Chilli Chicken, a taste of the only Chinatown in India

Thanks to the upper caste Hindu Brahmins under the British rule, who thought working with leather goods is a job made for the so - called lower castes like Chamars or Mochis, traders and workers from China arrived in Colonial India. A particular Chinese friend also set up a sugar mill near Kolkata welcoming more of his acquaintances into this port city. Some say, they are the reason we call sugar, "chini"!! Fast forward three centuries later, Kolkata is the only city in India which comes alive with fluorescent dragon and lion dancers every Chinese New Year in February. These Christian and Buddhist friends even house a Kali temple where a Hindu Goddess, Kali is worshipped with Chowmein as "bhog" instead of the usual fruits. Where else would you find this multi - culturalism?

Although only a handful of our Bengali - Chinese friends still own leather businesses, the one reason we would remain forever grateful is the Chinese cuisine they brought with them. Anyone who h…

Posto - an euphoria

We have a special spice, Poppy !! Although infamous as the source of heroin, an euphoric addictive drug, the poppy seeds have been used by the Bengalis since long. Because processing of the seeds remove majority of its opium content, Posto dana ( poppy seeds ) have been an important ingredient in many Bengali dishes to get that perfect creamy texture. But when this spice is used as the chief overpowering component, its characteristic flavour is absolutely delightful.

Certainly, it is an acquired taste. Since most of my Non - Bengali friends do not quite like the idea of having heroin sources as food, Posto remains more of an unknown Bengali spice not experienced by many, still. But us? We just adore it. Ask any Bengali about Aloo Posto and you can immediately notice that satisfaction in their eyes. Even simply Posto bata ( a paste of Poppy seeds with some green chilli, salt and a hint of ghee or mustard oil ) with some gorom - Bhaat ( warm rice ) can give you an astounding experience…

AAR Tera kya hoga?? KALIA!!

The obligatory Biebarir Maacher Kalia is usually prepared with the common carps easily available, like Rohu or Catla. So, those of our friends who are not so accustomed with Bengali diet would think that this fish - eating community seldom experiments. But anyone who have been close to a Khadyo - roshik Bangali would be amazed at the diversified heterogeneity we bring into our kitchens. We have fish varieties for every taste - buds and habits. Let me give you one such instance.

 Few of us, as a child often disliked the job of deboning the fish pieces while having the regular Maacher  jhol - Bhaat for lunch, So, a doting mother would usually prefer cooking a fish with relatively fewer bones to satisfy the protein and omega 3 content for her child. Here enters the Catfish group. Aar maach a.k.a. Long whiskered catfish, commonly found in the rivers and ponds of South Asia suits the job perfectly!! These have much lesser bones but soft meat which can take up the flavours of the gravy won…