West Bengal’s love for food, especially for fish and meat is not hidden from the world. But, the lesser-known vegetarian delights from West Bengal will leave you salivating. By Tanvi Jain

Vegetarian Delights From West Bengal

1. Shukto 

 

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A bitter-sweet lunchtime delicacy in West Bengal, this unique blend of flavours from a wide range of vegetables, is not just a common household item, but also a preferred dish during festivals. While some experts say that it was the Portuguese who brought this dish to the state, others are of the view that the practice of eating bitter food was adopted from the principles of AyurvedaA rich stew of bitter guard, raw banana, sweet potato, Bengal grams, drum sticks, neem leaves and French beans, this delicious mix of veggies and spices tastes like an explosion of flavours in your mouth. Drooling already? Well, head to 6 Ballygunge Place in Kolkata, where you can get a bowl of delicious Shukto for just INR 225. 

2. Mochar Ghonto 

 

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This banana blossom stir fry – one of the best Bengali origin dishes — is prepared by first adding bay leaves and cumin seeds in mustard oil for flavour, and then adding boiled banana flowers to it followed by spices such as chilli powder, turmeric, cumin, and then raisins, sugar and salt. The mixture is cooked and sprinkled with garam masala and finely chopped coconut, mixed again and served with rice. Although the best place to lay your hands on this delicacy would be a local household, but if that’s not possible, you can trSaptapadi restaurant in Kolkata where you can get it for approximately INR 120.  

3. Kancha Kolar Kofta 

 

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Kofta – a widely consumed dish in various forms all across India — has its origin in the Persian cuisineKancha Kolar Kofta is basically unripe banana dumplings dipped in curry. It is made from raw bananas, potatoes, bay leaf, fennel, fenugreek, cumin seeds, cardamom, tomato, onion and a bunch of other spices. For the dumplings, you need to mash bananas and potatoes, and mix them with spices and gram flour to form a smooth dough-like paste. The gravy is of course made of onion, ginger, garlic and the spices, in mustard oil. Later the koftas are added to the gravy and cooked for some time before adding masala and ghee. The preparation is then stirred and garnished before being served. To try a delicious bowl of this Bengali vegetarian delicacy you can head to Amra Petuk in Ballygunge, Kolkata, where it is available for INR 190 approximately. 

4. Ledikeni 

 

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Made of chenna with an essence of cardamom and a hidden raisin, this cylindrical shaped reddishbrown cousin of Gulab Jamun from the North, holds its roots in Kolkata dating to the British ruleThe dessert earned its name and fame from Lady Canning, in whose honour it was prepared, who grew so fond of it that not only did she order it at every occasion but also made it famous across Kolkata. However, there are many other stories behind this lip-smacking dessert. The best place to have it from is, of course, the iconic 200-year-old Bhim Chandra Nag shop in Kolkataone of the famous confectioners of Bengal who is said to have made the dessert for Lady Canning for the first time.  

5. Lobongo Lotika 

 

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These envelopeshaped clove-sealed little pieces of heaven, find their way in every Bengali occasionWhat’s inside the sealed flour envelope? Well, a mix of khoya, coconut, raisins and cardamom, folded and fried in ghee and later coated with sugar syrupThe trickiest part is the way the dough is folded to give it the shape of an envelope. However, once it’s done, and the dessert is all ready to be eaten, the blast of flavours in your mouth with just a small bite of it, makes all the hard work totally worth itSo, if you also want to indulge in this sweet pocket, Ganguram and Sons in Jadavpur, Kolkata is your go-to place.   

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