Monday, 21 January 2013

Eating in Kolkata

So I started this year in India, specifically in Kolkata (or Calcutta). As I was mainly seeing family, most of my meals were home-cooked, and so this post isn't going to be great for eating out recommendations (for that I always consult one of the best Indian food blogs around). Anyway, I did manage to consume an awful lot of mishti (Bengali sweets), discovered that food court eating can actually be pretty good, and had a regular intake of chanachur and other snacks.

Here are some pictures and a few words.

Not a handy snack for the taxi driver, but limes and chillis for good luck and to ward off the evil eye.
Many, many mishti- shondesh, roshogolla, and mishti doi.

More shondesh. Same basic recipe, but they come in many shapes and sizes.

The counter at a branch of Balaram Mullick- an excellent Bengali sweet shop, though the service was somewhat sketchy.

This was the year I had my first experience of eating in some shopping mall food courts. After some (a lot) of skepticism, I was pretty impressed. There were lots of counters for north and south Indian, Indian-Chinese and European food. Everything we ate was cooked to order and rather tasty. Above are some masala dosas from the mini food court that is randomly located in the Spencers supermarket in South City Mall. There's also a Flurry's concession there that did a rather good chocolate cake. Below is my chola bhatura from the food court in the City Centre mall in Salt Lake. The bhatura were more like giant luchis, but that's not in itself a bad thing.

 And also from City Centre was this plate of true fusion food- paneer hakka chow mein. Kolkata has always been keen on its Indo-Chinese food, and I really liked this slightly more sanitised (and veggie) version.

This was also the first year that I saw supermarkets becoming a bit more than a novelty destination, but markets like Gariahat still seemed very popular. When they say it's a wet fish market, they are not joking. I'm still not sure what I was stepping in but it was worth it for the super-fresh fish.

Golda chingri from the market above- these are giant fresh water prawns, which I cooked with green beans.

There aren't that many Indian vegetables that you can't also get in the UK now, but the fruit I've yet to see are these custard apples. These ones were huge and filled with a delicious custard-y goop that you have to  scoop out with your fingers.

Some excellent Bengali home cooking- koroishutir kochuri and aloo dum, a pea-stuffed fried bread with potato curry.

Snacks galore! These were mainly of the crisp variety (always of interest to me) but often with masala flavourings.

I liked this sign- it provides essential information on where the snack vendors are located (as well as the toy shop). 

So Kolkata was rather good for eating. The highlight though was probably the spectacular lunch cooked by my auntie (Joya mashi), which for some reason I forgot to take a picture of. Her idea of a simple lunch of cauliflower bhaji, fried fish, fish curry, prawn curry, dhoka dalna lentil cakes, rice, and tomato chutney, was pretty amazing and not one that I'll forget soon.


Nemo said...

Loved the pictures <3 That is the true face of Kolkata and most importantly, mishti :)

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