"Bangladeshi cuisine is not only starkly different, these preparations are as sumptuous as they are spicy."
-Chef Shawkat Osman
Someone appeared without the Chef's Toque and the double breasted chef's suit, casually stormed towards us with his heavy steps, running his fingers through his curly bushy hair. Cladding with a Punjabi (Kurta) and white wide Pajamas renowned Bangaldeshi Chef Shawkat Osman comfortably relaxed on his position and asked "Bolo, Kotha theke Shuru Kori??" (Tell me where to to start from). In his first appearance his intellectual aura enlightened and changed the whole atmosphere. And thus we started our journey with him to explore the Bangladeshi cuisine, I wished like it would never end ever. A very simple down-to-earth personality who will make one a friend within a second and a bag full of humour to share and make an atmosphere always full of joy with his jovialness - He is like that. Yes, he is Shawakat Osman the famous and talented Chef, who always leaves the impression whenever he comes to Kolkata to wave his magic wand through his authentic style of traditional Bangladeshi Cuisine and let us remember the taste that lasts days after days. We had witnessed an unforgettable memory that we will cherish ever after. .
Poila Boishakha is just away a few steps from our door step. But Bengal has already glamed up with all the decorations and all the famous food outlets geared up with their Traditional Bengali Delicacies on offer. On an invitation by The Gateway (Taj), Kolkata, to preview the Poila Boishakh Menu spread designed by Chef Shawkat Osman, two of us (Amrita and I) from Kolkata Food Bloggers explored the journey through the Bangladeshi cuisine. The line of division of Ebar Bangla (East Bengal) and Opar Bangla (West Bengal) not only creates a different outlook in the two cultures but also in the taste that only can be understood when the authentic traditional Bangladeshi cuisine gets served on your table and someone from the root explains you all your queries explaining the Food history and anecdotes behind the cuisine. If this part of Bengali dishes tends towards a bit sweeter side, the Opar Bangla dishes intend to add more chili in the dishes. They will soak whole night the whole red chilies and a group of ladies will come up only to grind the chilies to make a fresh paste out of it. The specialty of Bangladeshi cuisine is thus no addition of sugar or big onions but red chili paste and freshly grind Cumin powder. The only lemon they use, is the Kagzi Lebu (spl kind of Lime) nothing else. A special kind of Cock (Morog) gets breaded especially for the food lovers and to use in a special dish called Morog Pulao. The flesh of the Morog/Cock is a bit hard but very tasty. Eyeing down on the menu we found an array of Famous Bhangladeshi Bhorta dishes (I found a very nice article detailing about Bhorta HERE) were enlisted on offering during these fest. One can have the taste of Baygon (Brinjal) Bhorta , Byagon(Brinjal) Doi Bhorta, Potol (POinted Gourd) Bhorta, Green Beans/Sheem Bhorta, different kind of fish and prawn bhorta. One can indulge oneself with the very traditional Gime Patar Bora (a special kind of leaf only available in Bangladesh which is quite bitter in taste ) or Misty Kumro Phool Bhaji (Fritters out of sweet pumpkin flower). Osman's very own creation of Sak Dal (Red spinach with Lentil) is a must to mention which can be devoured as a soup too. Bangladeshi cuisine can't be completed if the fresh pure Ghee (Clarified butter) is not used. It not only enhances the dish but makes its aromatic and flavourful. And the key is, one have to use the Pure fresh Ghee. That we understood soon after tasting the Bhuna Kichuri, Morog Pulao and Tehari. All the three dishes were exquisitely delectable with the aroma of Pure Ghee. A special kind of Gobindo Bhog rice has been added specially from Bangladesh. In Bnagladesh Bhuna Kichuri is mainly served as a breakfast dish with Egg Korma without the addition of turmeric powder. Even the special kind of Cock (Morog) also gets imported here mainly for the fest to enhance the authentic taste of Morog Pulao. Tehari is another unique dish got served on our plate. It is one of the famous Fast Foods of Bangladesh and happily gorged by the young generation and famous in the college canteens. Mainly Beef is used for the dish but Mutton is as well famous. To make this one have to take out 40 small pieces out of 1 kg meat. Chef insisted us to taste the Shorse Mangsho (Mutton with Mustard paste) which is getting first time introduced in Kolkata in his Poila Boishak Menu. In a very pungent mustard gravy the mutton gets slowly cooked. When you will taste the sharp flavour of mustard will give a kick to the palate. Another dish that is worth to mention is the Murgi'r Roast. Its cooked totally in the Pot Roasting process in a white almond base gravy. The soft and juicy chicken along with the gravy complemented perfectly with the rice dishes. Last but not the least the desserts were worth to mention too. Though I am not a sweet lover but instantly fallen in love with the oozing Kheer Patishapta. Many are on the list too - like Lou Payesh (Bottle Gourd kheer), Gokul Pitha, Khirtosh Pitha.
Many other varities of Bangladeshi dishes will be served on during this Poila Boishakh Fest: Doi A'chor (Jackfruit in yogurt), Maan Kochu (Taro Root) Malakari, Potoler (Pointed Gourd) Dolma, Machher (Fish) Salon, Rui Moorighonto, PaNch Phoron Murgi, Mangsho Dal Yakni, etc.
For the refreshment one can indulge oneself with any of the three quenchers: Dub (Coconut water) Komla'r (Orange) Shorbot, Teytul (Tamarind) Shorbot or Lassi...
Executive Chef Ashish Roy of The Gateway explained that all the dishes where presented in the attire of the less spicyness and less oily to maintain the healthy versions of the food.
|Dub Komla's Shorbot|
|Gime Patar Bora|
|Osman's Sak Dal|
|Ayre Macher Kalia|
|Kheer er Patishapta & Gokul Pitha|
Highly recommend to try out the Bangladeshi Culinary journey at The Gateway, Taj, Kolkata. More detail:
Buffet : Priced at INR 1250+taxes
Saturday 12th April - Dinner
Sunday 13th April - Lunch and Dinner
Monday 14th April - Dinner
Tuesday 15 th April - Lunch and Dinner
Thali :Available for lunch and dinner from Saturday 12th April-Tuesday 15th April, 2014
Niramish Thali (Vegetarian) - INR 1000+taxes
Amish Thali (Non vegetarian) - INR 1100+taxes
Timings : 12:30 pm-3:00pm and 7:30 pm-10:30 pm
For reservations call : 033-66653133
For more photos visit HERE...
Read Fellow Blogger Amrita's experience HERE...
[Disclaimer: This is an Invited Review and solely based on the author's honest experience..] .