Chotpoti – stewed white peas
Moglai Porota (Mughlai Parantha)
Grilled King Fish
Mutton/chicken/beef polao – Rice with meats (biryani)
The essence of polao (also spelled "pulao," "pullao") comes from the fusing of flavors as the meat and rice are cooked together with garlic, onion and ginger; and theoretically, the rice will soak up all the meaty juices and spices. Of the three, the beef polao was the most flavorful: the tender cubes of meat were well-spiced, with a hint of its beefiness spiking through the tumeric, coriander and spicy green peppers. The chicken and mutton – written as mutton but described as goat – polao were seasoned similarly absent-mindedly and equally oily, both without an adequate amount of spices to balance them off.
Mixed Vegetables Curry
The cauliflowers and carrots were sweet and tender, which, the head chef exclaimed as imported directly from Bangladesh. The chopped green onions added brightness to the aptly cooked vegetables, while the fried shallots deepened it with an extra layer of caramelized savoriness.
The roasted eggplant bharta was very spicy with green peppers. The eggplant bharta was pleasantly edible, but the tomato bharta hit the palate with a pleasurable taste akin to an enriched ketchup, with a magnificently concentrated flavor of the tomatoes. After the forceful top note of tomato, one was left with a light, refreshing vinegar, whose acidity was rounded off by the sweetness of sugar and raisins.
Beef bihari kebab
Ras Malai are sweet white balls of chenna (Indian cottage cheese), which have been steeped in condensed milk and flavored with either cardamom, or in Bangladeshi, pandan* (regrettably, I could not confirm as to which of the spices of was used, if any, as the sweet, condensed milk overpowered any trace). The soft but bouncy balls were sponges, which soaked up the decadently sweet condensed milk to an unstable and wobbly equilibrium, which broke as it landed in my mouth and exploded into a milky flood. The textures and flavors of the spongy chenna and syrupy milk were different, and yet, they were united by the hypnotizing sweetness of the milk, which coaxed out the innermost child and brought back all the tender memories. Together with gurer sandesh, these two sweets opened my tightly shut eyes to the world of Bangladeshi and Indian sweets.
* Many Asian cooking calls for the leaves of pandan, especially sweets.
Gurer sandesh (shondeshi) – Special cheese dessert with nalen gur
Rosgolla (rasgulla) - homemade cheese balls cooked in sugar syrup
After the flooding of the milky ras malai, the similarly prepared rosgolla had no fair fighting chance, because, instead of sweet condensed milk, it was merely stewed in a plain sugar syrup.
|Rosgolla: The round ones|
Sandeshi: The square and round whites
Chomchom: The brown oval
Chom chom is the dry version of ras malai, similarly made of chenna and sugar. Its texture is grainier than the ras malai and denser with a consistency quite similar to anko – the Japanese red bean paste. The pronounced flavor of milk solids counter-balanced the sweetness of the small white balls.
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