Recipe Of West Bengal’s ‘Panta Bhaat’ That Won Over MasterChef Judges
Image Credit: Panta Bhaat. Picture Credits- Unsplash

Recently, Bangladeshi-origin home cook Kishwar Chowdhury made the Bengali peasant dish ‘panta bhaat’ for the MasterChef grand finale. Since then, it has been the tittle-tattle of the country, and Bengalis haven’t stopped boasting about it yet. Bengal’s ‘panta bhaat’, Odisha’s ‘pakhala bhata’, or Assam’s ‘poita bhaat’ is an everyday breakfast option for the rice-eating population of these states. The leftover cooked rice is soaked in water overnight for 8-12 hours. The following day, it is eaten for breakfast with a quenelle of mashed potato, a piece or two of fried fish, fritters, flame-roasted mashed vegetables, and raw onions. The fermentation of rice increases its probiotic values, making ‘panta bhaat’ gut-friendly. However, Kishwar’s version of ‘panta was very minimalistic with a fancy salsa, smoked red chilli, and pan-seared sardines, making it fine-dining. Here’s the recipe for her version-


Smoked rice (panta bhaat)

  • ½ cup basmati rice
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • ½ cup iced water
  • 1 tsp salt

Mashed potato (aloo bhorta)

  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • ½ shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 tsp mustard oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • Salt

White soy sardines

  • 3 sardines, scaled and gutted
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2-inch fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup white soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil
  • 2-3 tsp lime juice

Onion Salsa

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves, salt
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil
  • ½ lime, juiced

Image: Pexels


  1. For the Smoked Rice, rinse rice until it's clear. Cook the rice until it's tender, transfer it to a bowl, and allow steam to evaporate.
  2. Burn the dried red chilli over your gas stove; it's wholly burnt, and add it to the rice. Add salt, allow to steep for 30 minutes. Now, separate the rice from the smoked water.
  3. For pan searing the sardines, dry sardines and place them into a dish. Make a marinade with 1 tablespoon of chilli-ginger paste, white soy sauce, and honey and mix well. Roast the spices (cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and red chilli) in a pan and grind to a fine powder, and add the spice mix to the marinade with salt. Marinate the sardines and keep them aside for 30 minutes.
  4. Fry sardines with mustard oil for about 3 minutes so that the fish is just cooked and is opaque. Remove from the stove. Garnish with the leftover ground spices and a squeeze of lime juice.
  5. For the Smoked Potato Mash, boil potatoes in salted water until soft, allowing them to return to room temperature. Add ghee to a frypan and cook the shallots and garlic until golden brown.
  6. Once potatoes are cooled, knead them until lumps are removed, and the potatoes are soft. Add the sauteed shallots and garlic and chilli, mustard oil, salt, and coriander, and give it a good mix.
  7. For the Salsa, mix the ingredients and dress with a salt and lime juice pinch to add the necessary acidity to the dish.

This ‘panta bhaat’ is a great breakfast and lunch option for a summer delicacy. This humble dish deserves to be devoured by rice lovers worldwide, and it’s clear that it has found the exposure it deserved.