Category Archives: Food

The Bengali Bonti and fish preparation

Maachwala – Cutting and Cleaning Fish the Bengali Way – New Delhi, India from Parvati Dev on Vimeo.

Despite the recent incursion of knives, peelers, graters, and other modern, Western-style kitchen utensils, the bonti is still alive and well in the rural and urban kitchens of Bengal – Gastronomica

Or, in the case of Parvati Dev’s above video, it’s in the hands of the local – Bengali – fish seller who comes calling with fish and neighbourhood news that the ‘bonti’ makes an appearance.


Learning Bengali, cooking and a shingara receipe

Shingara are one of my treats whenever I go to Brick Lane in London (along with jalibi and shondesh from Ambala, a Bollywood soundtrack from the compact filmi section in the Bangla music shop, a browse in Rough Trade East and Palanquin spiced tea from Taj Stores).

So I feel heartened that this video has been viewed more than 80,000 times, though whether I’ll have the time to try it out is another matter. Continue reading


বাংলা রেসিপি (Bengali recipes)

This gallery contains 3 photos.

A couple of recipes for Bengali fish and chicken dishes in Bangla. They’re taken from the book মনের মতো রান্না, which I bought for Rs 100 from the Oxford Bookshop on Park Street in Kolkata. (Click on the thumbnail images above … Continue reading

Baby’s anaprashan (Hindu feeding ceremony)


Last weekend we held a party to celebrate my baby son’s anaprashan.

An anaprashan is a Hindu feeding ceremony when, traditionally, a baby receives his or her first taste of solid food. Continue reading

Herbs, spices and other ingredients in Bengali

I’ve started to do a bit more Indian cooking recently for the first time in a while. It’s result of having just a tiny bit more spare time as the baby’s passes the nine months stage and we slowly settle back into a (usually) manageable routine.

K’s sleeping through the night much more often than not, and tends to go through until 5-6am. Even then, when I bring him into our bed he’ll go back to sleep for another couple of hours – if his elder brother, who still climbs into our bed of his own accord – and as often as he can get away with, doesn’t wake him up.

Where was I? Oh yes, food. So, I’m cooking Indian food more now. Only at the weekends and only occasionally. Last weekend was such an occasion. Chicken tikka, pillau rice and dhal. Nothing too fancy, but enough to take up a good couple of hours in the preparation and cooking. Continue reading

Father’s Day

A bumper haul of presents from A this year, that couldn’t help but make me feel I take my own Dad for granted somewhat. Almost all of A’s presents were homemade, though I suspect some he may want back soon, such as the wooden skewers made safe I’d given him for drum sticks which he then asked S to sellotape together into a sort of aeroplane. He also did a number of pictures for me and, pretty thoughtfully for a six-year old, got me an Amazon voucher, for which I’m already looking forward to window shopping (screen shopping?).

I had thought a day of rest would be nice. But it wasn’t going to happen this year. Chores multiplied and it didn’t help that I decided to cook a curry. I scrimped a little, but not much, on some of the preparation (toiri kora) but even so it always takes a couple of hours to do properly, which is why I only cook Indian food at the weekends. So we had my mother-in-law’s version of murgir malai, and one of the few Indian dishes I no longer need the recipe for. There was also kumro chenchki that used swede and carrot for the main vegetables rather than pumpkin.

I had a minor panic cooking this when I realised I’d run out of panch phoran (a mix of cumin, fennel, onion, mustard and fenugreek seeds) and had to make some more up just as it was meant to go into the oil. I also did some dhal, though I’m the only one in our house that eats it. Unlike my rice, which will never be as good as my mother-in-law’s, the dhal’s not bad, aided by some culinary detective work every time she cooks it – I’ve not seen a recipe that says to put in tomato segments but they do seem to add flavour. Continue reading