“There is no sincerer love than the love of food”
It almost feels as if this quote was meant for us Bangladeshis, considering how food is a vital part of all our celebrations. Baishakh is approaching and so is the long awaited colorful Bengali festival: Pahela Baishakh. Nowadays, this joyous occasion is celebrated with colorful parades, traditional music and dances. Food remains a big highlight of this event. Thus, we bring you some special traditional meals you can prepare and enjoy on this day.
Panta and Ilish Bhaja
Most Bangladeshi people opt for this traditional dish over all others as it marks the Noboborsho festivities and is one of the greatest highlights of the day. Panta, leftover rice soaked in water, is served with a flavorful, crispy Ilish bhaja and a pinch of salt, lime and roasted red or green chilies. Being a prominent traditional delicacy of Bangladesh, this dish truly helps you celebrate the rural roots of Bengal.
Another highlight of Bengali New Year is the assortment of various Bangladeshi bhortas that accompany Panta Ilish. These bhortas are a favorite of Bangladeshis as they are not only flavorful and delicious but also easy to make. Who knew mashed food items made of vegetables and dried fish mixed with mustard oil, onion, chili and garlic could offer so much happiness? Dal bhorta, Aloo bhorta, Shutki (dried fish) bhorta and eggplant bhorta are some of the all-time favorites of Bangladeshis on this day.
With green mangoes scattering all over gardens and the arrival of scorching heat, the popularity of ‘Kacha Aamer’ shorbot along with other shorbots have grown more than ever in Baishakh. Made with fresh, juicy fruits and crushed ice, garnished with mint leaves, these shorbots or fruit juices offer a nutritious and refreshing drink during Baishakh.
Poori and Aloor Dom
Without these deep fried special puffed breads known as Pooris, any Bengali New Year breakfast would seem incomplete. Often, Dum-Aloo (more commonly known as Aloor Dom), a dish made with fried potatoes cooked at low flames in gravy with spices is served along with these Pooris. With its appetizing ingredients and mouthwatering aroma, this dish is a prime culinary delight.
If you don’t have at least one fish item in the menu, are you really serving up to that title of “Maach e bhaat e Bangali”? Tilapia fish offers you the chance to save time and yet, create a tasty masterpiece. This is because, you can cook it entirely on the stove top or oven.
With traditional Bengali herbs and spices, this popular dish is made up of two types of pulses: Yellow split pea cakes (Chana Dal koftas) or Matar Dal. Soaked in a Bengali style curry, Dhokar Dalna serves as a wonderful vegetarian side dish.
These traditional Bengali sweets are dipped in thick sugar syrups and have mawa as a stuffing. Wrapped in the shape of small parcels, these treats carry a joy and taste of their own. Lobongo (Clove) is the star ingredient, which keeps the parcel intact and spreads its own flavor.
Another noted sweet dish of Baishakh is the crescent shaped dumpling. These dumplings have an outer shell made from rice powder and a filling made from grated coconut, steamed with cardamom and cinnamon infused milk.
Along with various roadside snacks such as jhalmuri, fuchka or bhelpuri that you will be trying out that day, don’t forget trying out these dishes with the help of recipes available online, to make your Bengali New Year even more eventful.