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Showing posts from April, 2015

A Fish Called Pabda

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I am not a great one for celebrating every Bengali festival under the sun. In fact, I find the Bengali baro mashe tero parbone (13 festivals in 12 months) tradition downright tiresome. However, if you're staying away from home, you tend to experience the typical expat’s zeal for observing every date on his or her native culture calendar. And so it was that I decided to celebrate Poila Baishakh, the first day of the Bengali New Year, by cooking a few special dishes. And, needless to say, eating them.
Pabda Maachher Jhaal is an eternal favourite in Bengal. The fish has a distinctive taste, no bones (barring the central one), and tastes absolutely smashing when cooked in a simple mustard sauce.
However, this is one fish I don't cook too often. Mainly because frying it is fraught with danger — it sputters and sets off minor explosions when placed in hot oil. Frying Pabda and escaping unscathed is basically a function of superhuman agility and dumb luck. You have to move away at lig…

Mad about mutton

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The other day we went to this restaurant called Pot Belly. The name was endearing enough. But what intrigued me was that its USP was Bihari cuisine. Now, I would not have described myself as insular, but the fact is that though I am from Bengal, and Bihar is a neighbouring state, I was completely unaware that Biharis have a distinctive culinary repertoire.
Anyway, so off we went to the newly opened Pot Belly outlet at Bihar Niwas in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri area. Browsing the menu itself was a delight. There was the commonly known Bihari staple of Litti chokha (whole wheat balls stuffed with sattu and served with aubergine mash and potato mash), of course, but also a whole lot of other gorgeous sounding dishes such as Fish Chokha on Marua Roti (Fish paste served on crispy buckwheat pooris), Pothia Machhli Fry (Small deep fried fish serve with hot banana chips), Dana Jhamarua Thali (Aubergine and potato in a mustard gravy served with rice flour rotis stuffed with spiced poppy seeds), Golmir…