Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha”. Mahalaya is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power. Thus, the day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis.
Mahalay is also considered the day of remembrance of departed souls of the family. On this day, the ritual of offering “tarpan” in memory of forefathers is commonly practiced. Tarpan is offered on the banks of River Ganga by priests for different group of devotees.
Durga Puja, the biggest festival of the Bengalis, is around the corner and what’s better than having a fulfilling traditional meal during the festive season. This period is a foodie’s paradise with plenty of mouth-watering dishes to savour. Be it snacks or sweets, lunch or dinner, Bengali dishes have something to offer all food enthusiasts.
However, many non-Bengalis, especially who are vegetarians, feel that there isn’t enough variation of Bengali cuisine when it comes to vegetarian food. Well, that’s not the case. Bengalis are known for their love for fish, but at the same time they have some super delicious vegetarian dishes as well.
A regular meal in a Bengali household consists of at least two kinds of vegetarian dishes: a fried vegetable dish and a vegetable curry every day. Shukto, Dhokar Dalna, Alu Posto, Lau Ghonto are a few of those mouth-watering vegetarian dishes that the Bengalis have mastered in. But, if you are willing to try something new from the wide array of Bengali vegetarian dishes, then here is a simple yet delicious recipe of Bhapa Aloo(Steamed Potato) that will surely leave you longing for more.
Preparation Time – 10 min
Cooking Time – 40 min
200 gm small potatoes
2 tsp mustard oil
1/2 tsp Bengali five spice mixture (panchphoron) (whole jeera, saunf seeds, fenugreek seeds, black mustrad seeds and kalaunji)
1/2 tsp mustard paste
1 tsp hung curd
3/4 tsp desiccated coconut paste
2 dry red chillies
Pinch of green chilli paste
Pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Dash of lime juice
2 banana leaves
1. Peel the potatoes and par boil them in salted water. Once the potatoes are boiled, drain the water and keep those aside.
2. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and add the five spice mixture on to it. Then break the red chillies in half and add them next in the oil. Stir the spices around till they splutter.
3. Then pour this mixture over the potatoes and put it aside.
4. Next take a mixing bowl and prepare a marinade with the mustard paste, curd, coconut paste, green chilli paste and turmeric powder. Do not forget to whip it well.
5. Gently mix the potatoes into this marinade. Add salt and lime juice to it and mix it again.
6. Finally, put the potatoes on a steel plate, cover those with the banana leaves and steam them for about 6-8 minutes. Once the potatoes are perfectly steamed, serve it hot on a platter. You can have this dish with both rice and chapati.