Bengalis have a knack for eating and making other people eat to their hearts fill. It is this shared love for food which has made our cuisine reach far and wide and has carved itself onto the hearts and minds of people who are not necessarily from Bengal. Bengali cuisine is multi-faceted, having been influenced by different cultures and regions outside it and it is this diverse and open-minded acceptance that has gained us such acclaim worldwide. This Raksha Bandhan, give your taste buds a ride and delve into the decadence and opulence that Bengali food has to offer beyond the realm of sweets. Here we have chalked out a 3- course meal ideas from breakfast to lunch and dinner for your entire family to enjoy on this auspicious occasion of Raksha Bandhan

Breakfast: Mughlai Paratha or Moglai Porota

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This breakfast dish as the name suggests, has influences of the Mughal times and has been a crowd favourite ever since. Mughlai paratha is a fried layered flatbread with non-vegetarian filling inside it. Generally, the filling is made from chicken or mutton keema with a mix of spices, but one can opt for paneer bhurji as well if they’re vegetarian. On the griddle, ghee is added and the bread is laid down upon which goes the stuffing which consists of a whole beaten egg, the prepared keema, topped with onions, fresh coriander leaves, and chillies, then layered and folded inside the flatbread and fried till golden brown. This spicy, hearty, and delicious bread is a meal in itself with no sides dishes required to pair with it. One could serve it with condiments like pickled onions, sliced cucumber, mustard or kasundi and curd but do serve it piping hot to extract the maximum flavour from the stuffing inside and texture from the crispy bread on the outside.

Lunch: Shorshe Ilish and Chingri Malaikari

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One simply cannot have lunch in the monsoons and not have hilsa fish or Ilish. And if you’re having hilsa, why not have the prawns that are of the size of the palm of your hand. Both the dishes reigns undisputed in every Bengalis hearts and minds and it is only fair that we extend this love to other people’s plates as well.  Both Hilsa fish and Tiger Prawns are delicate ingredients and do not require a lot of cooking time to reach its peak flavour profile. Cut and marinated Hilsa pieces are stewed in a delicious gravy of ground black and yellow mustard seeds, whole nigella seeds and slit green chillies to obtain the perfectly steamed and cooked shorshe ilish. The pairing of ground mustard seeds, mustard oil and hilsa is eternally etched in the minds of Bengalis and it’s time that it creates a memory in your life on this auspicious day as well.

Chingri Malaikari as you might have picked up from the name itself, is a dish involving large prawns in a ‘malai’ or cream-based gravy or curry. But unlike butter chicken, chingri malaikari is made with coconut milk which adds to the richness of this dish. Deshell and de-vein the body or meaty portion of the prawn leaving the heads intact and marinate them with salt and turmeric. The flavourful head portion of the prawn only adds to the richness and aroma of the coconut milk gravy. Lightly fry the prawns and keep aside to prepare the gravy. Start by adding dried red chillies, bay leaf, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, onion paste, and ginger paste. After that add turmeric, Kashmiri red chilli powder and slit green chillies and then the coconut milk. Once everything is well incorporated, add the fried prawns and simmer till everything looks well coated and nicely adjusted to the rich gravy. Finish with garam masala and serve with plain white rice to soak up all that delicious gravy from both the dishes.

Dinner: Ghee’e Bhaja Luchi Ar Kosha Mangsho

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Kosha Mangsho is basically bhuna mutton in a semi-dry spicy gravy served with fluffy luchi that has been deep fried in ghee. The opulence of this dish is out of this world and as a pairing, it would be perfect way to top off an amazing day of celebration with the family. Luchi is similar to pooris, but where pooris are made from atta, luchi is made from maida which is why the light golden colour even after deep frying, whereas the pooris look more brownish. Rest assured pooris and luchi are the exact same including in its preparation.

Kosha Mangsho requires constant stirring of the mutton pieces for over an hour so your entire family can lend a hand in. And the outcome reflects that labour of love as perfectly soft pieces of mutton mixed with a host of spices, yogurt and onions makes for delectable meal that’ll surely put a smile on your face and bring an end to a perfect day of cooking and enjoyment with your family and loved ones.