Press coverages are always special but some of them are a tad bit more special than the rest. Couple of weeks back The Telegraph in India featured a story on Calcutta Street, yes it’s a regular press story but it meant a lot more because of more reasons than one – this is a newspaper that I grew up reading , it is the largest newspaper of Calcutta (my hometown) where my family still resides. When the story was out I was sleeping here in London (it was 4 am) and my whatsapp went bonkers with messages from people who I haven’t even spoken to in years or even decades. All I can say is it was emotional.
The sound of dhak (percussion), loudspeakers on the road playing the latest bollywood numbers, every street lit up with bright lights, people flocking into shopping malls and other markets to get themselves the best outfit to wear for that special time of the year and ofcourse every restaurant/stall/food market coming up with pujo special menu’s — That is Durga Pujo or the biggest Bengali Festival in Kolkata, India.
After 7 long years I finally got to be in Kolkata for this crazy madness and boy I could feel the butterflies and excitement in lower abdomen the minute I made the decision. I decided to absorb every bit of it and dive into the whole craziness and fun right from shopping, eating, pandal hopping, raiding my mum’s wardrobe and wearing all the beautiful saree’s and dancing to the beats of the dhak! I am sharing a few photographs from my trip which could give you a very very faint idea about the festival because you can never know what really is without actually being there!
These are all the pictures from my trip and the festivity in Kolkata, hope you enjoyed it and let me know your thoughts or if you wanna know anything more! I definitely recommend everyone to visit Calcutta during this time of the year which is usually during September-October .
I just got back from a month long holiday in India (Kolkata and Bombay) to visit my friends and family and hence have been away from the bloggosphere for a bit. Now that I am back I thought of sharing some exquisite dishes from India with you people which are my favourite.
Lets start with my personal favourite street food, Phuchka also known as Pani puri, sev puri etc in different parts of India.
These are tiny little fluffed delightful pancakes with a spicy and tangy potato filling dipped in spicy and sweet tamarind water. I barely know anyone who can resist these little balls of heaven!
Second is Chello Kebab which is a dish available in one of the oldest restaurants of Calcutta (Kolkata) called Peter Cat.
This is a very unique yet simple dish, it essentially has boiled rice in the center with a dollop of butter on it, on one there are some chicken reshmi kebabs and the other side has lamb sikh kebabs which you can quite easily grill at home or just buy frozen ones from Sainsbury and stick it in the oven. It is garnished with some veggies( Tomato, Carrots and Peas) and a fried egg on top. This might be simple but its such a tasty and filling meal!
Finally its time for something sweet and whats better than some mouth watering Cup cakes?? LSD (Love Sugar Dough) is one of my favourite cup cake joint in India. it is a tiny little shop in Bandra area of Bombay but its so popular that people travel for hours just to buy cup cakes from there. They boast of quite a celebrity studded client list! Take a look at these cup cakes and tell me you are not tempted to grab one of these!
And finally thats me having a lemon cooler from Candies (Anather favourite) to beat the heat in India!!! 😀
So incase you are planning a trip to India definitely try these dishes its a mecca for the foodies!
Biriyani was a dish originated in Iran and travelled to the Indian subcontinent with the Iranian travellers. In India we have several variants of biriyanis. I grew up in Kolkata (Original Capital of India by the British) and the Calcutta Biriyani in the list of famous Biriyanis and is definitely my favourite one, this style biryani evolved from the Lucknow style when Wajid Ali Shah, the last nawab of Awadh was exiled in 1856 in Kolkata. But he did not forget bringing his personal Chef with him as he was very particular about his food. Due to recession aloo (potato) had been used instead of meat. Later on that has become the specificity of Calcutta Biryani, though meat is also served along with it. In addition, this biryani is much lighter on spices than compared to other Biryani’s.
I thought a little history about this finger licking dish would be a good piece of trivia to brag to your friends about when you next time visit an Indian restaurant.
So let’s take a look at the ingredients we need for this:
3/4th Kilo Lamb
4 Big Potatoes, half boiled and diced into big chunks
4 cups of basmati rice
3 Table Spoon Garam Masala Powder
2 cups of yogurt
2 Tablespoon Ginger Garlic paste
3 Onions chopped
Couple of cinnamon sticks and cardamom
Few strands of saffron
1 glass of Milk
5 Table spoon of Ghee (Indian Butter)
Fry the onions till golden in ½ table spoon of ghee and keep it aside in a container
Use the same ghee to fry the half boiled potatoes
Marinate the lamb with yogurt, garam masala, salt, ginger garlic paste for atleast a few hours if not overnight.
Pour this marinated lamb mixture into heated up ghee and let it boil in low temperature, till the lambs are soft and tender.
Half boil the rice with the cinnamon and cardamom
Once the lamb is boiled, take a big container and mix the half boiled rice, fried onions, fried potatoes and the boiled lamb together in the rest of the ghee (4 table spoon or more if you like it to be more rich)
Then add the milk and saffron to it and cover the container and let it cook in very low heat for 30 mins and give it occasional stir.
Once the rice and potatoes are boiled and the milk has soaked in, your biriyani is ready to be served.
This is a long process I agree but trust me the effort is so worth it because I can promise this is definitely going to be one of the best meals you’ve ever had!