Durga Puja for the natives of Kolkata is not just a religious festivity, but also a time when one gets to gorge on lip-smacking delicacies, that an otherwise health-conscious youngster or millennial and the elderly would avoid for the rest of the year. Durga Puja is not complete without its bhog and it is here that one can savour on traditional Bengali dishes.
From the Ashtami Bhog that is served in puja pandals including the kichudi (rice, lentils, potatoes and vegetables cooked together) along with the Begun Bhaja (fried eggplants), Labda (mixed vegetables), Mishti Chatni (a tomato-based dessert) and Papad all served ceremoniously on salpata plates (Sal leaf plates).
Even families have their own special dishes and recipes that they cook during the pujos. Here's listing a few:
Luchi Ar Aloo Dum: A quintessential Bong favourite, these are fried flatbreads that are deep-fried in refined oil and served with aloo dum -- potatoes cooked in a spicy masala paste.
Mishti Cholar Dal: A lentil based dish, this too forms an amazing pair with the luchi. The lentils are cooked into a slightly sweet and spicy gravy and is served with a dollop of clarified butter on top.
Kosha Mangsho: While those not from Bengal may raise their eyebrows to this one, but Bengalis are known for their fondness for proteins and Durga Puja in Bengal has no restrictions otherwise to its consumption. In fact, earlier, in houses where the ritualistic sacrifice was prevalent, the families would donate the meat of the animal sacrificed to less-privileged families or cook the meat sans onions and garlic, thus turning it into the Mother's bhog.
Muri Ghonto: Another authentic Bengali dish, it is a dal and rice recipe that is cooked using a fish's head to extract maximum flavours.
Aloo Posto: Another delicious and quick dish made using the humble potato and poppy seeds with generous amounts of mustard oil and spices, it is a perfect accompaniment to that rich sweet pulao or basmati rice during Durga Puja.