Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Classifying Bengali Cuisine


Recommended Posts

Hi Guys,

Me a new member.I have been researching on macro-micro reginal cuisines of India.How many types of cuisine does Bengal or for that matter Bangla have?(Ghoti and Bangal types r at a general level but what abut regional level cuisines?)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Guys,

Me a new member.I have been researching on macro-micro reginal cuisines of India.How many types of cuisine does Bengal or for that matter Bangla have?(Ghoti and Bangal types r at a general level but what abut regional level cuisines?)

as for the granularity of bengali food the distinctions i am aware of are the east-bengal/west-bengal distinctions on the one hand (these would be regional-cultural); these are each doubtless themselves sliced further in terms of religion and caste. there are probably distinctions on a number of different axes but i am not aware of any formal taxonomy. then there's the whole question of bangladeshi food, which despite being in the territory of former east-bengal is not coterminous with the east-bengali food of west-bengal.

once again your best bet would be the long-absconding v.gautam.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mongo--- I guess not much has been written abut the diversities in cuisine of Bengal/Bangla.Probably districts like Birbhum or Midnapur will have certain tribal cuisines which even die hard bong foodies are not aware off.I dont want to include the district of Darjeeling as its culture/cuisine is really very very different.Still lot to explore.BTW any place where i can contact Mr. Gautam?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Mongo--- I guess not much has been written abut the diversities in cuisine of Bengal/Bangla.Probably districts like Birbhum or Midnapur will have certain tribal cuisines which even die hard bong foodies are not aware off.I dont want to include the district of Darjeeling as its culture/cuisine is really very very different.Still lot to explore.BTW any place where i can contact Mr. Gautam?

well, at the risk of veering way off topic (though when has this ever stopped me?):

i don't know about including tribal cuisines in a taxonomy of "bengali" cuisine; given the ways in which tribal cultures all over indian have run parallel to the mainstreams suddenly yoking the tribes in bengal into a "bengali" identity begs all kinds of other questions. the first question would be whether you are defining "bengali" just in geographic terms? as in anyone who lives within the boundaries of the current state of west bengal. if so, you might include various tribes as well--as also calcutta marwaris etc. however, if you are defining "bengali" culturally i don't know that tribes like the sabars and santals think of themselves as "bengali" or are thought of that way by people who do think of themselves as bengali.

also given the state of most tribal groups in bengal, assam and bihar (and probably elsewhere as well) talking about tribal "cuisine" may seem a little obscene.

as for gautam: look for posts by v.gautam and send him a p.m. if his p.m alert is still being sent to a valid email address he'll probably respond. the man is an encyclopedia on the cultural history/geography of bengali food.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 weeks later...
Hi Guys,

Me a new member.I have been researching on macro-micro reginal cuisines of India.How many types of cuisine does Bengal or for that matter Bangla have?(Ghoti and Bangal types r at a general level but what abut regional level cuisines?)

mongo_jones is right, the two most well-known broad categories are "ghoti" (west bengal/calcutta) and "bangal" (bangladesh/east bengal/dhaka).

Then there is also the Bengali Hindu and Bengali Muslim cuisines. "Rezala" (both Chicken and Mutton) is one of the more well-known dishes of Bengali Muslim cuisine.

Inside of Bengali Hindu cuisine, there is also the "Baishnab" (followers of Vishnu) cuisine, which is generrally speaking vegetarian. The Bengali Hindu widows tradtionally have another category of cuisine -- vegetarian, no onion, no garlic etc.

You can categorise it by subregions as well, like always. And as usual, there never is a hard line of demarcation between these various cuisines.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Sheel
      Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it. 
      For the balchao paste you will need:
      > 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
      > 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
      > 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
      > 1/2 tsk turmeric powder 
      > 1 tsp peppercorn
      > 6 garlic cloves
      > 1/2 tsp cloves
      > 1 inch cinnamon stick
      > Vinegar 
      First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
    • By Deeps
      This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish.  Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries.
      Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results.
       

       
      Prep Time : 5 mins
      Cook Time: 5 mins
      Serves: 2
       
      Ingredients:
      1 cup rice(basmati), cooked
      1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated
      1 green chili, slit
      1 dried red chili
      1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter)
      1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
      1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
      1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas)
      1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram)
      1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
      A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
      Few curry leaves
      Salt to taste
       
      Directions
      1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish.
      2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned.
      3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well.
      4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame.
      5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
    • By loki
      Sweet Eggplant Pickle

      This is an Indian pickle, some would call a chutney, that I made up from several sources and my own tastes. It is based it on my favorite sweet brinjal (eggplant here in the US) pickle available commercially. It has onion and garlic, which are often omitted in some recipes due to dietary restrictions of some religious orders. It also has dates which I added on my own based on another pickle I love. I also used olive oil as mustard oil is not available and I like it's taste in these pickles. Use other oils if you like. This has more spices than the commercial type - and I think it's superior. I avoided black mustard seed, fenugreek, and cumin because almost all other pickles use these and they start to taste the same. One recipe from Andhra Pradesh used neither and I followed it a little. It's wonderful with all sorts of Indian foods - and also used for many other dishes, especially appetizers.
      SPICE MIX (Masala)
      4 Tbs coriander seeds
      3 hot chilies (I used a very hot Habanero type, so use more if you use others)
      18 cardamom pods
      2 inches cinnamon
      24 cloves
      1 1/2 Tbs peppercorns
      MAIN INGREDIENTS
      1 cups olive oil
      4 inches fresh ginger, minced fine, about 1/2 cup
      6 cloves garlic, minced
      1 large onion finely chopped
      3 lb eggplant, diced, 1/4 inch cubes
      1/2 lb chopped dates
      1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
      2 cups rice vinegar (4.3 percent acidity or more)
      2 cups brown sugar
      2 Tbs salt
      2 tsp citric acid
      Spice Mix (Masala)

      1. Dry roast half the coriander seeds in a pan till they begin to brown slightly and become fragrant - do not burn. Cool.

      2. Put roasted and raw coriander seeds and all the other spices in a spice mill and grind till quite fine, or use a mortar and pestle. Put aside.

      Main Pickle

      1. Heat half the oil and fry ginger till slightly browned, slowly.

      2. Add garlic, onion, and half the salt and fry slowly till these begin to brown a bit too.

      3. Add eggplant, turmeric, and spice mix (Masala) and combine well. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

      4. Add rest of ingredients, including rest of the salt and olive oil and heat slowly to a boil.

      5. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add a little water if too thick - it should be nearly covered with liquid, but not quite - it will thin upon cooking so wait to add the water till heated through.

      6. Bottle in sterilized jars and seal according to your local pickling instructions. This recipe will be sufficiently acidic.
    • By loki
      Sour Tomatillo Achar

      Made this one up from a recipe for lemons. It really works for tomatilloes. A unique spice mix, and really sour for a 'different' type of pickle, or achar. It is based on a Marwari recipe - from the arid north-western part of India. Tomatilloes are not used in India (or at least not much) but are quite productive plants in my garden while lemons or other sour fruits are not possible to grow here. No vinegar or lemon juice is used, because tomatilloes are very acidic and don't need any extra.

      Ingredients
      3 lbs tomatilloes husks removed and quartered
      1/4 cup salt
      1 Tbs black mustard seeds
      2 star anise buds
      10 dried chilies (I used very hot yellow peppers)
      1 tsp fenugreek seeds
      2 inch ginger (ground to a paste)
      2 TBL dark brown sugar
      1/2 cup sugar

      1. In a large bowl, put the tomatilloes and sprinkle salt over them. Cover it and leave for a day, mixing occasionally.

      2. Next day drain the tomatilloes.

      3. Dry roast the star anise (put in first as these take longer, the black mustard, and the chilie pods (add last and barely brown in places). Cool.

      4. Grind the roasted spices with the fenugreek and put aside.

      5. Add tomatilloes, ginger, sugars, and everything else to a large pan and heat to boiling.

      6. Cook till fully hot and boiling.

      7. Fill half-pint jars and seal.
    • By rxrfrx
      South Indian Style Broccoli
      Serves 2 as Main Dish.
      Broccoli isn't a traditional Indian vegetable, but I designed this recipe to use up leftover boiled broccoli in the style of cauliflower.

      3 c broccoli, cut up and cooked
      3 T oil
      2 T cumin seeds
      2 tsp tumeric
      2 tsp corriander powder
      2 green chilis, sliced thinly
      1/2 c chopped cilantro
      salt, to taste

      Fry the spices in the oil until they smoke a little. Add the broccoli and chilis and fry for a couple minutes to get the flavors mixed. Add salt to taste and stir in the cilantro before serving with chapati.
      Bonus recipe: just before adding the cilantro, crack 2-4 eggs into the pan and stir them around.
      Keywords: Main Dish, Side, Easy, Vegan, Vegetables, Indian
      ( RG2107 )
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...