Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

Oh! Calcutta, My Calcutta

with 2 comments

Mocha: Banana flower

Mocha: Banana flower

When I land in India, my first port is usually Delhi. And if I am craving for Calcutta food, my only option is to head out to Oh! Calcutta.

This time, for lunch at Oh! Calcutta – here is what I ate.

Mochar chop: Essentially these are cutlets made with cooked, smashed and spiced banana flowers. Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern found Mocha to be bizarre but unless I am much mistaken banana flowers are delicacy in many tropical places in the world. At Oh Calcutta, this was done well.

Smoked Hilsa: Hilsa or Ilish is the ultimately popular fish from Padma river delta in Bangladesh. It is a fish like salmon that lives in the sea and spawns in freshwater. This was not bad but like Canadian smoked salmon.

Bhaja moong daal: Moon daal is fried in small amounts of ghee until until is is golden brown. It is then cooked with water until the daal achieves a soup like in consistency. A paste of aromatics (cinnamon, clove, cardamom) and other spices (salt, cumin, turmeric, ginger, garlic) are fried and added to daal before serving. Although a tad sweet, this was authentic.

Mangsho: Goat meat

Mangsho: Goat meat

Potato Posto: This is a well loved everyday recipe in a Bengali home. Poppyseeds are ground to a paste and then added to softcooked potatoes (and other vegetables such as squash or eggplant). Here, I had no complaints.

Koraishuntir Dhokar Dalna: Typically made with lentil cakes, this variation is seasonal – peas are abundant in winter. The peas are mashed with spices, made into cakes and then shallow fried. They are then gently cooked in a spicy tomato gravy. This dish turned out to be a major disappointment. The cakes were too salty.

Freshwater Bhetki fish in mustard sauce: Bhetki is a flaky freshwater fish. Fish fillets is spiced with salt and turmeric and shallow fried. The fried fish pieces are gently cooked in a spiced sauce made with ground mustard seeds. Probably the best executed dish in the ensemble.

Golbarir Kosha mangsho: Slow cooked young goat cooked in spices and its own juices – the goat is marinated in ginger-garlic paste with aromatics and then slow fried with finely chopped onions. I had mine with Luchi and it left me craving for more.

Aam Kasundi Kakra: Shelled crab cooked with raw mango and mustard sauce. Ths could have been exceptional but this was non-descript. The raw mangoes were out of season and had no sourness. The crab was in season and fresh tasting. Again the chef had used a heavy hand with sugar.

Bhetki: Fish

Bhetki: Fish

Daab Golda Chingri: Jumbo prawns cooked in coconut milk and served in a young coconut shell. Homecooks often make this in coconut paste instead of coconut milk which adds a pleasant texture. The prawns felt somewhat overcooked and I missed the texture that grated coconut presents – maybe something to do with my expectations here.

Steamed rice: Fluffy grains of basmati rice.

Naan: Risen dough is strectched and shaped like individual size pizza and then cooked in a tandoor oven.

Luchi: Balls of dough (regular flour) are flattened and then fried in hot oil until they puff up. Bengalis love luchi and Kosha Mangsho and I was no different.

Nolen gurer icecream: Icecream with sandesh (sweetened milk condensed to cake) bits drizzled with fresh date syrup. This sweet syrup is harvested from date tree like maple syrup – eventually processed into jaggery or refined into sugar. Think maple icecream with cookie dough drizzled with maple syrup!

All in all – jolly decent food when mom’s food is not easily accessible.

Written by Som

January 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm

2 Responses

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  1. The Nalen Gur Ice Cream is not an “Icecream with sandesh”. There is more to it. It is an ingenious creation by Fresh and Naturelle Ice Creams in Calcutta, India. For further details, please mail freshandnaturelle@gmail.com.


    January 2, 2011 at 6:09 am

  2. […] a recent visit to Delhi, had some mocha chops at My Calcutta restaurant. So, inspite of its robust flavors, it is not merely the terrain of a home cook. Once […]

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