Friday, May 02, 2008

RCI Bengal: Round Up Stage II


The second and last RCI-Bengal Round up is the sweetest. This series has Chutney, Dessert, Snack, Drinks and Non-Recipe write ups.


Photo Courtesy: Flickr

As I said earlier for a history of Bengali Cuisine please refer to the article "Bengali Cuisine" from Wikipedia , I found the article very interesting and informative. For many of you who might not be aware of the history of Bengali cuisine, the various terms used and its delicate intricacies this article is a treasure. Even for those who are aware of the cuisne this article throws new light about the historical influences etc.

I would also like to mention that RCI-Bengal was an event where Bloggers cooked and sent their version of recipes of Bengali Food, as they saw it.Many of them might have adapted the original recipe to suit their taste, preference, local ingredients, whatever. So,this is not necessarily a compilation of authentic or original bengali cooking.

I thank everyone for making this event a success.

The Chutney

Anarosher Chaatni -- the only chutney entry, a beautiful pineapple chutney from Bee and Jai at Jugalbandi

Bengali style Raita -- a new dish from Mythreyee at Paajaka recipes

The Dessert

Kesar Badam Sandesh -- a delicious light creamy delicacy from West Bengal made with fresh home made paneer or chenna is from Medhaa at Cook With Love

Rasgulla -- the all time favorite sweet looks so scrumptious that you would love to pick it up right off her blog, from Dhivya at Dhivya's Cuisine

Sandesh -- the pristine white beauties made from paneer/chenna are from Cham at Spice-Club

Kala Jamun -- a gorgeous step-by-step demo of making kala jamuns which is known as Kalo Jaam in Bengali is from Dhivya at Culinary Bazaar

Choco Mava Peda -- delightful looking pedas from Nirmala at Amma's Special

Rasgulla -- sweet, juicy delights from SunshineMom at Tongue Ticklers

Cham Cham -- they look so professional and are so beautifully presented you would want to grab one off the screen, sweet delights from Sandhya at Sandhya's Kitchen

Rasagulla -- sweet, juicy, spongy rasagullas made for her Appa's Birthday and of course RCI from Kamala at Moms Recipes

Bengali Sandesh -- melt in your mouth sandesh from Priya at 365 Days of Pure Vegetarian

Bhapa Doi -- delectable bengali cheesecake flavoured with saffron and cardamom served with dollops of humor from Mallika at Quick indian Cooking

Rasmalai -- a fabulous tasting and definitely great looking dessert from Arundati at Escapades

Mishti doi -- a sweet yogurt, a bengali favorite served with sweeter memories from Sunita at Sunita's World

Jibe Goja /Fried pastry coated with syrup -- a simple yet household favorite from Rinku at Cooking in Westchester

Rasmalai -- a great looking dessert from Swapna at Swapna's Cuisine

Patishapta -- a very traditional Bengali dessert of thin crepes filled with a sweet coconut & kheer stuffing from Archana, mama of twins at Archana's Culinary Adventures

Mishti Doi -- a lovely dessert in a lovely pot from Renuka at Fusion

Rasgulla -Bengali Mithai -- one more dessert with a "eat me up" written all over it explained with detailed steps and tips from Mansi at Fun n Food

Kalakand -- decadent looking sweets from Mallugirl at Malabar Spices

Shrikhand -- this lovely dessert does not have any bengal connection that I know of, but then who am I to give verdict in the larger scheme of things so I am including this beautiful entry here from Jan at Food with a Pinch of Love (Jan had asked me if this dessert could be considered but I am welcoming all entries with open arms)

The Snack or JolKhabar

Jhaal Muri -- with a dash of mustard oil this tasty snack of puffed rice is from Meera at Enjoy Indian Food

Koraishutir Kochuri -- kachuri stuffed with a spicy sweet pea filling, one of the Bengal's winter breakfast or snack favorite is from Raaga at The Singing Chef

Oven baked Paneer Shingaras -- healthy and delicious samosas or shingaras from Siri at Siri's Corner

The Drink

Rasamadhuri Sherbet -- a pretty sherbet with an equally pretty name from Uma at Essence of Andhra

No Not a Recipe

Day 2: 16th March 2008 -- a travelogue on Kolkata with some beautiful Pics from Anjali at Swachchanda. She also shares an article on Haldiram's Food City in Kolkata here.

Traditional Bengali Curries - One Page Cookbook -- an entry from Ramki. This is entirely his version of Bengali Cuisine as he sees it. (But please can we not say "curry" for every dish. Also I am no authority on Bengali or any cuisine but I felt a lot was "Lost in Translation" in this writeup)


  1. Nice pix you've chosen, Sandeepa!

  2. Oh yum! I am gng to become an bengali cuisine expert soon :) Thanks bunch sandeepa..:)

  3. Lovely roundup. Great job done. One place stop for Benagali sweets

  4. Nice roundup, very well done. Cant wait to try one of the sweet recipes!

  5. Thanks for the lovely round up , sandeepa, enjoyed taking part :-)

  6. nice roundup sandeepa wow all bengali dishes in row with a gr8 look stage 2 is delicious with yummy sweets and hots oh wow ... no words to comment thank u a lot

  7. A real treat for those with a sweet tooth. I am in.

  8. Nice job, San! And I happened to notice the time stamp too. You deserve a big hug for burning the midnight oil!

  9. Good one too! I want to Mishti Doi and Sondesh, will be haunting your blog soon!:D

  10. Nice round up sandeepa.Looking more from u

  11. Now I know where to lurk for Bengali food :)

  12. bengali sweets are my favourite kind of sweets. i've been too chicken to try making them, but thanks to this roundup, i'm willing to try.

  13. Wow! My husband loves Bengali sweets and now I have so many options to try out. Thanks to all! :)

  14. Beautiful sweet round up, i bookmarked it for all my bengal sweets. Thanks a lot Sandeepa

  15. Hey Sandeepa thanks for including the posts :).

  16. Great round up Sandeepa, so many great stuff to try!

  17. Lovely round-up - very nicely done!


  18. Wow! I am blown away with the efforts and the results. Thank you all the participants for these lovely treats and thank you Sandeepa for organizing and compiling.

  19. wow, that was a fun roundup Sandeepa! benagli mithai's are most people's favorites, but the chutneys really intrigue me:)

    thanks for your effort!

  20. Really nice and thoughtful roundup. Am delighted with the new treasure trove of bengali recipes, will be trying some of these soon!

  21. Wowwww..thats an amazing list of Bengali dishes Sandeepa. I have to sit and go thr' other parts also.

  22. Mythreeyee's Bengali raita based on my recipe is neither new or non traditional.
    A Bengali raita is how Benglis prefer to flavor their yogurt ! Raita is just flavoured yogurt with goodies. What goodies you add and how you flavor it makes the raita specific to a cuisine. If you flavor yogurt with mustard seeds and split urad dal fried in sesame oil, it becomes the Thayir Pachadi of Tamilnadu. Mix in blended, pickled mangoes and it becomes the Arachu Kalakki of Kerala. Mix in grated garlic, chopped cucumber, mint, olive oil and lemon juice to yogurt and you have the Greek Tzatziki. Mix in grated garlic, mint and black pepper with yogurt and you have Mint- yogurt dip popular in Middle east and Central Asia. Mix in mint, grated garlic, and lemon juice to yogurt and you have the Lebanese Yogurt dip. Mix in chopped onion, grated garlic, olive oil and crumbled feta cheese to yogurt and you have Turkey's Feta Yogurt dip. Mix in grated garlic, lemon juice, tahini and salt to yogurt and you have the famous African 'raita' ZABAADI BIL-TAHIN. So yes, there IS a Bengali raita.

  23. Sandeepa, what Ramki says is correct. The bengali style raita is NOT a 'non traditional recipe' of Bengal. Can you please remove the words 'non traditional' in the post. Thank you.

    Thanks for hosting this event. Great roundup and well presented.

  24. Mythree
    I have removed the words "non-traditional" as per your request. I had loved your dish, however it was very new & non-traditional to me as I had not had a similar raita in my home or any home of any other Bengali Family I know. Of course my knowledge is limited and I am no connosieur.

    Raita or a "yogurt relish" is not part of a Bengali Cuisine. Yogurt with sugar or "mishti doi" as a dessert is what is served as a part of the Bengali Meal.
    Bengalis do not flavor their yogurt normally (at least the families and people I know).

    Of course no cuisine is static and the confluence from other cultures is what makes it interesting.The North indian style raita with cucmber/onion has gained popularity in Bengal and is served with Biryani and such kind of meals though.

    I had used the word "non-traditional" to describe your dish so that people do not get confused.

  25. I'm smacking my lips.... I love Bengali sweets! And my knowledge about Bong cuisine was limited to that till I stumbled upon your blog. Nice round up, San!

  26. I agree with Sandeepa that raita is not a traditional to bengali cuisine. I never had it at my home or any other bengali homes. In general, yogurt is partly flavored with sugar etc as part of dessert. I really like raita though and would love to have it as a staple, but it is definitely not traditional. This is the best part of RCI... we get to know so many quirks and unknowns of India.

  27. Ramki, I am curious to know where you found this information about raita being traditional in bengali cuisine. Is there a source you can point to ? It would be fun to know.

  28. To Mystic : What is a traditional dish ? Anything cooked by our moms / grandma? Or a dish that has been cooked for the last 100 years or the last 1000 ? There are no clearcut answers. Can we say any dish which uses Onions,potatoes,chilies and tomatoes is not traditional as these were not available 300 years back ?

    For me a traditional dish is something my mom or grandma can eat without flinching.

    Bengali Raita might not appear in restaurant menus, but a Bengali will not consider a Greek tzatziki or Kerala's Arachu Kalaki ( Both raitas)as familiar dishes. But lets say you mix Dhokkar with yogurt and flavour it with cumin and kalonji - would a Bong mom eat this ? I'd say yes and there's your Bengali Raita.

  29. Ramki

    I am sorry to say you have a totally convoluted idea of what Bengalis eat (mom or otherwise).

    You are free to your opinion and can write whatever in your blog, but please do not write comments which do not make any sense here
    You say--
    "But lets say you mix Dhokkar with yogurt and flavour it with cumin and kalonji - would a Bong mom eat this ? I'd say yes and there's your Bengali Raita."

    I would say NO, unless it is over some ones stinking dead body.I doubt if anyone else's Mom would eat it either.

    I have tried to make you understand what we Bengalis eat, but you want to stick to your theory, so be it. Either you are trying to be funny and have an immense sense of humor or I don't know what

  30. Sandeepa,

    I eat refried chana dal patties with yogurt love it. So do most people. Only that we call it Thayir Vadai (Dahi Vada). Try it, you might like it. Addition of stinking dead bodies is optional :)

  31. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  32. Interesting theory Ramki, but I have to disagree to that logic. According to your logic, mughlai paratha (made with egg and flour) becomes a traditonal at Tamizh homes, if a traditional spice, say sambhar is used to make it ! Or dosa becomes traditional to punjab if you stuff them with punjabi wadis.

  33. Flour and eggs are not a staple in Tamilnadu and Rice- Urad dal is not a staple in Punjab. If they were, what you say might be correct. And we do have a have a muglai paratha equivalent built from the satple Rice - The egg dosa.

    The building blocks, the flavouring and the additives - together determine the parentage of a cuisine.

    This whole argument revolves around one point - has yogurt become popular enough in Bengal, not just as a dessert ? If yes, you can bet that recipes using traditional flavourings and additives are being cooked. Sandeepa agrees that it is now popular enough to be served with Biriyanis and such. I'm sure it was not the case 50 years back. And 50 years from now, it will be much more.

    Recipes keep changing all the time and even the most traditional of recipes is cooked differently across regions. Only the basic building blocks remain relatively unchanged over time.

    Recipe purity is no different from racial purity or linguistic purity - It just does not exist. What is traditional today was esoteric a few decades back. Should we have a word like 'foodist' with the same connotations as racist ? :)

  34. Mr Ramki, I don't know why you keep arguing with the bengalis about what is traditional and what is not, when they insist something is not!! This is ridiculous to put up some random theory and say it is correct. Of course we can't consider you an authority about this regional aspect, although you keep on insisting it.


  35. Ramki, please get your facts correct . When Sandeepa says that raita is gaining popularity, she means that for reastuarant food. (Sandeepa please correct me if I am wrong), because no one has biryani as staple home food.

    In fact dahi (as non dessert) is even less of a staple in bengal (also most eastern states), as flour is in Tamil Nadu. I know many Tamil homes where roti is made daily. Also, urad dal is common to punjabi cuisine (called kali daal):
    here's a recipe for that:
    and here:

    You've got all your facts wrong and
    don't know why you want to insist that bengalis don't know about their own food because you have a 'theory'! Of course no cuisine is static and bengal has had a lot of influence (read the wiki), but when something is not, then it is not! No point arguing about it just for winning an argument. Sheesh!

  36. Ts it wrong to say more Bengali homes eat raita today than they did 50 years back ?

    I agree that with more chappatis are cooked in Tamil homes now than they were a decade back. With the world becoming a global village, traditional cuisines do change over time. And that's precisely what I'm arguing.

    Urad dal is used as a curry in Punjab, where as it is used as a main dish in Tamilnadu in Idlis, Dosas, Vadas and Uttappams.

    What is this argument about ? If you say Bengalis do not eat raitas, so be it ! But if you accuse me of getting my facts wrong, be kind enough to point them out !

    Anyway, I guess the argument has outlived its usefulness. I'm bowing out. Cheers !

  37. i have a goto place for all yum stuff..our own bengali sweet house.

  38. (Sandeepa: sorry for the off topic comments. can you email me? thanks)

  39. This is in reference to Ramki's views ...I have been reading all the arguments ... Don't forget that entries in Wikipedia are made by people ... persons ...who may belong to any ...who have their own definitions too.So I think to judge or make a comment on anything regarding a particular culture ,we may best leave it to those who belong to it.
    It is good to have diverse knowledge ... but to be so rigid is not advisable.
    We should accept any knowledge about a culture and its food habits from those who belong to it.
    They are the authentic sources.

    BTW, I must mention that I like this blog.Am a Bengali and hope to start blogging soon.Meanwhile I love to go thru the Bengali dishes and the photos.

  40. Excellent round up, Sandeepa. I got back only a day back from a break and found so many more yummy dishes and new blogs. Thanks!

  41. pallavi

    mr. ramki you have asked to point out factual errors on your part. To say bong moms would eat dahi with dhokkar is factually incorrect as already pointed out by sandeepa. Though the whole exercize is useless may i request you to accept wot a bong says about bong cuisine. your ready knowledge about world cuisine and usage of combination of ingredients in different types of cuisine is enviable, but it would be good not to be presumptuous about not just bengali cuisine but cuisine of any other region. One may have good knowledge about such matters but cannot presume to know the nuances of another culture or its cuisine unless one has been literally brought up in or intimately associated with that culture. I request you not to make presumptuous statements, avoid hurting the sentiments of persons of other cultures and spoiling the spirit behind such blogs which popularize and share the food of all regions of India and the world.


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