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Bengal - Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Bengali Cuisine HistoryEdit

Indian cookery has a vast repertoire of delicacies. Bengali cuisine which falls in the sub category of the Indian cookery is one in which the Bengalis great pride in. However, under the guise of progress and modernity the Bengali cuisine has begun to ape the West and most of the dishes in the Bengali cuisine are preferred to satisfy their palate with dishes that foreign to the Bengali culture. Interestingly, enough Bengali food has become very popular and in now available in most parts of the world but it is restricted to a selected few dishes. A highly distinctive cookery came into view in Bengal on the accessibility of the local ingredients that are present in Bengal. The geography of the state of Bengal has an influence on its cuisine. The massive river systems, heat and humidity all come together in forming a fertile soil to allow rice and a huge variety of vegetables to flourish and grow in Bengal. Mangoes, bananas, coconuts and cane sugar grew in great quantity and profusion, fish, milk and meat are ample in the cuisine of Bengal. Commonly, yogurt and other spices of the subcontinent such as ginger and black mustard mainly season the Bengali dishes. Fish and other forms of meat were by and large quite popular back in the day and there was a bias to vegetarianism which was based on religious principles, and it has still continued till this day. Orthodox Bengali vegetarians do not even use onions and garlic in their diet. When Jainism and Buddhism was flowering in the state of Bengal, there was an forbidden law of consuming fish and various other forms of meat, however with the decline of Buddhism in the state of Bengal fish and all the other forms of meat came back into the traditional cuisine of Bengal.

The traditional taste of the Bengali cuisine means rice and fish primarily. Since this is the case, it is quite simple to understand the fact that as Bengal is situated on the monsoon drenched eastern coast of India, the fertility of the soil produces an abundance of rice, vegetables etc., along with fish as it is on the coastal area. In the Bengali cuisine the usage of coconut is very prominent and is clearly visible in the cuisine of eastern Bengal (Bangladesh) as well. Unlike many other coastal regions around the world which make use of coconut oil in their cuisine, the Bengali cuisine does not use coconut oil in its cuisine. The preferred medium of cooking is by using mustard oil instead. It is also noted that the Bengali spicing in its cuisine is quite distinctive form the norm in the heartland of India; nevertheless it is very similar to the spicing in its cuisine to that used further along in the east of the region. The staple food diet in the Bengali cuisine is rice. Pure golden mustard oil is the pungent in Bengali cooking and is commonly stored in zinc lined tins. Traditionally, huge square shaped tins are commonly made use of to store and preserve the popular snack food- muri (puffed rice). Achaars (pickles), spices, dals (pulses) and ghee are all stored in different sizes of jars and bottles. The Bengali cuisine is full of vegetable recipes. Therefore, you will find many vegetable dishes in the cuisine of Bengal as well as fish dishes which are simple to make and are simply mouth licking!

Indian Food Glossary Edit

Finding the ingredients for an Bengali Recipe is not so easy when you do not know the names of the ingredients. Take time to

make a list of ingredients and the name they may be found under at the Local Markets.

Preparation Methods for Bengali Cooking Edit

As the sub-continent is so vast, therefore the preparation methods of the Bengali cuisine of India also differ from region to region. Commonly the whole spices are often dry roasted in a frying pan or they are fried in a little quantity of oil or ghee prior to being used whole, crushed or ground up for use in a recipe. They basically vary in thickness and hardness. Frying spices for the preparation of the Bengali India cuisine is quite simple and easy, and frying spices to a great extent depends on the kind of spice you are frying first, for instance, the mustard seeds will take you longer to fry than coriander, therefore always fry the spices which might be more time consuming than the softer spices. The meat dishes found in the Bengali cuisine of India are commonly first marinated in yogurt and spices and then cooked very slowly in the marinade or saturate. The meat dishes in the Bengali cuisine of India are quite well-liked as are the vegetarian dishes in the Bengali India cuisine. A very important spice which is mostly used in all the recipes is "Panch Phorong" meaning 5 spices including Fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, nigella and radhuni. It gives a specific flavour which gives a signature Bengali taste.

Special Equipment for Bengali Cooking Edit

There are not many, yet a few special cooking equipments that you would require for preparing your Bengali cuisine. Among the huge variety of cooking utensils that you will find in the Indian and the Pakistani cuisine, the Karais (woks) are essential for frying. The tawa (griddle) on which the traditional Bengali rotis and parotas are made are extremely handy. The Handi, which is a unique huge pot for preparing rice and the handless adjustment of the sauce pan, is a great utensil for preparing your scrumptious Bengali cuisine. A rimmed, flat-bottomed Dekchi is the trademark of the Bengali kitchen, so be sure to have the Dekchi. However, most of the equipment will already be found in your kitchen if it is up-to-date. Having a common coffee grinder helps with the roasting and grinding spices and maximizes their capricious oils, which in turn provides your Bengali cuisine to have more taste and flavor to it. Large pots are commonly used is in cooking most of the Bengali dishes, as well as huge pans are used over a furnace on fire. This is how most of the Bengali cooks bring in traditional and authentic flavor to their food. However, now in modern homes where you can not fix in a furnace, the food is cooked over normal stoves, but small pieces of charcoal are added at the end of the cooking for a few minutes to give it a slight smoky taste.

Bengali Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

All over the world there are many food traditions and festivals. Bengal has many traditional food festivals. The Bengali cuisine is rich not only in its cultural way of preparation but also in its food traditions and festivals. Bengali’s are genuinely regarded as lovers of food and especially if it is the true traditional Bengali food. Bengalis simply need an occasion to have a good time, celebrate and with each celebration follows a grand Bengali feast which is indeed quite traditional. Bengali celebrations begin as soon as a child is born. To hold in the highest regard this occasion sweets from the traditional Bengali Indian cuisine are circulated among all present on the occasion. The Indian weddings are grand in every form of the word. There is a lot of festivity on weddings, every region within India has a diverse way of celebrating weddings, but all of them have one thing in common, which is of course the serving of grand traditional Bengali food from the Bengali cuisine in the category of the Pakistani cuisine. Bengalis take great enjoyment in celebrating the traditional way. Moreover, if you encounter a Bengali, he or she will be elated to simply give you a taste of India’s genuine Bengali cuisine. Serving guests at gatherings with lip smacking delights and meals is another traditional custom in India.

People in Bengali Food Edit

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