In many ways, Bengali cuisine is like its Goan counterpart – they love their fish and rice. To celebrate the similarities and differences, Cidade de Goa is bringing iconic dishes from the land of maach (fish) and bhaat (rice) to the land of xit-kodi (rice and curry).
Here are four of Bengal’s most popular dishes that will find their way to the sea-side tables at Cidade de Goa’s Cafe Azul between April 7-15.
Sukto is found on typical lunch menus in Bengal, and will appear almost compulsorily on festive and celebratory occasions. It’s a well-loved dish despite its bitterness, a taste that comes from its variety of vegetables like bitter gourd and eggplant, and minimal spices. Tomatoes, cauliflower and cabbages find no place in this dish.
Cholar dal with luchi
This is what one might call a ‘fancy dal’ that appears on dining tables for special occasions like Durga Pujo or weddings. It’s made with the halved kernels of chickpeas and sings of hints of mustard oil, taken to another level with its garnish of fresh fried coconut shavings. It tastes best served with hot luchi or puris made with refined flour.
Bengalis the world over quiver with excitement simply from the aroma this dish emits. It’s what home smells of. The thick spicy stew – eaten with rice – derives its vibrant red colour from the fresh tomatoes that form its base. It is most often made with fish (and then called maacher jhol), but for special occasions – like Sunday lunch with the family – mutton is king.
There is no doubt that this sweet dish is the one most associated with Bengal. It’s name literally means ‘juice ball’, referring to the sweet sugary syrup enveloping little round balls of chhena (Indian cottage cheese) and semolina. The modern rossogolla is said to have been perfected by Nobin Chandra Das in 1868.