It is 'Jamai Shoshthi' and for all the jamais' (son in laws) of Bengal, it is the 'D' Day. The essence of this festival or the social custom is family bonding over food (what else!). The son in laws of Bengal are treated royally on this day in the Bengali month of 'Jaistha' by the Shoshur bari (the in laws). While the essence now is family bonding and togetherness, in the past it was believed that this was held to please the son in laws so that they would treat their daughter well throughout the year. Many may raise an eye brow over this, especially modern men. Today it is more to do with celebration along with food and is something to look forward to. Of course, there are certain religious rituals that take place, however that is quite secondary.
Traditionally, a normal menu of Jamai Shoshthi used to comprise of the seasonal fruits, 18 - 19 main course items with a focus on fish and desserts such as rosogolla and sandesh. The mother in laws would cook all of the courses and treat their son in laws over this grand lunch. However, nowadays due to the fast moving culture, families flock to restaurants.
The restaurants serving Bengali cuisine in Kolkata leave no stone unturned to make this an affair to remember. Let us take a look at some of the special menus which will be put up this year
Aaheli at Peerless Inn, known for its traditional Bengali menu has made this a gala affair with an option of two kinds of thalis (Rs.1975/- plus tax and Rs.1225/- plus tax) and À la carte as well. The thalis have some unique dishes such as borishaler ilish, bhekti phool kopir dalna, suravi pulao, goyna bori, lichur payesh to name a few from the list of almost 12 - 15 main course dishes. Some special À la carte dishes such as rui macher patishapta, kadoli pushpo ghanto, dhumrogandhi ilish and bhekti paturi adorn the menu and are available at very reasonable rates. This would be available for both lunch and dinner on Jamai Shoshthi.
First Innings, the multi cuisine restaurant of The Stadel, will showcase its culinary expertise with a lavish Jamai Shoshthi Special Bengali buffet lunch from the 10th till 12th of June. The buffet lunch priced at Rs. 1081/- all inclusive, comprises of the summer special fruit platter with some fried stuff as starters. The main course comprises of dhakai polao and hing kachori, dal, main course vegetarian and main course non vegetarian with mach paturi (baked fish in banana leaves), kosha mangsho (slow cooked mutton), gondhoraj murgir jhol and prawn malai curry followed by the desserts.
Aura, the all day dining at The Sonnet at Salt Lake, starts the spread with aam pora sharbat, topse fry, dimer devil, mochar chop and sorshe chalkumro bora as starters, a wide variety of vegetarian dishes which have jhinge aloo posto, narkel diye cholar dal, to name a few. Kalo bhuna mangsho, aam chingrir mortopiya and morog montajan are the non vegetarian choices followed by rosogolla, mishti doi and others. While this is the menu for 10th, the extended celebration continues for 11th also. Priced at Rs 1000 plus taxes and a complimentary beer pint, this is worth checking out.
Lokaahar, the authentic Bengali food place, invites all the son in laws and the family with some authentic Bengali food such as macher matha diye daal, morola machhe piyaji, rui posto, ilish machher jhol kalo jire diye and others.
Saptapadi, at Bagha Jatin in Jadavpur, has come up with some innovative dishes and a special thali for the son in laws to devour upon.
Bhojohori Manna, one of the pioneers of Bengali cuisine in Kolkata and nationally, wants to keep it open for the mother in laws to decide on the menu for their sons in laws. While they will have a variety of fish items in hilsa (ilish), bekti and chitol, for prawns they will have three separate sizes namely large, jumbo and super jumbo. Mr. Siddhartha Bose, the owner says that they want to keep the menu open and flexible instead of a thali, where the dishes become mandatory. The main purpose of that is to attract people from all fields of life. They will have their signature dishes such as Bekti Rongpuri Fry, Mutton Dakbangla and Ilish Borishali. The desserts will be served in a platter where the guests can pick and choose.
For all the mother in laws who still want to cook for their son in laws and not treat in a restaurant, Macchli baba- the boutique fish shop in Kolkata, which home delivers fishe will deliver the choicest of fishes to the doorsteps.
It is a nice time to be a son in law of Bengal. Go ahead and get indulged in some delicious food.
Follow Anindya @anindya0909
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.