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After the scorching heat of April and May, the city has been looking forward to the occasional showers leading up to monsoon. Although we are told that the full onset of monsoon is yet to happen, the overcast sky, a little cooler weather meaning less time in air conditioning and heavy showers sometime in the evening, is looked forward to. With monsoon comes the craving of deep fried comfort food which I think, human beings worldwide cannot resist, no matter how health conscious they are. The city has several options to offer for comfort food during monsoon. Here are my top 6 monsoon favourite grubs in the city.
Nothing beats a hot steaming bowl of Fish Ball Soup and a plate of crunchy and delicious Fried Pork Momos to lift your spirit while it is gloomy and overcast. You can find it at TIRETTI by Tak Heng. The fish ball soup is more or less a clear soup with meaty fish balls and an absolute delight to have. Coupled with some deep fried momo, you have the option of choosing whatever protein you may like and some hot red chilli sauce; it is meant to take you to heaven.
Bongs love khichadi. And love is an understatement. If it rains, it has to be khichadi. Every household makes their version of khichadi. However, if you are looking for some indulgence, try Khichdi Khichri – a small takeaway joint at Beliaghata which has several options for this one pot meal from all over the country. So if you are craving for some Sabudana Khichadi or a Himachali Khichadi, this is the place. My pick for monsoon would be the Bhoger Khichudi made with lightly roasted moong dal with an Array Of Bhajas on the side (which would range from cauliflower to brinjals and potatoes and more) and some tomato khejurer chutney. Total bliss!
Monsoon and Ilish go hand in hand. With monsoon, the fish markets become a captivating sight with various sizes of Hilsa decorated on banana leaves. Every restaurant serving Bengali food starts Hilsa festivals. But if you are looking for a quick Hilsa meal, go to Pithe Bilashi near Kalighat Metro Station and have the Alshe Elish. A plate of scented basmati rice topped with hilsa in a coconut and mustard gravy is all you can ask for with the sound of pitter patter outside.
Much has been said and written about the legendary Dacres Lane in Esplanade area. But the variety of food that this lane provides is phenomenal. When it rains, it may pose as a bit of a discomfort eating out there. However, one can always pack and take home a bowl of light and flavourful Chicken Stew with a large piece of potato and carrot or a papaya and bread from Chitto Babur Dokan. And if you are looking for deep fried option, then the Fish Roll is an absolute killer.
Rainfall and samosas go hand in hand. You will see many people standing with umbrellas, half soaking in the rain but enjoying samosas and chai at many a corner chai stall across the city. A cup of chai, milky, frothy and excessively sweet, served in earthen pots in one hand and a Hot Samosa in the other hand while trying to not get wet in the rain at Maharani at Lansdowne is the ultimate thing at a low budget in the evenings.
Evenings are synonymous with Telebhaja or deep fried food. Indians, in general, love deep fried food but the need to have Telebhaja in the evening is what is special about Kolkatans. The city streets liven up with numerous stalls serving hot fried food. Apanjan at Kalighat is a great place for an amazing array of such snacks. Try the Chicken or Fish Kobiraji, Fish Fry and Chicken Cutlet. They are all deep fried, bathed in grease yet so inviting and scrummy, especially during monsoon, that even the fussiest palate will not say no.
For someone who's run two restaurants, being a baker and cook par excellence comes easily to Madhushree . When she's not eating out, she's organizing her own pop ups or experimenting with regional recipes. Her experiments with food and her recipes are part of Pikturenama , where she's a co founder.