beef and bone marrow et al. Robust spices are added to parboiled rice and cooked on slow steam. Tahiri A veg version of khichda, tahri too is of Hyderabadi origin and is often thought to be a vegetarian's answer to biryani. Tamarind and whole spices are used in tahri to add to its taste. It gained popularity, as khichda, for long, was not accepted by the Hindus. North Indian Khichdi Moong dal khichdi The moong dal khichdi has been a caring friend for people in the North whenever anyone is unwell. Easy to digest and nutritious, it tastes best served hot with pickle and papad. Mixed Dal (Matar & Arhar Dal) Khichdi Matar dal, mixed with any rice, tomatoes and ginger-garlic paste, must be tempered in cumin seeds and dry chillies with a 50-50 consistency. Arhar dal khichuri is made in the same process, but what brings to it a distinct taste is the addition of coriander leaves. Mixed dal khichuri is yet another form of the comfort food, which is more popular in north India. Made with egg plants and ladies fingers, this khichuri draws its taste from kasuri methi, a must for making it. Ghee, ginger-garlic paste and onion paste are the other ingredients for this variety of khichuri. Festival Khichdis Ven Pongal The king of the South! Ven Pongal is the savoury version of the famous Pongal. Curry leaves and cashews, it is one dish no one can say no to. It is one of the popular Naivedyam foods offered to the Gods. Ven Pongal recipe is given below. Sabu dana Khichdi In the late 1800s, the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore was going through a major famine. The then king Ayilyam Thirunal Rama
  • 33. pg. 33 Varma, and his brother Vishakham Thirunal Maharaja, who succeeded him, realised that the starchy tuber could help revitalise the population. But people were hesitant. Not enough was known about this strange tuber, and many were unsure about whether it was safe to eat. To help people trust the new food, Vishakham Thirunal Maharaja ordered that tapioca be cooked and served to him to eat. Then, in the aftermath of the Second World War, tapioca truly became a saving grace. In the midst of a rice shortage in the kingdom, it grew popular as a cheap and filling substitute. Today, Sabudana Khichdi is a popular dish in parts of Western India such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, & Gujarat, usually prepared during fast made during Navratri, Shivratri or Ekadashi. This Khichdi is made from soaked Sabudana or Sago or Tapioca Pearl. It’s preparation time is very long, since Sabudana needs 2-3 hours of soaking time in water before they are ready for cooking. One key ingredient of this dish is a bit of milk. This festival special is sticky in consistency. To turn it into a filling meal, one can add peas and other vegetables, along with green chillies, ginger and turmeric powder. Health Benefits of Khichdi  Khichdi is a balanced meal packed with carbohydrates, proteins, dietary fibre, vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium.  Meal for sick person – since it is easy to digest.  It is Good for Heart – since less oil is used in it’s preparation.  It is suitable for kids, weight loss and diabetic patients since it is Gluten free and easy for digestion. People with loose motion or stomach upset can get some relief.  Since turmeric is used in Khichdi, it is anti-inflammatory and aids healing cough and cold.  Combination of Daal makes Khichdi makes it protein rich food.
  • 34. pg. 34 Khichdi to Become the `Brand India Food' Bengalis always considered Khichuri to be their own!? But now, it seems like everyone else in the country is under the same impression. Khichuri is getting prominence as a nationally important dish or `Brand India Food'. For long, it has stood for sanctity and devotion when transformed into the sublime bhog. In its watery variety, it has been the comfort food for those suffering from stomach ailments and on rainy days, when combined with ilish bhaja, it has given one the experience of heaven on earth. Nov 2017, during World Food India 2017 event, arranged India Gate lawns, New Delhi, Chef Sajeev Kapoor and his team prepared 800 kilograms of Khichdi was cooked in giant kadhai (diameter 7 feet, capacity 1000 lts) Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor along with others cooking Khichdi in World Food India 2017
  • 35. pg. 35 Panta bhaat ‘Panta bhaat’, also known as ‘Kanji’, holds a significant place in Bengali culture, with references dating back to ancient scriptures like Chandimangal. During the humid months of ‘Jaistha’, the Baishanabas offer ‘panta’ to Radha Krishna, accompanied by yogurt, sugar, and vegetable curries, in a ritual known as ‘pakal bhog’. Additionally, on Dashami of Durga Puja, just before the conclusion of final rituals marking Maa Durga's departure, ‘panta bhaat’ is offered to the deity as well, symbolizing a cherished tradition deeply ingrained in Bengali customs. Its origins trace back centuries, with Friar Sebastian Manrique's 17th-century accounts shedding light on its pervasive presence among the populace. Across communities, from farmers to city dwellers, the simplicity of a meal comprising panta bhaat, salt, and green vegetables sufficed for sustenance. Moreover, beyond Bengal's borders, this dish finds appreciation in neighboring states like Odisha and Assam, where it takes on distinct forms. In Odisha, it's known as 'pokhala', while in Assam, it's affectionately called 'poita bhaat'.
  • 36. pg. 36 Panta bhaat traditionally hails from rural Bengal and finds its roots in the resourcefulness of farmers. Born out of the necessity to utilize leftover rice, it became a staple breakfast choice for those labouring in the fields. In the sweltering heat of summer, panta bhaat's cooling properties provided much-needed relief, making it an essential part of their daily routine. Besides being a culinary delight; ‘panta bhaat’ is a nutritional powerhouse. This fermented rice dish boasts a treasure trove of essential nutrients including potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and B. Delving into studies, researchers have unearthed its surprising health benefits, showcasing its superiority over warm rice. Is is gentle on the digestive system, offering relief to those grappling with gut issues like constipation or dysentery. Also, it acts as a hydrating agent, regulates body temperature, and keeps blood pressure in check. The literal meaning of Panta Bhat is “overnight steeped rice”, which is exactly what it is. The leftover cooked rice after dinner is left to soak in water over night. While a few hours of soaking suffice, an overnight soak lends a gooey texture and significantly boosts its nutritional value. Alongside the fermented rice, mashed potato, onion slices, green chili, a drizzle of mustard oil and a sprinkle of salt is added as simple side dish. Addition of charred red chilies, crispy fried fish, lentil fritters, papad, and an assortment of pickles are the best side dishes, that adds to the flavour of Pantabhaat. In places like Purulia, Bankura, and Birbhum, 'maacher twak' (a sour pickle-ish dish made with fish), a paste of poppy seeds, or poppy seed fritters are common sides for ‘panta bhaat’. Meanwhile, across the border in Bangladesh, ‘shutki maach
  • 37. pg. 37 bhorta’ (fermented dried fish mashed with spices) is a beloved accompaniment to this dish. Panta bhat retains its taste for 2-3 days before it starts to disintegrate and spoil. The water left over from ‘panta bhaat’ serves another purpose: it's used to concoct ‘amani’, a locally popular part-alcoholic beverage in rural Bengal. Panta Ilish Pohela Boishakh or Bangla Noboborsho, the first day of Bengali calendar is celebrated in Bangladesh and Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam by people of Bengali heritage, irrespective of their religious faith. It is the celebration of the Bengalihood, transcending the border between Bangladesh and India, rising above any religious differences. Traditionally Bengalis at home and abroad eat Panta Bhat (overnight steeped rice), Ilish (Hilsa Fish) and varieties of Bhorta to commemorate Pohela Boishakh.
  • 38. pg. 38 The Full Boishakh Feast: Ilish Bhaja, Panta Bhat, Five Types of Bhorta and Kolar Mocha Ghonto Ilish Bhaja is Ilish in its simplest form. A pinch of salt, a dash of turmeric, and a little rub. Then off it goes to be fried in simmering hot mustard oil. 3-5 minutes on each side until it's crunchy and golden brown. Enjoy it with hot steamed rice, panta bhat or alone.
  • 39. pg. 39 Bengal’s Sweets Who made Bengalis connoisseurs of sweets? The habitat of Indian Bengalees, West Bengal, surrounded by Assam, Bihar and Orissa and Bangladesh, is often remembered for its pioneering role in the flowering of Indian renaissance in 18th century. Kolkata has been a harbinger of many aspects of our life today from international trade, education, Industrial development....and food industry, specially for sweets where many new innovations have been made during the last three centuries under Muslim, Portuguese, Dutch and the British influence. The Bengali babus created an ambience that demanded creations of new items, which became the trademark of the creator. Bengal’s unapologetic sweet tooth is probably a result of once being the producer of the finest sugar in the world, beginning with the prized gur that gave it its ancient name Gauda. Since then the sweet story has come a long way. Bengali sweets are different from most sweets in the rest of India due to the use of chhana, the curdled milk, which is also call paneer or cottage cheese that was brought here by the Portuguese invaders. Origin of Sweets made of Channa Till the 16th century, Bengalis could not be termed as connoisseurs of sweets, as they were satisfied with simple dudh-chire (milk and flattened rice), dudh-lau (milk and gourd) and monda. Some country-made crude pulses (mung) and coconut products were also available. In the 18th century, some important changes came in the food habits of Bengalis. A large number of sweets, both fried and those soft ones made of posset or cottage
  • 40. pg. 40 cheese (chhana), entered Bengali cuisine. Many attributed the sudden development of the sweet industry in Bengal to the Portuguese. It is impossible to think of Bengali food without sweets made of posset or cottage cheese - Rossogolla, Pantua, Sandesh and Chumchum. They are inseparable parts of Bengali culture. But one does not find any mention of cottage cheese in Bengali texts till the 16th century, as among the Hindus curdling the milk to make posset and cottage cheese was considered improper. Cottage cheese made in Portugal is almost identical with the Bengali version of cheese (chhana), so many credit the Portuguese with importing cottage cheese to Bengal. The Portuguese introduced three types of cheese in Bengal: Cottage cheese, Bandel cheese and Dhakai paneer. However, one may attribute the improvement of Bengali confectionary in the 18th century to urbanization and the growth of a cosmopolitan urban culture. In this era, Murshidabad, Bardhhaman, Bishnupur and Krishnanagar on the western banks of Bengal, along with Dhaka and Natore in East Bengal, became major urban centres. Naturally, professional elite (bhadralok) populace grew up there, who were not satisfied with the simple country-made products and demanded more sophisticated food products. In the early 19th century, urban centres such as Janai, Shantipur and Barddhaman were becoming well known for specific sweets like raskara, moa and ola. But the sweets of Bengal owe a lot to the colonial powers like the Portuguese. For if they hadn’t taught us how to make chhana, Bengalis wouldn’t have learnt how to make sweets.
  • 41. pg. 41 Rasogolla Around mid-1600s, 20,000 Portuguese settled in Bengal. The Portuguese first arrived in Chittagong around 1528 and left in 1666 after the Mughal conquest. They were skilled in the art of preparing sweet fruit preservatives & were fond of cottage cheese. The Bengali sweet makers fired their imaginations & came up with an array of innovative products made out of cottage cheese (paneer or chena or chana). The sweet is known as Rasogolla in Bengali and Rasagola in Odia. In hindi speaking states it is Rasgulla - ras ("juice") and gulla ("ball"). In Nepal, Rasgulla became popular under the name Rasbari. Origin of Rasogolla – Bengal vs Odissa Many food historians believe Rasogolla, made from cottage cheese, was invented by Nobin Chandra Das (1845–1925) in 1868. He was known as ‘Nobin Moira’ (also known as 'Columbus of Rasogolla') of Bagbazar. In 1866, he set up his sweet shop on Chitpur Road (now known as Rabindra Sarani, Bagbazar) in
  • 42. pg. 42 Sutanuti. Nobin Chandra's ambition was not to run just a sweet shop but to create completely original sweets. It was sometime in the year 1868 that he was able to create a perfectly homogeneous spherical sweet that was both spongy and succulent with a unique and distinctive taste, through a novel method of processing the "chhana" in boiling sugar syrup. Nobin Chandra christened this creation the "Rasogolla" and a popular gastronomic legend was born. Bhagwandas Bagla, a Marwari businessman and a customer of Nobin Chandra Das, popularized the Bengali Rasgulla beyond the shop's locality by ordering huge amounts. Fifty years later, his grandson K C Das launched a commercial company by the name of K C Das and Co. which is a very famous chain of sweet shops till today. One Sept 18, 2015, West Bengal submitted the application for a GI (Geographical Indication) tag for the Rasogolla. November 2017, West Bengal received its GI tag. After this, a bitter fight ensued between the two states over the sweet’s origin, delicacy, both on social media and off it. The Odisha government initiated a move to get the Geographical indication (GI) status for their Rasagulla, made in a village Pahala and finally applied for the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for 'Odishar Rasagola' (Rasagola of Odisha), almost three months after West Bengal was awarded GI tag for 'Banglar Rasogolla'. The committee formed by Odissa govt refuted Bengal's claim that Rasgulla had reached Odisha under the influence of Shri Chaitanya. According to Asit Mohanty, an Odia research scholar on Jagannath cult and traditions, in Jagamohana Ramayana the
  • 43. pg. 43 sweet is mentioned as "Rasagola" and it also has references of many other sweets made from cheese found in Odisha, like Chhenapuri, Chhenaladu and Rasabali. Another ancient text Premapanchamruta of Bhupati also mentions that the cheese (Chhena) making process was well known in Odisha long before the Portuguese came to India. Tracing the origin of the sweet, the report claimed that the sweet was being offered to gods in mutts and temples for over 600 years. According to historians of Odisha, the Rasagola originated in Puri, as khira mohana, which later evolved into the Pahala Rasgulla. According to folklore, Pahala (a village on the outskirts of Odisha's capital Bhubaneshwar) had a large number of cows. The village would produce excess milk, and the villagers would throw it away when it became spoilt. When a priest from the Jagannath Temple saw this, he taught them the art of curdling, including the recipe for Rasagulla. Thus, Pahala went on to become the biggest market for Chenna-based sweets in the area. On July 29, 2019, following opinions from jurists and patent experts, including Chennai-based attorney P Sanjay Gandhi, who filed the present application on behalf of OSIC, the battle over the GI tag ended in a draw between Odisha and West Bengal. The GI tag for the same product to both the neighbouring states now recognizes two distinct varieties in taste and texture.
  • 44. pg. 44 Rasgulla Recipe  Total Cook Time: 50 mins  Prep Time: 10 mins  Cook Time: 40 mins  Servings: 2  Size: Medium Ingredients of Rasgulla  2 Litre low fat milk (Refrigerated overnight, boiled  1/4 cup lemon juice (mixed in 1/4 cup water)  1 tsp refined flour (maida) or semolina  4 cups thin sugar syrup (flavored with cardamom or rosewater) How to Make Rasgulla 1. Remove whatever cream that forms over the milk. 2. Bring to a boil, lower heat and add the lemon mixture gradually, till milk curdles. 3. Does not matter if you do not use up the whole solution. 4. Shut off the heat and leave mixture to rest for 5 minutes. 5. Drain off water and leave the paneer in a colander for at least 4 hours. 6. Mash paneer very smooth (no grains). 7. Add the flour/semolina and mash some more. 8. Bring 4-6 cups of water to a boil, and shape the paneer into balls (smooth ones, no cracks) in the meantime. 9. Transfer balls into the boiling water, cover with a tight- fitting cover and let cook till puffed up (about 20 minutes). 10. Let cool, squeeze out of the water, transfer to syrup, chill and serve.
  • 45. pg. 45 Varieties of Rasogolla Swati Swarup’s 170 flavours of Rasogolla: clove, tulsi, cinnamon, coriander, curry-pata, capsicum, tomato, strawberry, black currant, raspberry, green apple, orange, blueberry, litchi, banana, watermelon, pineapple, gundi-paan-shot, cappuccino, jeera, green chilli, pudina, kala-khatta, phuchka, dalchini, bub-blegum, Maggi, chocolate…..etc Baked Rasogolla Nolen Gurer Rasogolla Some famous Rasogolla shops in Kolkata Nalin Chandra Das & Sons Nalin Chandra Das & Sons has been in business since 1845. The store is close to Sealdah Train Station. Varieties of Rasgullas are found here, such as chocolate, but the orange-
  • 46. pg. 46 flavoured Rasgullas are their speciality. Address: No 313, Rabindra Sarani, Balaka Natun Bazar, North Dumdum, Kolkata-700006 Nobin Chandra Das & Sons Nobin Chandra Das is popularly known as the founder of Bengali Rosogolla. In 1866, he set up the sweet shop, Nobin Chandra Das at Baghbazar- Shobhabazar. Address: 77, Jatindra Mohan Avenue, Kolkata, 700005 Bhim Chandra Nag For more than 150 years, Bhim Chandra Nag has been serving Rosogolla. The closest metro station is Girish Park, and the store is close to Hedua Park. Address: 46, Strand Rd, Fairley Place, Barabazar Market, Kolkata-700007 Balaram Mullick & Radharam an Mullick The store, which serves desserts since 1885, is close to Triangular Park. The famous spongy Kolkata Rasgulla from Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick is produced from cow's milk and drenched in syrup made of sugar and
  • 47. pg. 47 cardamom. Clay pots are used to serve the Rasgullas. Address: 139A, Rash Behari Ave, Dover Terrace, Ballygunge, Kolkata-700029 KC Das K.C. Das has been serving it since 1868. KC Das fans regard this as the best Rasgulla in Kolkata. Esplanade is the closest metro stop to K.C. Das. Address: 124B, Opposite Kalighat Tram Depot, Kolkata-700026 Girish Chandra Dey & Nakur Chandra Nandy The store is close to College Street. In business since 1840. They are famous for their soft, spongy Rasgullas. Address: 56, Ramdulal Sarkar St, near Bethune College, Hedua, Kolkata-700006 Ganguram Ganguram is one of the Kolkata’s most distinctive chain of confectioneries. Park Street is the closest metro station to Ganguram. The shop sells many Rasgulla variants. Address: Everest House, 46C, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, Kankaria Estates, Park Street area, Kolkata-700071
  • 48. pg. 48 Chittaranj an Mistanna Bhandar This 116-year-old shop is famous for its spongy Rasgulla and is one of the best Rasgullas in the city. This sweet shop has been located in Shobha Bazar. Address: 34 B Raja Naba Krishna Street, Near Shyambazar Av School Hatkhola, Kolkata, 700005 Mithai - Sweet Bakery & Cake Shop Mithai is known throughout the city for its quality sweets, and its mastery of Rasgullas is accepted by everyone who has ever had tasted their sweet. Address: 18, Gariahat Road, Gariahat, Kolkata - 700019 Lyangcha Lyangcha is a Bengal’s sweat dish akin to Gulab Jamun - but it is a long in shape and softer inside. Lyangcha of Nabadwip, Tarapith and Shaktigarh in West Bengal and a village 'Simultala' in Jharkhand district is v famousery. Nabadwip's Lyangchas are of top quality and Lyangcha of Tarapith region in Birbhum district are very big in size - one shop in Tarapith is famous for his 3 ft Lyangcha.
  • 49. pg. 49 Lyangcha - Rs 10 each piece Lyangcha - Rs 5 each piece Lyangcha’s Origin - Burdwan or Krishnanagar? Currently Shaktigarh in Burdwan district claims all the credits with huge Lyangchas but the shops in Krishnanagar take a special pride in how “Lyangcha '' has travelled from Krishnanagar to Burdwan. The people in Shaktigarh claim that Khudiram Dutta, an artisan in Shaktigarh in Bardhhaman, had first made this sweat. district who used to make Pantua - a fried oval shaped sweet of huge sizes made of flour and chchana (cottage cheese- an ingredient common to most of the sweets in Bengal) dipped in sugar syrup. Lyangchas became popular when a British officer with disability of one leg, declared his great love for this sweat prepared by Khudiram Dutta. Since the crippled men are called “Lyangra” in Bengali, the sweat also became popular as “Lyangcha” and his maker Khudiram became known as “Lyangcha Dutta”. Khudiram Dutta started his first shop, Lyangcha Mahal in Shaktigarh. But today, there are some 5 shops by the same name and each trying to claim the authenticity.
  • 50. pg. 50 However, Narayan Sanyal in his historical novel “Rupamanjari” tells us a different story. Goutam Dhoni a noted journalist and correspondent of “Ekdin” a Bengali Daily, in an article in Nadia Darpan (a local Bengali Daily) brings to our attention how Lyangcha has travelled from Krishananagar (a town in Nadia District) to Burdwan. Dhoni thinks, as novelist Narayan Sanyal has also said in his novel “Rupamanjari”, the genesis of “Lyangcha” actually goes back to the matrimony alliance between the two seats of power in two different parts of present-day West Bengal. A matrimony alliance between the royal households of Krishnanagar and Burdwan is the genesis of “Lyangcha”. The story goes that a girl from the then Krishnanagar royal household was married to a son from Burdwan royal household. When she became pregnant, she lost her appetite and refused to eat any food. During this time when Rani asked her, she expressed a desire to eat a sweetmeat “Lyangcha” that an artisan from her maternal home used to prepare. The then ruler of Krishnanagar made arrangements to find out who prepared “Lyangcha'' but none of the Modaks/ Moiras - the Bengali confectioners, a caste group involved in preparation of sweets - in Krishnanagar seemed to be aware of Lyangcha. Apparently even the lady did not remember the
  • 51. pg. 51 name of the sweet. She had mentioned “Lyangcha” because the artisan who used to prepare this specific sweetmeat used to limp and walk. In Bengali “Lyangchano” means to limping. Finally, the Lyangra artisan was traced and summoned to the Krishnagar court. He was sent off to Burdwan. The Maharaja of Burdwan offered him land to settle in Barshul village in Burdwan so that he could prepare delicacies for the royalty. Lyangcha Hub in Shaktigarh Today, around 90 kms from Kolkata, on both sides of the expressway NH-2, near Barshul village there are some 30 - 40 “Lyangcha” shops with some special adjectives like “Adi” (meaning Original) “Bhabon”, “Kuthi” “Bhuban”, “Niketan”, “Palace”, “Mahal”, Hut, etc in the back. Among all the names, the one name that truly stands out is Lyangchapon (in Bengali apon means shop/ market). Crafted in a strange calligraphy at the entrance of the age-old sweet shop, famous for making Lyangcha using ghee brought from Bishnupur. Apart from Lyangcha, Sitabhog, Mihidana, Kochuri, Luchi torkari are also available in these shops. Each shop has appointed a few resources. the only job of these poor guys is to wave/shout and try to attract people for a snack in their shop and some pictures of some filmstar/ celebrity enjoying the same. It is a ritual for every Bengali to stop their cars or buses in one of his favorite shops, while passing by this area.
  • 52. pg. 52 On his way to Ausgram for the shooting of 'TE3N', the superstar Amitava Bachchan made a halt at Shaktigarh's Langcha Kuthi on December 11, 2015, -little did Big B know that he'd become the face of the sweet shop. Recipe of Lyancha Though the original recipe mentions Chchana, today Lyangcha is made from flour, milk powder (replacement of Chchana) and sugar. The flour and milk powder is thoroughly mixed with a sprinkle of baking powder; Then water is added slowly to make the dough. While kneading the dough ghee is added at constant intervals. After the dough is homogeneous and soft, it is kept for a few hours. Then the dough is divided into cylindrical shapes of sizes (defined by the price Rs 5, Rs 10 or more, not very common in the street shops). The Cylindrical pieces are deep fried in oil till the deep brown upper crust is formed. Then the pieces are dipped in rose or elaichi flavored sugar syrup for a few hours, before they are ready to be served.
  • 54. pg. 54 Street Foods Fuchka Fuchka, known by myriad names like Gol Gappe, Pani-Puri, Pani ke Batashe, and more, this crispy delight holds a special place in every Indian’s heart and taste buds. Imagine a crispy, hollow sphere, filled with the perfect blend of spicy potato goodness, and submerged in an aromatic concoction of jal jeera and meetha chutney – that’s the enchanting Pani Puri for you. Regional names of Fuchka The diversity of India finds its reflection in the myriad names of Pani Puri across the country. While the roots of this delectable delicacy have yet to be established with historical accuracy, one thing is certain: pani puri travelled across India and made the country fall head over heels in love with it. The combinations changed dramatically over time as each region evolved its own version based on its tastes. 1. Fuchka-Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • 55. pg. 55 2. Gol gappe- New Delhi, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. 3. Gup-chup-Odisha, parts of Bihar, Jharkhand Chhattisgarh, Hyderabad, and Telangana. 4. Pakodi-interior parts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh 5. Padaka- Aligarh 6. Pani ke patashe- Uttar Pradesh 7. Patashi- Central India, including parts of UP and Rajasthan 8. Phulki-Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Nepal 9. Tikki-Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh History of Fuchka Chaat, with its origin in North India, paved the way for the evolution of Fuchka/ Panipuri/Gol Gappa. As per culinary anthropologist Kurush Dalal, Gol Gappa has likely emerged from the larger Raj-Kachori, leading to its smaller version. Fuchka’s journey across India can be attributed to the 20th- century migration of people between regions. Draupadi created Pani-puri A captivating story about the origin of Panipuri, takes us back into Mahabharata, where Draupadi’s culinary genius shines. It is said that Kunti gave a challenge to her daughter in law, to feed her sons with food made out of scratch. Draupadi, being the iconic and intelligent women she was, while in exile, transformed leftover aloo sabzi and dough into the delectable
  • 56. pg. 56 Pani Puri. Legend has it that her innovation earned this dish the blessing of immortality from her mother-in-law, Kunti. Phulki in the Kingdom of Magadha In the historic kingdom of Magadha, along the banks of the Ganges, an early form of Pani Puri known as ‘Phulki’ existed. These miniature, crispier puris were akin to the modern-day Pani Puri. Although the exact filling remains a mystery, the influence of aloo sabzi (potato curry) is likely. Medicinal motive behind the Chaat Masala of Pain-puri In his book Digesting India: A Travel Writer’s Subcontinental Adventures with the Tummy, the humourist Zac O’ Yeah refers to an alternate origin story of the panipuri. In medieval times, the Yamuna was believed to be the cause, and carrier, of diseases. It was the royal physician at the imperial court in Delhi, he writes, who came up with the idea of a diet “rich in certain spices” to combat the virulent waters of the river. This disinfectant mix of spices and condiments supposedly birthed the “classic chaat masala” we know and love today. While attributing medicinal motive to chaat and Fuchka makes the theory more attractive, this story is most likely apocryphal. As stated by Pushpesh Pant, a renowned academic and food historian, seeking to locate the place and time of chaat’s conception is itself a flawed enterprise. In an interview discussing the history of Indian cuisine, Pant brushed away a question on the antecedents of panipuri as a misguided and fruitless inquiry. Perhaps he is right. Perhaps it is futile to attempt to isolate a single point of origin for such mercurial fare, every element of which is inconstant. While the origins of this delicious snack is yet to be pinpointed with historical accuracy, the one thing that is clear is that pani puri travelled across India and made the country fall head over heels in love with it. Over the years, the combinations underwent many changes as each region developed its own version according to its preferences.
  • 57. pg. 57 Epicurean delights were no more taboo. It became one of the most common and popular street food of the City of Joy. Bengal’s Fuchka The story of the Panipuri served by Draupodi has seeped so far into the Bengali’s consciousness that it inspired a Fuchka- themed Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata. Though, it is difficult to mathch this story of Pani puri with our Fuchka – particularly, since Draupadi, Kunti, and the Pandavas had seen a potato, which arrived on Indian shores only in the 17th century, courtesy of European traders. During Oct 2019, Behala Nutan Dal Club in Kolkata prepared a Durga Puja pandal in Tala Park on the theme of Puchka. The decorations have been done using Puchkas and Donas (plates made of leaf). 2.5 lakh Puchkas have been used in making this puja pandal. It took about 3 months and 30 artisans to build this pandal. Durga Puja pandal in Tala Park, Kolkata has done a theme based on the popular snack, Fuchka (pani puri). Origin of Bengal’s Fuchka The origin of Fuchka in Bengal is mired in mystery. One of the 16 ‘Mahajanapadas’, or ‘Great Kingdoms’, of ancient India, the Kingdom of Magadha, along the banks of the Ganges, corresponded to what is now called South Bihar, that later became part of Bengal residency. Both the Maurya and Gupta Empires had their origins in Magadha, and the region has fostered the birth and development of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Lively accounts of Magadh and its capital, Pataliputra, are available in the travel diaries of the Greek historian Megasthenes and the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims Faxian and Xuanzang.
  • 58. pg. 58 According to a legend, it first came into existence in the historic kingdom of Magadha at a time when several traditional specialities of the region, like chitba, pitthow, tilba and chewda of Katarni rice, were evolving. The culinary genius who invented them is lost in the pages of history; while the exact time frame of its existence is unclear, it reportedly existed prior to 600 BCE. This early form of Pani Puri known as ‘Phulki’- a word still used to refer to Fuchka in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Nepal today. Phulki in Magadha was not exactly the way we have it now. Phulkis were made with smaller, crispier puris than those used today. What they were initially filled with is unclear, though it is likely to be some variation of the aloo sabzi. Bengal’s Fuchka is unique- it is not same as Gol gappa, pani puri, pani ka pataasha, gup chup, tikki --- similar snacks that one gets in other parts of India. The name of this snack might have been derived from the word ‘phuch,’ the sound it makes when you take a bite. The unique feature of the Fuchka lies in the fact that it is made of whole wheat, unlike the other varieties, where the body is made of flour (maida) or semolina (sooji). The Fuchka water is also a lot more spicier and tangier than that used in the rest of the country. How To Make Fuchka Ingredients: Puri Sauce Filling 3 cups white peas
  • 59. pg. 59 1 cup unroasted semolina ¼ cup all-purpose flour 1/3 cup water 50-gram tamarind pulp 3 cups of water 1 tsp salt ½ tsp black salt 1 ½ tbsp ground roasted coriander 1 tbsp ground roasted red chili 1 ½ tsp ground roasted cumin 3 tbsp sugar 1 tsp lime juice 2 medium potatoes 2 tbsp chopped red onion 4-5 freshly chopped green chili 1 tsp ground roasted coriander 1 tsp ground roasted cumin 1 tsp ground roasted red chili 2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander ½ tsp salt to taste ½ tsp lime juice Method: 1. Mix semolina with ap flour very well using your hand 2. Gradually add water as you mix and knead while allowing the semolina to absorb the water 3. Once the dough has reached an elastic-like texture, cover it up with a moist cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes and make sure your dough is not too soft nor hard 4. Knead the dough again before cutting the dough in half and roll it out thinly flat using a rolling pin 5. Cut out into small round pieces using a cooking cutter 6. Deep dry and gently tap as it puffs up and lights golden in color 7. For the sauce, pour in tamarind pulp along with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil 8. Strain out the tamarind sauce into a clean bowl, add 1 cup of water, salt, black salt, coriander, red chili, cumin, sugar, and lime
  • 60. pg. 60 9. Mix the tamarind sauce and set aside 10. In a new bowl, add boiled white peas, boiled potatoes, red onion, green chili, ground coriander, cumin, red chili, fresh coriander, salt to taste, and lime juice along with a 2 tbsp of tamarind sauce 11. Ready to assemble your very own Fuchka and enjoy! Bangladeshi Fuchka Incidentally, Fuchka was not a ‘socially acceptable’ street food before Independence in former East Bengal. Those who enjoyed Fuchka were snubbed as ‘Ghoti’. But post 1947, Fuchka gained freedom from society’s judgmental stance and the Fusion food made its foray into the gastronomic universe. In a CNN report published in 2022, the Bangladeshi Fuchka, has been listed among Asia’s top 50 street foods. Other street foods featured in the list include Bun Kebab and Falooda
  • 61. pg. 61 (Pakistan), Asam Laksa (Malaysia), Jalebi (India), Khao Soi (Thailand), Kimbap (South Korea), Momos (Nepal), and so on. One gets two types of Fuchka in Bangladesh – Fuchka Soup and Dim Fuchka. As per food enthusists, the Bangladeshi Fuchka is completely different from the phuchkas we get in Kolkata. What makes Bangladeshi Fuchka’s magical appeal is that it has sogginess and crunchiness – both at the same time. The stuffing is a mixture of boiled potato, grated boiled egg, onion, chick pea and fresh chaat masala. Morich (Chilli) is a vital ingredient, which makes Bangladeshi Fuchka different from Kolkata Phuchka. Fuchka’s journey out of India & Bangladesh New York Origin of a Bengali Street Food in New York Naeem Khandaker believes he can see his future in Fuchka. He claimed he was the first person in America to sell the Bengali snack — crispy and orblike, sweet and spicy in a single bite — when he opened his street cart five years ago on a busy corner in Queens. Naem grew up in Khulna, in Bangladesh. He came to America as an international student in 2014 and was dismayed to see so many Bangladeshi people selling food from other countries — namely India — or selling Bengali dishes under non-Bengali names. Fuchka, in his eyes, was easy to love: spherical semolina shells, chipped open and filled with savoury potato, yellow peas, onion, chili and cilantro, Soggy and Crunchy, at the same time
  • 62. pg. 62 adorned with shavings of hardboiled egg, before being splashed with tangy tamarind sauce. For Khandaker, it was utmost important to call Fuchka by its name. “The first Fuchka cart in USA,” trumpets the sign on Tong, Khandaker’s business, on the northeast corner of 73rd Street and 37th Avenue. It was opened in 2008. His business idea and toil paid off. After lines began forming in front of Tong, other carts began sprouting down the block. Today, no fewer than eight Fuchka carts, with near-identical menus and similar design aesthetics, operate within a one-block radius of his original spot. Khandaker, has expanded his empire to eight carts across Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Jamaica, Queens. And with a business partner from Bangladesh, he has plans to bring Fuchka to other states in the form of Tong franchises. He is constantly contacted these days by people outside the city who have started, or are planning to start Fuchka businesses in upstate New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, even London and are seeking his advice. Another business owner might be stressed about the mimicry. “But I’m happy,” Khandaker said. “They are not ashamed to put a Bangladeshi name on a Bangladeshi store.”
  • 63. pg. 63 London Few Restaurants of Panipuri around London The Panipuri a popular street food of India is now served in several restaurants in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Leicester and Manchester. Few restaurants in and around London that are famous for serving Panipuri are: 1. Ashoka Chat House Ashoka Chat House bring a little taste of India by Indian Street Food & Drink in Proper London, 📞 07493 981 938 Unit 1-2, 105B Ealing Road, London, Wembley HA0 4BP 2. Bombay Cafe Dishoom Cold and crunchy, light and lovely. Puffed rice, Bombay Mix and nylon sev tossed with fresh pomegranate, tomato, onion, lime,
  • 64. pg. 64 tamarind, mint. 📞 020 7420 9324 Address: 7 Boundary Street, London E2 7JE (Covent Garden and Shoreditch) 3. Diwana Bhel Puri House Highly recommended for its tasty pani puri! 📞 020 7387 5556 Address: 121 Drummond Street NW1 2HL 4. GIFTO’s Lahore Karahi This restaurant’s vision is to give people in and around London a taste of the delicacies of Lahore Pakistan and, yes, it succeeds. Relish the yummy Pani puri here! 📞 020 8813 8669 Address: Gifto’s Lahore Karahi, 162-164 The Broadway, Southall, Middlesex. 5. Masala Zone Lentil and tamarind stuffed wholewheat biscuits; filled with spicy dressing. Mouthwatering dine. 📞 020 7386 5500 Address: 583 Fulham Road, London SW6 5UA 6. Sakonis Famous for its crispy puris, this is a must try! 📞 020 8903 1058 Address: 127 Ealing Rd, Wembley, HA0 4BP 7. Mumbai Dosa A pure vegetarian eatery that serves Indian street food dishes. 📞 07828782988
  • 65. pg. 65 537, Unit 9, High Road, Wembley, Brent, United Kingdom HA0 2DJ 8. Kolapata Small Bangladeshi average quality family restaurant. Address: 222 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BJ England
  • 66. pg. 66 Jhalmuri Bengal has always seen the tradition of evening snacks be it the aloor chop, beguni, chingro chop, mochar chop etc; these telebhajas to chop cutlets as collectively referred has shaped the Bengali jol khabar or evening snacks. One such snack that goes beyond time and can be enjoyed any time of the day is Jhalmuri. Jhalmuri (ঝালমুড়ি), is a savoury mix street food popular in the Bengali, Bihari, Odia cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. At every nook and corner of Kolkata you will find one Jhalmuri wala. Jhalmuri is not just a snack; it is a cultural icon that embodies the vibrant and diverse flavours of the region. The term "Jhalmuri" is derived from two Bengali words: "jhāl" meaning spicy and "muri" meaning puffed rice. Jhalmuri is made of Muri” and an assortment of Indian spices, boiled potatoes, diced tomatoes, onions, some seasonal vegetables, crunchy peanuts, sliced fiery chilies, chanachur and a hint of raw mustard oil. Finally, topped off with the fragrant touch of coconut, fresh coriander, and the timeless crunch of evergreen bhujia. "Jhal," translates to spicy and hot in Bengali - the spicy heat is derived from the chilies and/or the amalgamation of spices, giving this snack its vibrant name. Origin of Jhalmuri in Bengal Jhalmuri traces its roots to the state of West Bengal in India, particularly the bustling city of Kolkata. This iconic street food
  • 67. pg. 67 first gained popularity in the late 19th century when the British colonial presence in India was at its peak. As per Pritha Sen. food writer and historian “The origin of jhal muri is in Calcutta started by Bihari migrant workers when the metropolis was growing as the capital of the British Empire in the subcontinent and in Undivided Bengal. It was probably carried to Bangladesh by Muslim Bihari settlers who moved post-Partition – in 1947.” During World War II, Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta) played an important role in the military operations during the war. There was a large influx of labour from East Indian states like Bihar, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh, who came to the city during the emergence. The migrant workers saw the business potential in selling it as a snack to British soldiers American GIs and the Bengali babus. These migrant workers, primarily from Bihar, were instrumental in making it common as a street snack. The recipe was a combination of the Bengali and Bihari palette and eventually became Kolkata’s own. However, these migrant workers were not the first to invent the recipe, or even to bring it to Kolkata. Due to muri's long history in South Asian cuisine, it's difficult to pinpoint the exact moment muri was first drenched in such fiery and titillating flavours and took on a life of its own in Bengal. Muri has somehow just always existed in Bengalis’ food menu. It had been consumed in different variations and was eaten often. "[The] point is, muri has been a staple in Bengal from time immemorial, often acting as a [preserved] substitute for rice [during lean periods],"as per Pritha Sen. Saira Hamilton chef and author of Cookbook agreed: "Rice in Bangladesh is used for absolutely everything – desserts, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I imagine one day someone wondered what else we could use it for."
  • 68. pg. 68 Jhalmuri as Street food in West Bengal Jhalmuri, as we like to eat today, became popular as a street food during World War II. 'Jhal muri' tastes best when eaten out of a newspaper bag - packed in a newspaper cone called a thonga and mixed in a steel shaker or a modest plastic mug (a small pitcher), it's generally sold at the affordable price of Rs 10-20/ per thonga. Thongas are both portable and practical – used both as a bowl and later as a napkin to wipe spicy seasonings off one's hand. Rectangles of cardboard or magazine paper are usually supplied as a scoop. Since single portions are made to order, As per Hamilton, "There's [also] this sense of it being a personal gesture, like, 'I've done this just for you'," The jhal-muri wallah is often as much of a draw as the snack, with some vendors commanding cult followings As per Arnab Mitra, an Indian entrepreneur and extensive traveller: "An established muri-wallah is famous. And he knows it,…Typically, he'll be wearing a lungi (an Indian men's sarong). He may be shirtless or clad in a vest, yet he has a certain self- assuredness about him, as if he's saying, 'Here I am, this simple
  • 69. pg. 69 dude. But you will stop your Mercedes and come eat from me, because I can turn simple ingredients into magic.'" A 'muri' vendor on Kolkata's Camac Street While vendors have their own recipes, they will occasionally ask a favoured customer for specifications. The question that separates the muri amateur from the champion, is a single word, a test of strength and resilience, what separates the children from adults: “Jhaal?” Or, “how much spice can you handle?” Like most street food in India, Jhal muri transcends social barriers – everyone from upper crust Bengali babus to rikshaw pullers love it. It works as a light snack between meals, an accompaniment to afternoon tea.
  • 70. pg. 70 Fair warnings:  Street food will never taste as good as when made on the streets.  Do not ever eat Jhal muri with a spoon. Some muri-wallahs command an almost cult-like following due to their signature spice blend, with everyone from students to office workers queuing up for a fix. Various styles of Jhalmuri in India Bhel puri in Mumbai, Orissa and Assam, churumuri in Karnataka and chatpatay in Nepal all closely resemble the beloved Jhalmuri of Bengal. A flavourful mishmash of murmura (puffed rice), sev, spices, and some delicious chutneys, bhelpuri has been winning hearts and satiating our mid-meal hunger since time immemorial. Bhelpuri According to food critic Vir Sanghvi's 'Rude Food: The Collected Food Writings Of Vir Sanghvi', the origin of bhelpuri is a matter of dispute. "Legend has it that the dish was invented not on Chowpatty beach, but at a restaurant called Vithal, near Victoria Terminus railway station," he writes. Further explaining the story behind its complex flavours, Vir Sanghvi states, "It was the contribution of the city's (Mumbai's) Gujaratis who recognized the potential for
  • 71. pg. 71 complex flavours in the sweaty simplicity of North Indian chaat." However, an article on the Incredible India website (www.incredibleindia.org) reads that the chaat is believed to have been first made in the "kitchens of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan when his doctor advised him to eat light and spicy foods". Regardless of its exact beginnings, one thing is clear - Bhelpuri is an iconic Indian street food that showcases a diverse array of flavours and regional twists that unfailingly bring joy to taste buds all over the nation. The 3 Major Variations of Bhelpuri Bhelpuri from Mumbai: Bhelpuri is all about flavours. Soft but firm potatoes, crunchy sev, crispy murmura, and small pieces of onions, all mixed together with khatta-mitha chutney and some spices, the dish tastes the best when fresh (otherwise it gets soggy). Jhalmuri from Bengal: When bhelpuri travelled to Bengal, it got a local makeover with strong and aromatic mustard oil in it. Here, the chutneys were replaced with a mix of roasted masala and included roasted peanuts, sprouted chana, slices of raw mango, ginger, chilli, etc. for added crunch and flavour. And the dish was named Jhalmuri, which means hot-and-spicy murmura. Churumuri from Karnataka: While travelling to the South, the flavours of bhelpuri got lighter and concentrated more on the texture. In Karnataka, the dish is called churumuri and includes murmura, with some sev, boiled chana, roasted peanuts, and some salt and lemon juice. Some also add ghee, onion, and tomato for added flavour. Click here for the recipe.
  • 72. pg. 72 While all three variations have their own set of fanbases, bhelpuri reigns supreme. If you look into it closely, today you will find bhelpuri holding a fixed spot on the streets of Mumbai, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, and various other states. Whereas, Jhalmuri and churumuri are majorly restricted to the local palates of the respective regions. Bangladeshi Jhalmuri Combining two of Bangladesh's greatest loves – rice and spice – jhal muri by street-side vendors has cult followings. “Rice in Bangladesh is used for absolutely everything – desserts, breakfast, lunch and dinner Saira Hamilton, a food enthusiast and author of My Bangladesh Kitchen, born to first-generation immigrants from Bangladesh in the UK. Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith, a 213 episodes video program that was the winner of The Guild of Food Writers' Best Broadcast or Podcast Award 2022 and was shortlisted for Fortnum and Mason Best Podcast 2022 and 2024, is one of creation. According to her view, one of the nation's most iconic snacks, jhal muri is a spiced puffed rice salad (jhal means hot in Bangla; and muri, also called moori or murmura, is puffed rice) that
  • 73. pg. 73 combines two of Bangladesh's greatest loves: rice and spice. (The third, of course, is fish.) "I think it's fair to say jhal muri is a street-food classic found all over Bangladesh. It's very vibrant in taste and truly speaks to the predominant palate," said Hamilton. In her cookbook, My Bangladesh Kitchen, the humble snack stands proudly as the first recipe – a quintessential Bangladeshi culinary experience. It is firmly rooted in the tapestry of food cultures in Bangladesh, featuring prominently in both daily life and auspicious occasions such as the iftar meal during Ramadan for Muslims or the Puja period during Durgapuja for Hindus. The bland muri gets the signature Bangladeshi fireworks – the "jhal" in jhal muri – from a smorgasbord of explosively hot and sour ingredients. Green chillies, red chilli powder and channa chur (a popular spicy snack mixture with dried and fried lentils, peanuts and chickpeas) provide nose-watering heat. Table salt, sendha namak (Himalayan pink salt) or kaala namak (kiln- fired, sulphurous black salt) are used – sometimes all together – for seasoning, supplemented copiously with lime juice and tamarind water to bring the mouth-puckering sharp, tangy flavour. Mint, coriander and finely diced onions, along with cucumbers (and, occasionally, tomatoes), give jhal muri its crisp tartness and garden-fresh aroma. And of course, a generous drizzle of Bangladesh's omnipresent mustard oil brings everything together. As per Pritha Sen, a food writer and historian, “The origin of jhal muri is in Calcutta started by Bihari migrant workers when the metropolis was growing as the capital of the British Empire in the subcontinent and in Undivided Bengal. It was probably carried to Bangladesh by Muslim Bihari settlers who moved post-Partition – in 1947.” "[The] point is, muri has been a staple in Bengal from time immemorial, often acting as a [preserved] substitute for rice [during lean periods],"explained Sen. Hamilton agreed: "Rice in Bangladesh is used for absolutely everything – desserts, breakfast,
  • 74. pg. 74 lunch and dinner. I imagine one day someone wondered what else we could use it for." What sets Bangladeshi jhal muri apart, however, is the ratio of wet to dry ingredients and Bangladesh's enthusiastic embrace of intense spice. "It's heat you feel in your nose, not your throat," Hamilton said. Some locals believe the piquancy triggers a sweating response and helps them cool off in sweltering humidity. For many Bangladeshis though, part of the charm of visiting the jhal muri-wallah (vendor) lies in the theatricality. "Ingredients are put into a steel shaker with a lid, and then dramatically shaken and banged on the tray until they're mixed together, with all the aplomb of a fancy mixologist in a cocktail bar," Hamilton said. Since single portions are made to order, "There's [also] this sense of it being a personal gesture, like, 'I've done this just for you'," she said. Some muri-wallahs command an almost cult-like following due to their signature spice blend, with everyone from students to office workers queuing up for a fix. Arnab Mitra, an Indian entrepreneur and extensive traveller, has sampled variants of the snack in more than 20 cities across four countries. He says jhal muri in Bangladesh's second largest city, Chittagong, is the spiciest – and noticed a unique phenomenon he terms "the muri-wallah's swag".