Bengal’s culinary scene is rich, vibrant, and ever-rewarding for any food connoisseur. It isn’t just in traditional kitchens or legendary restaurants where you’ll witness the dynamism of Bengal’s cuisine – the city’s street food culture is a world unto itself. And, one of the leading representatives of this rich and dynamic culinary is bhorta.

Also Read: Alu Tarkari: Delectable Bengali Potato Curry

Bengali cuisine features a wide range of bhorta meals cooked using a variety of ingredients. It’s really difficult to withstand any kind of bhorta. They are all made with similar methods, using ingredients that are either boiled, steamed, or even fried, and they are all incredibly delicious. But the dearest bhorta, among all the bhortas, is the Aloo Bhorta.

Aloo Bhorta is quite similar to Aloo Paliya, which is served with a Masala Dosa. There are other names for the same mashed potato dish from different Indian regions, including Aloo Bharta, Bhorta, Chokha, and bhaate (from Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, and other states). Mashed potatoes are spiced and flavoured differently depending on the region, state, family, and personal choice. 

Nothing could be easier than mashing together some boiling potatoes and adding some seasoning. Aloo bhorta is a classic comfort dish in Bengali culinary culture which is served up with hot steaming white rice. Every once in a while, Aloo Bhorta or even other bhorta recipes are tempting and definitely worth a cosy meal on lazy weekends. 

Aloo Bhorta 

Up until the 16th Century, the potato was only native to Peru and was not found anywhere else. Christopher Columbus’ explorations opened up other sections of the world and its bounty, resulting in the Columbian Exchange. As a result, the potato was able to move from its original location and over oceans to almost every continent in the world.

The Portuguese and Dutch settlers who first came to India were the ones who brought potatoes with them. However, the impact of potatoes at that time was modest and gradually expanding. As the popularity of potatoes expanded throughout time, they were being cultivated all over Bengal and in the highlands of northern India by the 19th Century.

Here’s the recipe for Aloo Bhorta. 

Ingredients:

    3 medium-sized potatoes boiled and grated

    4 cloves of garlic

    5 dry red chilies

    ½ cup finely chopped onion

    1 small roughly chopped onion for frying

    2 tablespoon mustard oil

    ¾ teaspoon salt

    ½ cup chopped coriander leaves

    2 tablespoon ghee

Method:

1.    Boil potatoes and grate them evenly.

2.    Heat mustard oil in a small pan till it starts to smoke.

3.    When the smell of oil reduces, add chopped garlic and dry red chilies.

4.    Fry for a few minutes until the garlic is golden brown.

5.    Then cool and grind to a smooth paste.

6.    In the same pan fry, add the chopped onion. 

7.    Fry until soft and light brown.

8.    Take a large bowl and add grated potatoes, garlic and red chilli paste, fried onion, 1/2 cup finely chopped raw onion, chopped coriander leaves, and salt 

9.    Mix well till fully combined, taste and adjust the salt.

10.    Serve warm with ghee on top.