KOLKATA (CITY OF JOY)

West Bengal, an Indian state located in the eastern part of India and Kolkata is the capital city of West Bengal. Kolkata is also known as the cultural capital of India since ancient times. West Bengal has given birth to great poets, freedom fighters, and many other world-famous personalities. Bengali food is essential part of Bengali culture. 

Evening snacks holds an important position in Bengali culture because, in our Bengali culture, we use to eat four times instead of 3 times a day. Fourth meal which Bengalis use to eat is known as snacks or can be called as evening snacks. Frankly speaking Bengali culture remains incomplete without snacks and tea.


Still, today in Kolkata, not only in Kolkata throughout the West Bengal, many shops and restaurants are there who are specialized in making evening snacks and tea. In every locality, people use to sit together and discuss various topics, mainly politics and many other pieces of stuff. At the same time, they use to enjoy their evening snacks along with tea.

In this blog, I will discuss some of the essential Bengali snacks that are enjoyed along with tea. Bengali snacks are very vibrant, just like the Bengali culture.

Let’s start our journey into the world of Bengali snacks:



JHAL MURI 


·         Jhal Muri: The first name that comes into our mind when we hear about the term Bengali snack is Jhal Muri. We, Bengali people, are fond of eating Jhal Muri, we can eat Jhal Muri at any time of the day. Jhal Muri can be considered as a perfect traveling partner while travelling in a suburban local train or bus. A monsoon evening in West Bengal is incomplete without Jhal Muri accompanied with some tea.

Jhal Muri preparation: Jhal means spicy and muri means puffed rice when both of these terms Jhal and Muri gets combined with each other and gives birth to the term named as Jhal Muri. Basically to prepare Jhal Muri puffed rice or muri is taken inside a container. After adding muri into the container, then we have to add one by one, all the ingredients like cucumber, peanuts, boiled potato, chopped onion, water-soaked gram, chopped coconut, pickle, chopped green chili, chanachur, and a spice powder called as bhaja masala. At the end, mustard oil is added, which gives the added punch to the Jhal Muri, and after adding mustard oil everything is mixed thoroughly and served. Jhal Muri is one of the most pocket friendly, and healthiest Bengali snack one can have. It cost around 10-15 Indian rupees approximately 0.20 $. Jhal muri are served in thongas (small paper pockets). 




ALOO KABLI

 IMAGE SOURCE|GOOGLE|IMAGE BY: Sumit Surai


·         Aloo Kabli: Second most popular Bengali snack after Jhal Muri is Aloo Kabli. Aloo Kabli is very popular among the school and college going people. To prepare Aloo kalbi, tamarind water is used, which gives a tangy punch to it. Because of this tangy punch, it is quite popular among youngsters, not only youngsters; even aged people also like aloo kalbi.

I am sharing my personal experience with Aloo Kabli that I have experienced in my school life. That school recess remains incomplete without a vendor selling aloo kalbi outside the school in West Bengal. Aloo kabli cost around 10-15 Indian rupees approximately about 0.20$. Again it is served in thongas (small paper pockets). 

Aloo Kabli preparation: Preparing Aloo Kabli is not a matter of big deal, one of the main ingredients required to prepare aloo kabli is boiled potato. Other ingredients which are required to prepare aloo kabli is water-soaked sprouted Chola means Bengal gram, chopped onion, chopped green chili, chopped coriander, beetnoon, jhuri bhaja menas sev, tamarind water and bahja masala. First of all, boiled potato is diced into pieces and poured into a container. After that, all the other ingredients are added to it. After adding all the ingredients, it is mixed well, and then it is served.





ALOO CHOP

·         Chop (tele bhaja): Chop (telebhaja) is one of the most mouth-watering Bengali snack taken along with muri and tea. During Kalbaishaki and Monsoon time, the demand for Chop (telebhaja) gets a huge hit. Streets of Kolkata, especially of North Kolkata and suburbs near Kolkata, gets crowded with people near the shops selling tele bhaja for an evening snack. Telebhaja is the best companion for evening addas means gossip in West Bengal.

Nowadays, people use to get confused between Chop and cutlets. Cutlets are mainly filled up with a stuffing of fish, meat, chicken, and sometimes vegetable mix, and then the whole cutlet is dipped into egg yolk and breadcrumbs, and then it is deep-fried. While on the other hand Chop is mainly made up of veggies like potato, mashed potato, onion, brinjal, and pumpkin, which are cut into pieces and dipped into a batter of chickpea flour and then it is deep-fried.

We will discuss aloo chop, which is very similar to aloo bonda and Vata Vada. But there is a difference in aloo chop because the filling, which is used in aloo chop, does not contain any curry leaves. 

Preparation of Aloo chop: Preparing these delicious Bengali snack aloo chop is very easy. Ingredients that are mainly required to make aloo chop are boiled potato mash, chili powder, chickpea flour, mustard oil, peanuts, turmeric powder,amchur powder, salt, red chili powder, cilantro chopped, garlic paste, onion paste, ginger paste, and bhaja masala.

First of all, we have to boil some potatoes, and then we have to mash it properly. After mashing the potato, heat the cooking pan and pour some mustard oil into it. When the oil gets heated up put the mashed potato into the Kadai. After frying the mashed potato for few minutes, then add all the ingredients one by one. Then mix all the ingredients properly with the mashed potato. After some time, switch off the flame and allow the mixture to cool down. After 10-15 minutes, when the temperature of the mixture will go down. Then prepare the Chop by taking small to medium-sized dough from the mixture and shape it properly with the help of the hand. After giving it a proper shape, immerse the Chop into the batter of chickpea flour (Besan) coat it properly. After coating the Chop properly, dip the Chop into the hot boiling oil. Fry it for some time, and when the Chop starts taking the golden color, then remove the Chop from the Kadai. Then serve this aloo chop with bitnoon sprinkled over it bitnoon means black salt.