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Bengali Food

Updated February 2010

Bengali cuisine traces its root to the region of Bengal, which is now divided between into Indian state of West Bengal and the country of Bangladesh. Bengali food consists of staple of rice with various fish, egg dishes, dals and vegetable curry dishes. Food is important part of Bengali culture, which can be seen in the bold flavors of delicious and delicate Bengali dishes. Bengali food use many spices common to entire Indian subcontinent such as cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom and spice mixture garam masala. Mustard seeds are more commonly used in Bengali food than other north Indian cuisines. South Indian cuisine use dark mustard seeds while Bengali cuisine uses light color. Bengali cuisine also uses pungent flavored mustard oil, which is not commonly used in other Indian cooking. Other common five spice mixture used in Bengali  cuisine is panch phoron.


Bengali sweets such as rasgula, ras malai, sandesh,misti doi,  are consider among the best desserts in the world. Bengali usually serve multi-course meal like in French cuisine, which is different than other traditional Indian menu preparation where everything is served in one thali.

Bengali cooking is often synonymous with fish. Even though much of Bengal is not next to the sea, it has many rivers and lakes full of more than 3 dozen species freshwater fish. Bengali cuisine uses almost every part of the fish. For example, fish head often use to make stew, soup or flavor curries. There are countless way to make Bengali fish each depending on personal family taste or regional favorites. Most common way is to braise fish into curry stew, often with seasonal vegetables, yogurt, green chillies, mustard. Frying, steaming (usually inside plantain leaves), roasting and drying, (shuţki) are also popular. Some of popular fish include; rohu (similar to carp), koi magur (catfish), shingi , chingŗi (prawn or shrimp), galda (lobster), and most famous hilsa. Beside fish, Bengali diet also consists of young goat (called Khashi) and chicken.

Bengali Recipies
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