Gohona Bori: Know All About Its History, Origin, Art, And More
Image Credit: Goyna Bori

Culinary arts are a form of artistic expression. Snacks that are edible artworks are a delicious combination of artistic expression and culinary skill. Gohona bori or goyna bori, a remarkable work of culinary art from Purbo Medinipur in West Bengal, is one instance of this edible art. What sets the snack apart is its exquisite shape with designer embellishments.

What Is Gohona Bori?

Within Bengal's extensive culinary legacy, gohona bori held great symbolic value. The bride's parents used to give her "Gohona-Bori'' so that she could take them to her new home after marriage in the Purba Midnapur district. For the kids, it was just another typical snacking experience. gohona bori is still regarded as a delicacy.

Traditionally, goyna bori is prepared from soaked split black gramme, known as urad dal, which is then crushed into a paste and delicately shaped into miniature dumplings. Once they are stiff and crispy, they are sun-dried for a few days and then preserved in airtight jars. 

The majority of these creative versions of the common bori are produced in the East Midnapore region of Purba Medinipur, namely in Tamluk, Mahishadal, Sutahata, and Panskura. They're piped out to look like ornaments. Besides flower and paisley themes, there are designs for earrings, tiaras, and necklaces.

Even though they are usually prepared with urad dal and spices as a batter, you can also use vegetables like cauliflower, ash gourd, bottle gourd, and radish. 

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Origin Of The Gohona Boris

Making bori is thought to be sacred and cherished in tradition. The women of the household will take a shower, get dressed, and prepare two big dumplings. They coated the boris with vermillion, conducted wedding rituals, and prayed to them.

The term gohona refers to jewellery, and the boris are artistically crafted to resemble ornaments in a variety of forms, sizes, and patterns, including circles, teardrops, paisleys, shells, lotuses, peacocks, owls, butterflies, and many more. Usually, they are made on a plate covered in sesame or poppy seeds, blending with each dumpling to add a crunchy texture and nice flavour.

Most people agree that the Tagore family is responsible for elevating the respect of the gohona boris. Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel laureate received a packet of goyna bori from Seba Maity who was a native of Mahishadal in Medinipur and a student at Shantiniketan. He was so drawn to the artwork that he requested permission from Visva Bharati's Fine Arts department, Kala Bhavan, to keep the images of the condiment. Furthermore, his nephew Abanindranath embellished the naksha bori designs with animal motifs, including fish, butterflies, elephants, and deer.

These dumplings require a lot of labour and time to make. However, the finished product is worth the effort. In many Bengali dishes, such as fish curries, vegetables, and dal, bori enhances the flavour and texture of these everyday meals.

Goyna bori is becoming more and more well-known outside of Bengal, thanks to chefs and foodies using it in their recipes. Some chefs have even played with the traditional bori recipes using different kinds of lentils and putting their unique spin on this classic dish.

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Even though the custom of making these gohona boris may be vanishing from the city, you will still get a lot of online stores ensuring the artwork is available. As a cultural trend, these snacks continue to be a part of many celebrations and festivals, by adding a hint of visual splendour to celebrations.