Bengalis and their love affair with meat and fish is no strange fiction. And it is also somewhere true that no spread is actually deemed ‘elaborate’ unless it has a significant number of non-vegetarian delicacies. But Bengali cuisine is obviously much more than that. It boasts of a number of vegetarian dishes that could possibly give the best of mutton preparations a stiff competition. A riot of flavours, the Bengali vegetarian fare can be both comforting and majestic.
Labra is a traditional vegetarian curry teeming with the goodness of a variety of vegetables. Potatoes, radish, cabbage, cauliflower and pumpkin are some of the vegetables that go into this spicy mixed-veg offering. What makes labra special is the use of Paanch Phoron- a five-spice mix of mustard seeds, fennel, cumin, nigella (kalaunji) and fenugreek.
Bengali sweets are a global sensation, but have you tried this bitter medley of vegetables from Bengal? Shukto can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. Typically made with the goodness of raw banana, potato, karela, drum sticks, and beans, shukto is one of the first things to be served at any Bengali spread. In Bengal, you start with something bitter and you conclude your meal with something sweet. Try this shukto recipe and you would know why it is the most befitting start to any meal ever!
3. Dhokar Dalna
Dhoka refers to a steamed lentil lump or cube usually made with chana dal and dried white peas. These wholesome cakes are then fried and cooked in a tangy tomato and onion-based gravy (dalna). The gravy dish is best enjoyed with piping hot rice.
4. Aloo Posto
Back in the sixteenth century when potatoes were introduced to India by the Portuguese, it immediately became an object of fancy among Bengali cooks. They started experimenting with the tuber and came up with many unique delicacies. One of the most loved potato delicacies of Bengal is aloo posto. Potatoes in a lush mix of poppy seeds, mustard oil and kalonji- aloo posto spells comfort for millions of foodies out there.
5. Begun Bhaja
Eggplants tossed in a pool of rustic spices, deep-fried in mustard oil. These veggie fritters are often served as a side dish to khichdi in quintessential Durga Puja bhog. Crispy outside and mushy inside, this brinjal snack is nothing like anything you have had before.
Did we miss out on your favourite Bengali vegetarian dish? Do write to us in the comment below and send some fun recipes too!
About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.