From Maha Dashami the period of Subho Bijoya begins and Bengalis stay prepared with an array of traditional savouries to greet the guests
Even when the five-day Durga Pujo celebration comes to an end, life is never dull for Bengalis. The final day of the Puja is a bittersweet moment for them. But the tenth day, or the day of Bijoya Dashami, offers some solace. It diverts their sulking feelings after bidding adieu to their beloved Goddess Durga. People visit their family and friends to wish them Shubho Bijoya and exchange gifts during this festive period, which lasts till Diwali. Some Bengali families also host community meals on Bijoya Dashami, also known as 'Bijoya Sammilani.' And the spread includes decadent regional culinary fare like Kosha Mangsho, Luchi and Aloor Dum, Bhapa Ilish and so on. It becomes a time to bond over food again. In the meantime, it is customary practice in many Bengali households to prepare some savouries and sweets. These dishes signify the readiness to welcome guests at any given time.
The list of such snacks includes a few simple to some elaborate items. While a few of them are prepared in advance, the rest are more or less cooked a day before or freshly in the morning.
Kucho means small in Bengali. Thus, kucho nimkis are salty, deep-fried snacks. Nowadays, these munchies are now easily and year-round accessible in markets. But that wasn't the case earlier. Nimkis were often associated with Bijoya Dashami. Maida or all-purpose flour, ghee, salt, kalonji or nigella seeds, and baking soda are used. These are formed into a dough, rolled out into thin rotis, and then cut into tiny slices. Then, these are deep-fried in refined oil on a low to medium flame. It can last up to 15 days with proper storage.
Elo Jhelo Nimki
Elo Jhelo Nimki, Image Source: archanaskitchen.com
It is another traditional Bengali savoury snack. This is generally prepared during Bijoya Dashami and Kali Pujo (Diwali). Since this crunchy and crispy snack can be kept for a longer time in an airtight container, many Bengali families prepare it for the Bijoya period. The ingredients are almost the same as the kucho nimki. Though this snack is easy to make, the only difficulty is mastering the skill to shape these nimkis. In some Bengali households these munchies are also soaked in sugar syrup to make them sweet and salty taste.
Narkel deya ghugni, Image Source: Pinterest
From region to region and family to family, the Bijoya platter changes. For instance, Bijoya can signify one or two meals for the day with your closest family. Niramish Ghugni is a staple on the Bijoya plate for many families. White peas or motor are used to make this dish and are soaked overnight. The gravy's consistency varies depending on the modification. Some people garnish with freshly grated coconut, while others use coconut that has been finely diced and fried while tempering. In a few households, a special dry roasted and pounded spice of cumin and red chillies is used for seasoning before serving.
The Bengali word for banana flower, also called a plantain flower, is mocha. This ingredient has long been a mainstay of many vegetarian dishes in Bengali cuisine. Typically, a cucumber-onion salad is paired with niramish (vegetarian) mochar chop. During Durga puja, it is one of the most well-liked snack recipes. It has a great flavour and is very filling. Many Bengali families prefer to add it to their Bijoya menu. One can skip the use of onion and garlic and make a completely vegetarian mochar chop.
Vegetable chop, Image Source: justgotochef
In many Bengali families, the vegetable chop is a staple choice for Bijoya savouries. These are cutlets made with potatoes, beets, carrots, fresh green peas, and roasted/fried peanuts and coconuts. It is another iconic dish one must try as it is popular street food. It contains the goodness of fresh winter vegetables. If you can ignore the deep-frying part, it's a perfect snack. The peanuts and dry roasted tiny coconut chunks add the nutty taste. The outer layer has the crispiness from the coating with the batter made from semolina, maid or all-purpose flour and corn flour. The cutlets are sometimes rolled over breadcrumbs after dipping in the batter. These vegetable chops taste yum with kasundi.
Let us know which one you are preparing.