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A special marinade is used on an entire goat, which is then cooked over a charcoal fire to make this delicacy. A wedding is usually the occasion when so much meat is cooked at one go.
This samosa (fried and savoury pastry) of sorts is filled with potatoes/peas/cauliflower and is baked or fried. There is also a non-veg version that has a filling of minced meat. This is a popular evening snack, served with tea.
This deep-fried flatbread is made of wheat, with generous amounts of ghee (clarified butter). It can be eaten with any curry, especially fish curry.
It is a layered rice dish mixed with potatoes and meat. Legend has it that the exiled Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Lucknow once had to go to Bengal and he brought back the Awadhi biryani. However, with his limited means, he had to get the meat replaced to a large extent with the readily available, cheaper vegetable options.
A huge variety of these delicious lumps of minced meat cooked over an open grill is available across the city of Kolkata. One can choose from sutli kebab, Bihari kebab, boti kebab and more, all of which have meat mixed with a special marinade and a host of masalas.
Essentially a fried roti (flatbread) with a delicious filling, kathi roll or roll is a well-loved snack of Kolkata. Paneer, mutton or chicken may be used as the filling in these rolls, along with an egg.
This light and tasty snack has been an evergreen favourite. Puffed rice is mixed with peanuts, finely chopped onions, tomatoes, pieces of green chilli and a splash of mustard oil. It is a popular roadside food, with hawkers galore serving equally tasty varieties.
White peas are mixed with finely chopped onion, tomatoes, chillies, coriander, coconut and tamarind juice to make this delicacy. Traditionally, it is eaten with luchi (a deep-fried flatbread) and radha ballabhi (stuffed deep-fried flatbread).
A remnant of the colonial rule, fish finger is made using minced fish, shaped into cutlets and deep fried with a crispy batter. This popular snack can also be made using chicken or mutton.
This relatively lighter and healthier dessert is made using Indian cottage cheese (chhena) or paneer with sugar. Instead of the chhena, milk can also be used. It is said that Bengalis used influences of the Portuguese technique of making cheesy sweets and that is how sandesh was born.
Indian cottage cheese (chhena) is mixed with semolina (suji) dough and cooked in a light sugar syrup to make this sweet dish that is popular across the country. Legend has it that the origin of rosogolla can be accredited to Puri in Odisha, where this 700-year-old sweet was part of a worship ritual. It is said that Lord Jagannath offered it to his consort, Goddess Lakshmi, to placate her for not taking her along on the Rath yatra (chariot procession).
Involving the traditional process of using 'pakki' – pre-cooked goat meat – in basmati rice, mutton biryani is a well-loved dish of Kolkata. To give it a distinct aroma and flavour, it is slow-cooked on 'dum' – kneaded wheat flour is used to seal the utensil in which the biryani is cooking, and it needs to be made on a wood fire or on a charcoal stove so that it gets its unmatched smoky aroma. Some of the spices used include saffron, nutmeg and star anise.
Seeped with Muhgal influences, this stuffed and fried flatbread is a popular meal accompaniment across Kolkata. The main ingredient used is whole wheat, and the parantha is filled with finely chopped onions, chillies, coriander.
This sweet curd makes for a lovely ending to a delicious meal. It is different from yoghurt in the technique by which it is made. To prepare it, milk is boiled until it is slightly thickened. It is then sweetened with sugar, dates and allowed to ferment overnight. It is usually stored in an earthenware as gradual water evaporation through its pores thickens it. It is garnished with cardamom.
Popularly called as golgappa and pani puri in other parts of India, phuchka is the street staple of Kolkata's culinary scene. Puchkas are crisp and fried puris that are filled with mashed potatoes, tamarind pulp, black chana and flavoured with red chilli, cumin powder, black salt. Almost all streets seem to be lined with vendors selling tamarind water-filled phuchkas. It is said that phulkis (a precursor to phuchka) originated in Magadh, which was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas (current day Bihar). These then evolved to the delectable phuchka that is eaten with such relish today.