The dishes are like teasers, where the names have a certain familiar feeling yet, the process of preparation and the ingredients used are completely different.
Nayana Afroz, renowned and respected food consultant from Bangladesh is in Kolkata. She is doing a month long Bangladeshi Food Festival in association with Peerless Group of Hotels. This festival will take place in the iconic Bengali fine dining restaurant – Aaheli.
The menu has been carefully selected which comprises of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes from the neighbouring country. In the vegetarian section, there is Subji Pua Pithe - Bagaan chorchori - a medley of winter vegetables which are normally grown in the backyard, Begun Khaasi - the eggplant is cooked in the same way like a Mutton Curry, Palong Shaker Bora - fritters with spinach and few more .
If the vegetarian dishes had simple flavours with local and seasonal produces, the Non vegetarian section had more bold robust flavours which is a trademark of Bangladeshi cuisine and there were surprises too. There is Morog Roast, Loitta Pituli, Rui Machher Cutlet - which comes in circular shapes almost like a chop and has a certain tanginess to it, Chingri Patora Ilish Mach, Kumro Bharta and some more.
Our recommendations -
Bhorta - Bhortas are trademark of Bangladeshi cuisine and any Bangladeshi restaurant across the globe cannot do away with this item. A mash made out of anything almost and pairing with panta bhaat (fermented rice), normal rice or Roti is a staple diet. Dhakai Begun Bhorta or Eggplant mash is with sweet curd and poppy sides one can find a ting of sweetness in it.
Narkeli Haans - A wholesome dish of duck made with all forms of coconut. Made with coconut milk, coconut water, coconut paste and coconut milk too, this dish has a thick gravy with pieces of duck and the gravy can be mistaken with almond paste.
Shotkora Mangsho - If West Bengal has Gondhoraj lebu then Sylhet in Bangladesh has got shotkora. These lemons grow in slightly warm weather conditions and primarily found in Habigunj and Moulobi Bazaar of Sylhet district. Mutton cooked in methi oil and in the end shotkora pulp and shotkora juice added makes this a unique combination of spicy , hot yet tangy flavoured dish.
One can go on as not many places in Kolkata can offer a proper Bangladeshi food and most of them would pick up some of the common dishes like scratching the surface of a huge repertoire.
This festival is on at all the outlets of Aaheli in Kolkata till 31st March and a meal for 2 will be around 2000 plus taxes.
One can also opt for Veg and Non-Veg Thali priced at INR 1555 plus GST and INR 2325 plus GST respectively.
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A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.