Actress Anushka Sharma turned vegan a few years ago. The actress may have given up on meat, but she never quite quit being a total foodie. If you have been following the actress on social media, you would know how she loves relishes on a variety of food, whether it is the Sindhi Aloo Tuk or a big slice of pizza. Couple of weeks ago, she also shared a reel where she was seen making tomato jam from scratch, now that is some dedication right? On Monday, she posted a picture of something that spells comfort for millions of Bengalis out there.  

Contrary to popular belief, Bengali cuisine is not all fish and meat, there are plenty of ‘niramish’ or vegetarian options that can command your attention too. Think: Dhokar Dalna, Aloo Potoler Dolma, Khichuri et al. Anuskha too savoured a plate of Panta Bhaat, Begun Bhaaja, Aloo Sheddho, Peyaji  which were served with a diced onion and a green chilli.  

Panta Bhaat, which literally translates to soaked rice is a traditional Bengali food where cooked rice is soaked in water and fermented overnight, and later relished with chillies, fritters, and/or fish. Often considered the meal of the modest man, Panta Bhaat, is actually one of the meals that has been popular across all strata of society. Traditionally, the leftover rice is allowed to soak in water and ferment overnight. This softened and fermented rice is consumed the next day with items mentioned above. Since Bengalis give rice much importance, wasting it was considered improper. Panta Bhaat is also known to have several health-benefiting properties. It is supposed to keep your tummy light and clean. Across East India, you would find various versions of Pantha Bhaat, like the Poita Bhaat of Assam, or Pakhala of Odisha.  

Panta Bhaat is also popularly consumed on the day of Poila Boisakh or Bengali New Year. One of the classic ways to perk up your simple Panta Bhaat is to add some roasted, dry red chillies. The hotness from the chillies is just the right amount of drama required in this mild dish, just make sure you do not go overboard, you do not want to burn your tongue with the heat of chillies. As we said, Panta Bhaat is a classic comfort food and thus it should not become the reason of your discomfort. 

This brings us to another classic Bengali favourite, Aloo Sheddho. Aloo Sheddho is essentially Bengali mashed potatoes spiked with mustard oil, chopped onions and green chillies.

It is aptly spicy, creamy and wholesome to be paired with rice and some fritters like Begun Bhaja, fritters made with sliced eggplant coated in red chilly powder and salt.  

How many of these Bengali foods have you tried? Do let us know in the comments below.