The origin of Bengali cuisine traces back to centuries and stretches the East of Indian Subcontinent till the whole of Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan). Although the food habits, tastes, preferences and choice of items vary with different districts, communities and religions, the basic course generally remains the same with rice and fish playing a dominant role. Probably that’s why a Bengali is often typified as a ‘Maache-Bhaate-Bangali’ where Maach means fish and Bhaat means boiled rice in Bengali.
Bengali food follows a full course meal tradition served course-wise. Generally, a Bengali meal starts with a ‘Shukto’ (a bitter preparation) followed by ‘Shak’ (leafy vegetables), Dal (pulses), variety of vegetables, fish/mutton/chicken/egg curry, chutney (sweet-sour saucy item) and ends with sweet dish like curd and other traditional sweets like sandesh or rosogolla. With time Bengalis have embraced different culinary influences as well including that of the Mughlas, Chinese and British subtly twisting these to suit their own taste-buds. Bengali cuisine has been largely split into two sections – Ghoti & Bangal. The eternal fight for supremacy only gives more variation to the food lovers.
The current population of Bengalis in Hyderabad has breached 8 lacs with the numbers increasing every day. The Bengalis have embraced the City of Nizams as their home away from home and the culture & tradition has been well accepted by the city dwellers. The rise of Durga Puja celebrations in Hyderabad is something I as a Bengali cherish a lot. The rise & fall of many Bengali restaurants in the past 20 years of my stay is a testament to the demand for Bengali cuisine in the city. The food is not just cherished by the native non-resident Bengalis but also by the non-Bengali speaking residents.
This Rakshabandhan (Rakhi Purnima) we are celebrating the best of Bengali Cuisine with you at Siesta Hitech with a menu curated by MasterChef India participant Smita Bose & Food Stylist Moumita Ghosh. Siesta Hitech has always been a superb host to regional food and they were very glad to offer us the venue to showcase the work of the talented home chefs. The menu has been specially curated to connect the two parts of Bengali cuisine (Ghoti & Bangal).
Smita Bose is an Indian Home Chef. She believes, cooking is the best hobby to have, because it can be very useful in life. She was about nine years old, when she started learning how to cook. Cooking is something that she inherited from her great grandmother, who was an incredible chef.
She loves to cook as it keeps her stress free. She believes, though everyone likes to eat but there are only some who loves food – be it experimenting with various recipes or reading about culinary skills and dishes and recreating them – basically everything to do with food. She was among the Top 50 participants in MasterChef India Season 2, Title winner of Radikal Rice to Riches – Cooking Challenge (regional winner) in GOODTIMES (earlier NDTV Goodtimes) and many other cooking shows with different channels (Sandha TV, Akash Bangla, Zee Bangla, etc.).
She likes to experiment with different tastes and textures of food. Her love to share her creations with others shaped up “Bong O Food”, her home delivery venture to serve authentic Bengali food to doorstep and bring back the nostalgia of Bengali cuisine along with the bliss and satisfaction to the taste buds.
Moumita Ghosh is an Indian Bengali home maker turned Home Chef cum Food Stylist. She spent her infancy and childhood under the supervision of her grandmother, mother & aunt. Cooking was her passion and it has the influence of her grandmother & mother.
After wedding, she used to cook different varieties of food for her husband and this made her extremely happy. Her passion for cooking helped her take up blogging and soon ‘Peek n Cook’ took shape. Currently her blog is well accepted and among the most sought after for Bengali recipes. She has also ventured in homemade food catering to help people relish the happiness through the lost recipes of Bengal.
You can check her blog at www.peekncook.com