Durga Puja will begin from 11th October this year and last till 15th October, 2021.
Festivities are just round the corner. Everyone in the country is gearing up for the festive season, taking out their best of clothes and lighting up their houses with beautiful décor. Coinciding with Navratris, which is a nine-day long Hindu fast, we have Durga Puja coming up too. A special celebration for the Bengali community, the worshippers hail to the nine avatars of Goddess Durga during these days. Not only this, special pandals are set up with maha aartis and a range of food stalls for gorging on some of the best Bengali snacks.
I remember that my first tryst with Bengali food and Durga Puja celebrations happened as a kid of 10 or 12 years of age. My grandfather, who was born and brought up in Bengal, used to take us to C.R. Park in Delhi where the pandals were set up for the festival. Inhabited largely by Bengalis, the area would be flooded with people by the evening when the aroma of kathis rolls and fish chops filled the streets. My favourite would be the Mughali parantha. Minced chicken wrapped in a thick, deep-fried roti and coated with egg used to be an utterly delicious affair.
Much said about the food, now is the time to indulge in some lip-smacking non-vegetarian fare. We’ve dug out some recipes you might like to try.
1. Illish Shorshe
Fish is undeniably an important part of the Bengali cuisine. The staple fish rice combination is a usual suspect in the Bengali households and the Illish Shorshe is one such curry. Dipped in a tangy mustard sauce, the illish (a type of fish) is cooked mustard oil along with green chilies and turmeric.
2. Chicken Bharta
We’ve been having baigan ka bharta (mashed eggplants) all our lives, it is time we switch to this delectable Chicken bharta. A great dish for festive celebrations, the bharta is infused with a host of spices and flavours.
3. Mangsher Keema
Keema refers to minced meat and this recipe makes use of lamb or goat meat to prepare a yummy main dish. Peas and potatoes are added to the mince, giving it a rich essence.
4. Boal Maccher Jhaal
Another delectable fish curry from the Bengali fare, this maccher jhaal gets its tanginess from the onion-tomato combination. The fried fish is dunked into this gravy and you get a hot and spicy fish dish.
5. Chingri Posto
Posto is a essentially a side dish, generally made with boiled and mashed potatoes, which are spruced up with chilies and salt. Here, prawns are added to the posto and the chilli flavour balances well with the caramelized onions.