Unmissable Bengali Veggie Recipes For Durga Puja
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This Durga Puja, don't just stick to kosha mangsho, chingrir malaikari and the parade of non-vegetarian delicacies if you're in or around Kolkata. Explore the whole breadth of Bengali cuisine with elevated vegetarian recipes that are not just unique but also delicious, and are big draws during festive weeks. 

Be it a traditional dal with veggies,  a hearty shukto, or something more elaborate like a dalna, don't give green recipes a miss during Pujas! 

Kumror Dhokar Dalna 

Puja is the perfect time to explore this indulgent recipe especially if you're keen on making the most of pumpkin season. Dhoka is a Bengali lentil cake that's usually cooked in nspicy tomato gravy; it's particularly popular during festivities since it's a 'niramish' delicacy and does not feature onion or garlic. 

The kumror dhoka dalna, however, is more elevated in terms of taste. The recipe calls for a chana dal paste and finely cut pumpkins; however, a homemade pumpkin paste can also be used for preparing this dish. The kumror dhoka is cooked in a tomato yoghurt gravy, that's accented with whole spices, so the pumpkin's mild sweetness balances out the sharp spices.

Begun Basanti 

There's nothing as versatile as an eggplant or 'begun'. It's not just the mainstay for vegetarian homes during festive weeks but is also very easy to cook with. Begun basanti is prepared in a zesty gravy that's prepared with mustard and yoghurt and is typically quite spice-forward. Interestingly, most eggplant or brinjal dishes in Bengali cuisine, be it doi begin or begun posto, stick to spicy gravies to accent the brinjal's mild sweetness. 

Begun Basanti is quite distinct in taste, although it's often compared with the popular shorshe begun which also features mustard quite prominently. In Begun Basanti, the dahi balances the bite of the mustard which makes the dish a lot more pairable.

Shorshe Posto Diye Chalkumro 

Often referred to as the poorer cousin of kumro (pumpkin), chalkumro or wax gourd (or ash gourd) is a staple in Bengali kitchens during the summers. During Puja, however, quite a few festive delicacies are made using this vegetable, chalkumror ghonto being the most widely made dish. 

But chalkumro also fares well in vibrant spicy curries if used well. In this delicacy, the gourd is cooked in a rich curry made with shorshe (mustard) and posto (poppy). The idea is to bring together the nuttiness of the posto with the heat of the mustard. This recipe typically uses black mustard which offers a more potent spice profile than other variants. Pair this curry with some white rice or some hot luchi! 

Kheer Potol 

A cherished festive dessert which is also popular in parts of Bihar and Central India as parwal ki mithai or kheer parwal, this dessert is quite unique. It's made out of candied pointed gourds that are stuffed with a sweet filling, featuring mawa or kheer, kesar and nuts. 

This is not the kind of mishti you can score at a neighbourhood sweet shop; kheer potol is usually prepared as part of bhog or during festive feasts at homely Durga Pujas. The preparation needs a decent prep time and also needs some attention to detail. While the pointed gourds can be boiled in water and then added to sugar syrup, they can also be cooked in sugar syrup for better consistency.