Well my gastronomic tour to Kolkata started off with a homemade Bhapa Ilish. The hilsa slow cooked on steam with mustard paste, is a true delight to taste buds for any true Bengali food lover. Bhapa Ilish is a common delicacy in most Bengali household. Though with rising of prices of hilsa, it is becoming a far fetching delight, for the Hilsa loving Bengalis.
The street food is the part that’s always on top priority whenever visiting Kolkata. Starting for mouth watering Ghugni, to jhal muuri and papri chat nothing goes a miss from my list.
Ghugni is a familiar sight at every nook and corner of the city. A petty dish made out of dried yellow peas is cooked with gravy, in the traditional Bengali style. It is garnished with mouth watering tamarind water, onions and chillies.
Jhal moori a speciality only to be found in Bengal, is must different from the bhel puri as believed by most of the Indian. Even though both are based on puffed rice, they are a world apart in flavor. Between the two, Jhal Moori is easier to put together on a whim, as it does not need three kinds of chutney, and therefore requires less per-planning than bhel. Apparently, Jhal can mean not just spicy, but also pungent, and this snack gets its jhal from mustard oil, red onions and if you are up for it : fresh green chillies ! A special mention of bhaiyaji, the man who sold moori outside my collage. Now he has shifted base to South city Mall. Right outside the mall on a small stall he still serves the all so familiar jhal moori and Papri chat. So all you Heritageian, who ever wondered where our favorite mooriwala shifted, make a visit to South City and you will be welcomed by his ever familiar smile and the enchanting taste of his moori.
Daler Boda, delicacy familiar to all street food lovers of Kolkata, is simple pakoda made out of lentil. This simple food is server with a chutney made out of mango and chillies. The combination adds up to one of the most mouth watering combinations possible.
Ghoti Gorom as most people of Kolkata call it is snack that is made out of mixtures. A hot pot of coal (ghoti gorom) is placed in a bucket of mixture. The chat is then made out of hot mixture, raw mangoes, chillies , onion.
A journey through Kolkata’s street food would not be over without the mention of phuchka, or panipuri as its northern counterpart is called. I could probably not write a blog without mentioning my favourite phuchka wala in Kolkata. Right under the foot brigde near Courfill Road on the wat towards Kosba on the right hand side of the street sit the man who has taught me to fall in love with this food all over again. Having eaten from this man for over a decade, I would certainly vouch that he makes the best puchkas in whole of Kolkata.
Fish fry. The continental style of filleting fish was not known to Bengalis initially. It came as an influence of the British cuisine and lead to one of the famous street food of Kolkata, the Fish fry, bread crumb coated Bekti(Bhetki) fillets. Fish fry is my all time favourite. I can have them anytime…at breakfast to dinner. Just thinking of munching those soft fish fillets with a crunchy bread crumb coating…brings a smile on my face. Fish fry is generally served with Kasundi, a tangy mustard paste.
The famous evening snack of alur chop with moori is a common household affair for most Bengali household.
Beguni and peyaji go hand in hand with alur chop. Made out of egg plant and onions respectively, these two also are also a hot favourite among the food loving Bengalis. Talking about Kolkata’s street food and not mentioning these would be a downright crime which very few true at heart food loving Bengali would forgive.
Roll, or Kati roll as most of the people outside Bengal know it as, is a street-food originating from Kolkata, India. The Kati Roll is said to have started its life from the Nizam Restaurant in Kolkata, a popular eatery founded in 1932 that sold kebabs and parathas and other Mughlai food in the heart of Kolkata. There are many stories about how exactly the roll got started. Some centre around harried office commuters who wanted something quick and portable, some mention British Babus who were too fastidious to touch the kabab. The most likely origin is probably more mundane, but in any case someone decided to roll things up at some point. Nizam enjoyed a virtual monopoly of this method of serving a kabab for decades, but it eventually became commonplace in Kolkata and later spread elsewhere.