Must-try vegetarian dishes to enjoy this pujo

Here’s a look at lesser-known traditional vegetarian dishes which are equally impressive in Bengali cuisine.

23 Oct 2020

Reviewing the top 10 trends of Godrej Food Trends Report 2020, the recent Instagram live chats around - Rise of The Culinary Explorer with Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, Shubhra Chatterji, Anubhuti Krishna, Chef Varun Inamdar, Ruth Dsouza Prabhu, Chef Suvir Sran, Anindya Sundar Basu, Debolina Ray and Shivani Unakar highlighted how the exploration of regional cuisines is on the rise and, people are learning through various ways. Festive occasions are an ideal time to learn more about traditional regional cuisines. Thus, on the occasion of pujo celebrations, we look into the Bengali cuisine which is not just about macher jhol and kosha mangsho. There are many lesser-known vegetarian dishes, which feature prominently in the Bengali cuisine on special occasions. Here are a few of these dishes you can feast on during Durga Pujo.

Chapor Ghonto

A vegetarian delight, this dish is a mix of vegetables and lentil patties. Chapor (means to pat) refers to lentil patties that are made from split peas (lentils). These patties are irregular in shape and pressed gently with one’s hand while shallow frying. An array of vegetables are used like pumpkin, ridged gourd, eggplant, potato, pointed gourd and taro roots seasoned with Bengali paanch phoron (five spices). The dish finds mention in 20th-century famous cookbook author Renuka Debi Choudhurani’s Rokomari Niramish Ranna.

Thor Er Ghonto

Thor is the soft and central part of the banana plant. After cleaning the banana stem, it is cut into small pieces and pressure cooked. The minced thor is lightly fried along with diced potatoes. Season it with whole spices and grated coconut on top.

Bati Chorchori

Every Bengali family has a culinary memory attached to this simple and subtle dish. This is one dish, which can be relished from breakfast to dinner. Traditionally, it was cooked in a steel container or bowl with a lid (bati). The bowl is set in the centre of a pot of steamed rice, fresh off the stove. No sautéing or frying is required, and everything is mixed together and cooked. Potatoes are chopped in finger-like slices along with an array of vegetables like cauliflower and green beans. The veggies are seasoned with turmeric powder, green chillies, a pinch of sugar and mustard paste. This versatile dish goes well with leftover rotis slightly tossed with ghee.

Plastic Chutney

This chutney made from transparent raw papaya slices (hence the name given is plastic) is a must-have sweet dish at any social gathering in Bengali household.  This one works as a palate cleanser as well as a dessert after a filling meal. Raw papaya is boiled and caramelised in sugar syrup and drizzled with lemon juice and raisins. Some even cook papaya with black mustard seeds and red chilli to balance the sweet with a spicy flavour.

Have you heard of any special vegetarian dishes in Bengali cuisine? Share with comments below.

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regional food lesser-known ingredients vegetarian dishes lentils
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