Tag Archives: Durga Puja

Offerings by Samhati Bhattacharjya

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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 special: Recipe of Bhapa Aloo, a mouth-watering Bengali veg dish

Written by: Samhati Bhattacharjya

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Source: Representational Image from MixandStir

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.

Recipe:

Preparation Time – 10 min

Cooking Time – 40 min

Ingredients:

200 gm small potatoes

2 tsp mustard oil

1/2 tsp Bengali five spice mixture (panchphoron) (whole jeerasaunf 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

Procedure:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bengal beyond ‘Rosogolla’: Top 10 most popular Bengali sweets

Written by: Samhati Bhattacharjya

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Source: Pixabay

Bengal is known for its rich culture, traditions and especially for its finest delectable delicacies, which obviously includes the huge variety of sweets. However, despite having so many varieties of desserts, the image of Bengali sweets is stuck at Rosogolla, Mishti Doi and Sondesh. This is exactly why, we have decided to list down the top 10 popular and most delicious Bengali sweets that one should try apart from Rosogolla and Mishti Doi. Moreover, Durga Puja is just round the corner and it would be the perfect timing to indulge into some sinfully delicious treats.

1. Kheer Kadam

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Source: MixandStir

Kheer Kadam is made by encasing a dry rasgulla or rosogolla (smaller than the usual one), coated first with khoya, which is then dusted with grated dried khoya. It has got its name after Kadamba, a ball-shaped flower with tiny white petals that point in all directions. One can simply pop the whole sweet at one go and relish the taste of both khoya and rosogolla simultaneously.

2. Sita Bhog

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Source: Google

Sita Bhog has mass appeal all over India and that itself boasts how amazing this sweet is. This milk based dish resembles rice vermicelli served with tiny balls of gulab jamun that will easily melt in your mouth. Not convinced? Trust me, you’ve to try it to believe it.

3. Mihidana

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Mihidana is often referred to as the micro-cousin of the traditional Boondi. It is derived from two separate words: ‘Mihi’ meaning ‘fine’ and ‘Dana’ meaning grain. The light golden colour of Mihidana will make your heart melt, just like that.

4. Labanga Latika

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Source: BongCook
Labanga Latika is the hallmark of Bengali tradition. This sweet is made up of khoya, maida, grated coconut, cardamom, ghee and nuts and it’s artfully folded into an envelope shape and sealed with a clove. Later, it is fried in ghee, and soaked in thick sugar syrup to give that extra edge of sweetness to it.

5. Chhanar Jilipi

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Source: GoBengal

This deep fried sweet is made of paneer, khoya and maida and soaked in sugar syrup (flavoured with cardamom). Chhanar Jilipi tastes the best if served warm after heating it for a few seconds.

6. Shorbhaja

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Source: Google

Most people have immense love for deep fried sweets, and when it comes to Shorbhaja, sweet lovers simply can’t resist it. Shorbhaja is entirely from condensed milk which has been deep fried. Its preparation is a tedious process but the final result is absolutely worth the effort.

7. Patishapta

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Source: Google

Patishapta, also known as crepes or ‘pitha’,  is the most popular among all the pithas. It’s actually a rice flour crepe with coconut and jaggery fillings. Patishapta is preserved for Makar Sankranti, and is always made at home. The delicious softness of the crepe and the sweet filling inside makes it one of the best things that you’ll ever have. In some cases, Patishaptas are also served with a bit of sweet thickened milk on top of the roll, making it super yummy.

8. Pantua

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Source: MixandStir
Pantua is very similar to Gulab Jamun. The delicious and heart-warmingly rich paste is made from khoya, channa and flour, which is later made into many medium-sized balls that are deep fried, soaked in sugar syrup and then flavored by cardamom.

9. Langcha

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Source: MixandStir
Langcha belongs to the same family of Pantua, the only difference is that the former is cylindrical and latter is circular in shape. To be true to this sweet, you have to call it Shaktigarh-er Langcha, because it’s credited to have originated from this town in Burdwan district of West Bengal. Coming to its taste, this langcha is super delicious.

10. Joynogorer Moa

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Source: BongHaat

This sweet is made from date palm jaggery, puffed rice and clarified butter (ghee), and cardamom. Moa is particularly available in winter because both the puffed rice and the jaggery belong to that season. However, nowadays these are also available during Durga Puja. Joynogorer Moa is often topped with a raisin or two that adds on to the flavor of this sweet ball.

Exploring the world of Design and Fashion with Shilpis – Fashion Boutique

” I always wanted to start my own Boutique” said Mala Bhattacharjya, the owner of Shilpis – Fashion Boutique. But she didn’t know how to make her dream come true. She waited for a long time to fulfil this wish. And finally one day, she succeeded in establishing her “own Boutique”. It is said that if you want something from your heart, then that thing is bound to happen. Let’s hear the success story from the owner herself.

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1. When and how did you start this Boutique?

Answer: I always wanted to start my own Boutique and make my own collection. But, this dream got fulfilled in the year 2013 when I finally decided to start designing and preparing sarees. My husband and my daughter also supported me a lot and that became my motivation to do it in a bigger scale. And slowly people started liking my collection and they asked for new collection and that is how Shilpis Fashion Boutique was created.

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2. Have you done any designing course?

Answer: No, I have not done any course in designing. I love to draw and design since childhood. But, I have not been into any drawing school for that.

3. Can you tell us something about your collection?

Answer: Sure, why not. See I have a wide variety of sarees, dress materials and tops. In sarees, I have a huge collection of Kantha Stitch, Reverse Kantha, Nakshi Kantha, Kashmiri Stitch, Gujrati Stitch, Madhubani Designs, Gichcha sarees, Matka (both hand print and block print), Katan Silk, Bangalore Silk, Handloom Saress, Chiffon, Georgette, Kalamkari Silk as well as Cotton, Tissue Material, Khesh Sarees and many more. I have also designed Party wear Fancy Sarees with new styles. Other than sarees, I also have dress materials in Cotton, South Cotton, Tissue, Chiffon,  Bangalore Silk and Butter Silk. Coming to the collection of Tops, I have designed these tops in an unique way. You won’t see those designs in any other Boutique.

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4. Have you designed something special for this year’s Durga Puja collection?

Answer: Yes, I have designed a whole new collection for the upcoming Durga Puja and I think people would surely love my collection. But apart from the Pujas, I have also designed for this year’s Diwali.

5. What is the price range of your collection?

Answer: The price depends on different products and their designs. But my collection range starts from Rs. 500 upto Rs. 10,000. On special occasions, we provide special gifts to our customers.

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6. Have you faced any difficulty while setting up your own Boutique?

Answer: My husband and my daughter are very supportive and almost everything is taken care of by them. I won’t say that I have faced any difficulty but yes getting a proper outlet has been very difficult for me. And the search is still on. At present I am working from my home only.

7. There are so many boutiques in Kolkata. What makes your Boutique stand out from the rest of them?

Answer: I agree, that there are many boutiques in Kolkata. But I don’t think that you would get to see these designs anywhere else because my collection of Kantha Stitch and Nakshi Kantha is really rare to find. I myself have designed these and that makes my Boutique different from the others.

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8. Do you participate in different exhibitions and events?

Answer: Yes, I do. I have participated in many exhibitions and the response was really overwhelming. I have another upcoming exhibition in September, 2015. That will be in Ice Skating Rink, Kolkata from 5th September to 7th September.

9. What is your future plan?

Answer: I want to increase my collection and reach out to a wider scale of  people who would appreciate my designs and collection.

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10. Any message for our readers?

Answer: I would request all of you to come and visit my upcoming exhibition. I am sure you guys would love it. I would love to get your valuable feedback and add on to my collection. 🙂

You can get in touch with Shilpi’s Fashion Boutique through their Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/shilpisfashionboutique  and order from there. You can also contact them through their website.