Beyond Mishti And Maach: Exploring Bengal's Sheherwali Cuisine
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When we mention Bengal, we know your mind goes straight to the world of Mishti Doi, Machher Jhol and Sondesh. The state has a rich and diverse cuisine that has something or the other to offer to everyone. The decadent flavours of the dishes of the Bengali cuisine have won the hearts of millions of people across the world since time innumerable. However, the state has some hidden treasures that are yet to be explored by the masses. One of these treasures is the Sheherwali cuisine. 

My tryst with this cuisine happened when I was watching an episode of ‘The Royal Palate’ by Behrouz Biryani. The popular celebrity chef Kunal Kapur explored some authentic Sherwali dishes and was left gobsmacked by the flavours. Upon researching about the cuisine, I came to know that the Sheherwali community originally belonged to Rajasthan and migrated to Bengal about 300 years ago. They settled in Murshidabad and adopted the culture of the place fondly. Combining their lineage from Western states of India and their lifestyle in Eastern India, this community created a cuisine of their own to match their taste preferences. Here are some delicious Sheherwali dishes that are the gifts of the community. 

1. Nirmas/Neemas

The Sheherwali cousin of the North Indian Daulat Ki Chaat, Nirmas has a mild sweet taste and is a delight to savour. 

2. Kacche Aam Ki Kheer 

We know you are frazzled by the name of the dish but trust us when we say this, you won’t forget the taste once you taste the dish. Raw mango pieces are caramelized with sugar and are cooked with milk, rose water and saffron. 

3. Kheere Ki Kachori 

With a shape like that of a Gujiya, kheere ki kachori is filled with a decadent mixture of cucumber, curd and some typical Indian spices. 

4. Chhena Bora 

As obvious as it is, Bengal is full of an assortment of delicious sweetmeats. Chhena Bora is a delicious Bengali sweet made with cottage cheese. The sweetmeat has a crusty exterior and a succulent and juicy interior. 

If you ever get a chance to visit Murshidabad, make sure you relish these Sheherwali delicacies. The dishes are rich and decadent in their own way and are enough to make you drool.