• Tuck-In

    Mishti Doi | Bengali Sweet Yoghurt

    Mention that you are a Bengali and conversations are bound to lead to Rabindra Sangeet, Kolkata and food. There are assumptions galore that with Bengali genes you are a walking encyclopedia of all things mentioned above. It’s rather amusing – for me at least – when I say I’m not very knowledgeable about either of these. Having been brought up outside Bengal, my exposure to culture has been varied – I’ve learned a few things Bengali from my parents, I’ve learned several things Gujarati having grown up in Rajkot-Baroda-Ahmedabad (cities in Gujarat) and I’ve learned loads of things pan-Indian owing to my friends who’ve been from different parts of the…

  • fromthecornertable, from the corner table, tuck in, mangsho ghughni, streetfood
    Tuck-In

    Mangsho Ghughni | Mutton & Peas Curry

    I’m still staggering under the number of sweets I’ve gorged on in the past few days. Diwali season was literally a ‘mithai season’ (sweets season) for me with sweets made at home, others’ homes and store-bought making their merry way into my system. I won’t insult your intelligence by insisting ‘I couldn’t say no’. Nope, I could have but I am a greedy human being who loves her food too much and does not resist when someone holds a plate filled with goodies under her nose. However, after that mega sweet binge, my taste buds are protesting even that measly teaspoon of demerara sugar that goes in my cuppa. “We want savoury! We want…

  • fromthecornertable, from the corner table, labanga latika, labangalatika, clove, sweet, mithai, mawa, mishti, bengalisweet, bengali sweet
    Tuck-In

    Labanga Latika | Sweet Clove Parcels

    It’s amazing the way certain foods trigger memories of times gone by, relations lost in the passage of time – the memory brightening your mood faster than a cup of coffee or a quart of ice cream can. Labanga latika, a Bengali sweet dish, is one such food item for me. I don’t remember a time when I’ve not eaten labanga latika; I remember being fascinated with the way Maa would make these little envelopes of crispiness filled with sweet delights. The pretty manner in which the sugar syrup added shine and formed those crystals on this parcel, the anticipation of an explosive taste of a whole spice… all of…

  • Tuck-In

    Narkel Naru | Bengali Coconut Confection

    The festivities celebrating different forms of the Goddess are nearly over – the Navratri fervour will reach its crescendo tonight with Ravan dahan even as the Durga devotees are gearing up for that final adieu, the idol immersion. That feeling of having enjoyed a festival to its maximum, mixed with that bittersweet emotion of the end of something good is palpable in the atmosphere. I’ve always had an intense dislike for this feeling. “Why must the festivities get over?” has always been my grouse. Even as a child, I would sulk after Navratri and Durga Puja were over… similar to a young adult sulking when the party is over. Trust my parents to have the perfect trick…

  • Tuck-In

    Dimer Devil | Bengali Deviled Eggs

    Chops or cutlets are an integral part of the Bengali’s food culture, as is evident when a Bengali lists his/her ‘favourite snacks’ or ‘popular street foods’. Every one of us has his/her favourite bhaaja (batter fried) that we want with our lunch of dal-bhaat (lentil soup-rice) or the evening chai. The classic street food, a generous appetiser, the perfect accompaniment to the evening drink, a chop is destined to lift your spirits with the crunch of the deep-fried golden brown cover and the perfectly seasoned (and cooked) filling. Satisfaction guaranteed. There have been times when, as children, the elder sister and I have gazed with longing at that last chop as Maa urged it on…

  • Tuck-In

    Aloo Posto | Potatoes in Creamy Poppy Seed Paste

    “I’m about to board the flight/train. See you soon.”“Okay. By the way, what do you want for lunch/dinner?”“You know Maa! Moshuri daal, bhaat, ghee maakha aloo sheddo (red lentil soup, steamed rice, mashed potato seasoned with ghee and salt)” This conversation, or a version of it, is repeated each time I am on the way home after travelling for days/weeks/months. This ritual stems from the feeling of warmth and comfort that only potatoes can give. Nutritionists and dieticians have gone blue in the face urging me to stop eating this ‘fattening’ food. I’ve quit them rather than give up potatos. Sheer nonsense I tell you! Has there ever been anything…

  • Maangsho Jhol (Bengali Mutton Curry), from the corner table, #fromthecornertable
    Tuck-In

    Maangsho Jhol | Bengali Mutton Curry

    Several people, when asked about a mutton curry, have described it as “a gravy of meat, potatoes and/or vegetables” depending on their location on the world map. For a Bengali, however, there is nothing ‘simple’ about the maangsho jhol (Bengali style mutton curry). This is a curry that is usually reserved for the Sunday lunch or made to add that extra oomph to a meal made to impress. A Bengali can regale you with tales of incidents and heated discussions that have taken place during the Sunday lunch of maangsho jhol and bhaat (rice). There is an emotional connect with this curry. Such is the robust personality of the maangsho jhol…

  • Vegetable chops, A bengali snack. From the corner table, #fromthecornertable, from the corner table, fromthecornertable, food blog, travel tuck-in talk, recipe, bengali food, snack, indian cooking, regional cuisine, savoury, snack, indian street food, vegan, vegetarian, photo: Vaibhav Tanna
    Tuck-In

    Vegetables Chops and Nostalgia

    “At the hostel, we were only given a mug of tea – no milk or sugar – in the evenings. So our group of 5 would buy mudi (puffed rice) on the way back from college, take our mugs of tea and gather in one room. A sheet of newspaper would be spread open, the mudi poured onto this in a heap and the lot of us would settle down for an evening of gossip-tea-mudi. On special occasions, we would buy some vegetable chop for our evening snack,” said maa, thinking about her days as a student at the University of Calcutta, her face alight with memories as pishi (paternal…