These Exotic Bengali Vegetarian Dishes Will Make You Forget Fish
Image Credit: Shukto By Ayandrali Dutta

Any time one thinks of Bengali meal the only dishes that comes first to mind is Kosha Mangsho, Sorshe Macch, Fish fry and more. Not many know that Bengali’s love their vegetables as much they love their fish. It’s a much common practice for al Bengali homes to have at least two vegetarian dishes in an everyday meal that may include and  a bhaja (fried vegetable) and a torkarior chorchori (curried vegetable) apart form the fish on the side.     


This bitter sweet medley of vegetable that supposedly is known to have a Portuguese influence is an absolute celebration dish. From bitter gourd (karela), potato, drumsticks, brinjal, hyacinth beans (Sheem), raddish, green banana this curry sees the goodness of most vegetable. To add that extra texture bori (lentil dumpling) is added. The USP of the dish is Radhuni (celery seeds) that’s added as tempering and gives the dish the extra lift of flavours. 

Chanar dalna

Most Bengali homes are all about Chena (homemade cottage cheese) and not paneer. A think curry of complex flavoured of Bengali garam masala and no onion garlic made with fresh chana and potatoes for that extra body , this dish is mostly paired with triangular parotta. Since there is no onion no garlic hence it all the more called Niramish chanar dalna. The subtle sweetness in the curry comes from fresh chena that’s made into balls and fried. The tampering with ghee makes it extra delicious. You can also add some fresh green peas too. 

Mochar Ghonto

Ever tasted banana bloom or Mocha? Mochar ghonto a traditional preparation banana flower/ bloom is an absolute exotic dish. Due to the complexity of chopping the flower this one is much laborious dish. This onion garlic recipe cooked with bare minimum spices and some grated coconut and potato chunks goes best paired with plain hot rice. This banana flower curry is pretty classic Bengali dish. 

There is also a non vegetarian version where you can add prawns or fish head to the dish too. 

Dhokar Dalna

A vegetarian classic that made with fried lentil cakes is an absolute delicacy. This Bengali niramish dish is paired best with steam rice. The trick lies in making the lentil cake flavourful with some spices, coconut, peanuts, etc., it’s actually nothing less than a treat. The thick red gravy of spicy, ginger-and-cumin is a signature dish in the cuisine. With no onion no garlic gravy and yet so flavourful the dhoka is made with Bengal Gram and Yellow Split Pea and then cut as cakes and fried an then cooked in gravy. 

Potol Dolma   


How about stuffing Potol or pointed gourd with some flavourful chena or paneer mixed with kishmish, cashew and garam masala. Doesn’t that sound delicious. That’s the art to make Potol Dolma. This age-old Bengali delicacy which sees an Armenian influence of scooping veggies and stuffing has it’s own unique taste and flavour. Another no onion garlic dish, the stuffed and fried potol is later cooked in Later cooked in whole garam masala infused cashew-coconut or tomato-cashew gravy based curry. This is literally all time winner. This Potoler dolma / bharwan parwal or stuffed pointed gourd is best version of Potol one can have. 


Labra is another vegetable medley yet much different from Shukto primarily it does see Bitter gourd. Mostly eaten with Khichuri or a part of Pujo bhog this dish was loved by Shri Chaitanyadev himself. Labra has always been cooked with different vegetables. Initially Gorbho Mocha was a mandatory ingredient but with coming of age it took a backseat. The other veggies that go into making of this dish Aloo aka Potato, as well as tomato, are late inclusion as well Aloo, Brinjal, cauliflower, pumpkin, raddish, sweet potato and more. Just a dash of grated coconut and sugar on top at the end makes it much of a delish. Not to miss that Panch phoron plays an important role to flavour up the dish.