The Binge Guide To Seasonal Food: West Bengal Edition

Winters bring forth a new array of food options for every culture. I’m going to take you through the winter foods of every state just so you know what to eat over the next two and a half months. We start with Kolkata, as the people wait dearly for this season because it brings them two of their favourite things-  Gur and Peas.

Peeling a kilo of pea pods is a common vision in a Bengali household whenever the cold rolls around. This is a bonding experience for the family and it’s pretty therapeutic if you ask me. No one eats any green vegetable as happily as they eat green peas. Some even start eating it raw, fresh out of the pod.

Source: Scratching canvas
But the best way to eat peas is in a Koraishuti’r Kochuri. It’s a puri, stuffed with stir-fried mashed peas which are rich in flavour from the secret spices every mother has. This with dum aloo ( called Aloo’r dam) is the best meal for lunch, breakfast, dinner and snack-time.

And then there is the tide of Date Palm Jaggery that comes in because Winter is the season for Nolen Gur and every possible delicacy you can make of it.
You must’ve heard of Nolen Gur in our article about an amazing ice-cream place in Mumbai. (Read about it here).

Nolen Gur er Payesh is every Bengali’s holy grail. It’s made to celebrate every possible event, be it a birthday or anniversary or exam-ends. Payesh is basically kheer, but denser and made more heavenly with the gur.

Pithe’s are another winter speciality that Bengali's look forward to. They are dumplings made with rice flour. It’s almost like a modak, but the shape is different and the stuffing is different. The only thing common is the fact that the shell is thicker in both cases, unlike in an actual dumpling.

The Pithe’s are stuffed with a mash of coconut and Nolen Gur. But there are hundreds of different possibilities for pithe fillings since they’re made both sweet and savoury. Some of the other fillings are- dry fruits and gur, Mashed peas, posto (a Bengali preparation of poppy seeds)

This last one is something special because I’ve never had it/heard of it/seen it any time other than in winters. Joynagar er Moa is a type of laddoo that originated in Joynagar, West Bengal. It made of date palm jaggery (Nolen Gur) and Kanakchur khoi (an aromatic rice cultivar from Bengal. It has a slender grain and sweet aroma. It’s speciality is that the popped rice prepared from Kanakchur retains the aroma). The Moa is super soft and it melts in your mouth and it is also super sweet and addictive. So, beware when you eat it.

Special shout out to Gur Bhora Sandesh (Sandesh stuffed with gur), Nolen Gur er Rosogolla (Rasgulla flavoured with our and with a centre of liquid gur) and Luchi-Kosha Mangsho (puri and mutton) Winters wouldn’t be the same without these.

Now go, try and not have diabetes.

WRITTEN BY  - Shubhroja Sen



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