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Food in West Bengal

16 Traditional Food Of West Bengal | You Must Taste In 2024

The land of Maach Bhaat and Rosogulla, West Bengal is a popular gastronomy hub of India that offers iconic delicacies worth exploring. From traditional household recipes to enticing street food and of course, decadent sweets, the region’s legendary dishes capture the hearts of food connoisseurs worldwide.

Boasting a distinct culinary tradition, the rich food of West Bengal features influences of the Mughals and the dynasties that have been a part of its history. At the core of the Bengali food scene lies a unique blend of panchforan which is a combination of five essential species (aniseed, mustard, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, and black cumin seeds) and mustard oil that not only adds distinct flavours but also retains the tenderness of the dish.

Home to passionate food enthusiasts with a notorious sweet tooth, this extraordinary destination guarantees a soulful culinary experience. So, buckle up food enthusiasts as we set sail for an epicurean adventure. Enjoy the famous food of West Bengal!

List Of 16 West Bengal Traditional Food

Bengali Food is a unique blend of panchforan which is a mixture of five species (aniseed, mustard, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, and black cumin seeds) and mustard oil that not only adds the distinct flavour but also retains the tenderness of the dish. Bengali Folks are born foodies and are known for their sweet-tooth therefore, they have a lot to hog on. So be ready to drool because their trademarked assortments are absolutely scrumptious.  Take a dekko!

  • Mishti Doi: West Bengal’s Signature Dessert
  • Ilish Maach: King of Fish Curries
  • Sandesh: The Melting in Mouth Sweet
  • Kolar Bora: Banana Bliss
  • Bhetki Macher Paturi: Wrapped in Tradition
  • Tangra Macher Jhol: A Seafood Delicacy
  • Kosha Mangsho: Slow-Cooked Goodness
  • Bengali Cholar Dal: Soulful Comfort
  • Aloo Potol Posto: A Delightful Treat
  • Keemar Doi Bora: A Royal Bengali Dish
  • Daab Chingri: A Delectable Prawn Curry
  • Shukto: A Zesty Combo of Vegetables
  • Dhokar Dalna: A Vegetarian Delight
  • Shorshe Phoolkopi: Enjoy Earthy Flavours
  • Baigun Bhajja: A Crispy Side Dish
  • Chor Chori: A Versatile Meat Recipe

1. Mishti Doi : West Bengal’s Signature Dessert

Mishti Doi

Mishti’ means sweet and ‘Doi’ means curd, Mishti Doi is a classic after-meal-dish with cooling properties. Fermented in earthen pots, this famous dessert of West Bengal is made with milk, curd culture, and palm jaggery.

This easy-to-make sweet serving holds no precision. Ranks at the first position, its popularity, and delectable taste make it a must-try. No festivity is complete without this light and appetizing frozen treat.

2. Ilish Maach : King of Fish Curries

Ilish Maach

The regional specialty cooked with Ilish or Hilsa fish, holds auspicious value in Bengali Kitchen. Known as Ilish Maach, Shorshe Ilish, or Ilish Bhapa, this deep-fried delicious fish preparation of West Bengal has unique taste and flavour. Apart from the succulent taste, the fish also has tender flesh and a sparkling silver colour making it both, tempting and appealing. Made in dried and curried forms, this much-loved local delicacy is served as a side dish with rice.

3. Sandesh : The Melting in Mouth Sweet

Sandesh

This delicate finger dessert is a specialty of West Bengal. Prepared with milk, sugar, and lightly flavoured with cardamom, Sandesh is a Bengali sweet dish that melts in the mouth. There are many variations to the typical recipe of Sandesh. It can be filled with syrup, blended with coconut thereafter moulding into shapes such as conch shells, elephants, and fish. Nolen Gurer is another famous variety of Sandesh made with jaggery (gur).

4. Kolar Bora : Banana Bliss

Kolar Bora

The popular tea time snack of West Bengal, Kolar Bora are banana fritters known as Lord Krishna’s favourite snack. Soft from the inside and crunchy from the outside, these delectable banana fritters or pakoras are a must try.

This typical bong recipe with a perfect balance of sweetness and crunchiness is a must during  Janmashtami    and  Makar Sankranti .

Read More : Culture Of West Bengal

5. Bhetki Macher Paturi : Wrapped in Tradition

Bhetki Macher Paturi

Parcels of whole fish wrapped in oil-basted banana leaves, Bhetki Macher Paturi is hallmark dish from Bengali cuisine. Bhetki fish slices or whole fish are marinated in a mustard paste, panchforan with a dash of mustard oil, and wrapped in banana leaves.

It is steamed on low flame till it becomes tender. As you open up these packets of banana leaves, there is a release of aroma and fresh flavours exquisitly packed in the fish. It tastes as heavenly as it sounds. 

6. Tangra Macher Jhol : A Seafood Delicacy

Tangra Macher Jhol

A seasonal delicacy, Tangra Macher Jhol is a freshwater fish broth. An age-old recipe of this West Bengal traditional food is passed on to generations. It is an ultimate home-style comfort food prepared with freshly ground spices typical of Bong Kitchen. The broth is thick and full of flavours.

As Bengali cooking revolves around using a variety of freshwater fishes, Tangra is yet another fish that imparts a mild aroma and tastes great in any variation. This spicy Catfish curry can be eaten with a ladleful of steamed rice. 

7. Kosha Mangsho : Slow-Cooked Goodness

Kosha Mangsho

Kosha Mangsho is a classic red meat preparation that originated in the British era. This rich mutton curry is Bengali’s answer to Sunday roast. It is cooked in mustard oil, tangy tomato, and yogurt curry with an assortment of freshly ground spices, typical of Bengali food.

The classic mutton curry preparation has an unforgettable aroma and can be your best discovery in West Bengal food. 

8. Bengali Cholar Dal : Soulful Comfort

Bengali Cholar Dal

Chana dal is prepared in almost every kitchen in India. However, Bengali Cholar Dal offers a unique taste and flavour because of ingredients such as coconut and jaggery. Sweet in taste, this classic preparation is also spicy, and packed with wholesome nutrition.

The crunch of coconut and aroma of whole spices seasoned in ghee add wonders to the recipe. It is served with steamed rice and luchis. When in West Bengal, eat chana dal as Bengali’s do.

Read More : Temples In West Bengal

9. Aloo Potol Posto : A Delightful Treat

Aloo Potol Posto

The essential vegetarian Bengali Dish made with pointed gourd (Parwal) and potato is a staple in West Bengal. Hot, spicy, and rich - Aloo Potol Posto is a must-try dish if you want to taste something unique, and comforting.

It is cooked in thick poppy seed paste and coconut puree. With the right amount of salt, sugar, and spices, this West Bengal’s famous food tastes incredibly delicious. It is served with steamed rice striking a perfect balance between simplicity and flavours.

Read more: Tourist Places In West Bengal

10. Keemar Doi Bora : A Royal Bengali Dish

Keemar Doi Bora

West Bengal is certainly a paradise for non-vegetarians. A unique minced meat preparation holds the cultural connection with the family of Nobel Laureate, Rabindra Nath Tagore. Keemar Doi Bora was introduced to the world by Purnima Thakur after discovering the Tagore family’s cookbook.

An invention of the Thakurbari, these fried meatballs in sweet and spiced curd are a twist to the usual dahi vada. Bengalis usually make these balls with mutton or chicken keema. However, for vegetarians, this recipe can be made with soya granules. It is a perfect snack for any occasion. 

11. Daab Chingri : A Delectable Prawn Curry

Daab Chingri

This melt-in-mouth recipe of Daab Chingri is one of the finest culinary delights for seafood lovers. The fresh prawns are marinated in mustard paste and subtle spices, then cooked in coconut shells.

The tender and juicy prawns in this curry taste heavenly due to the unique style of cooking. Mainly prepared during the festival of Pohela Boishakh, Daab Chingri is considered an iconic dish of West Bengal.

12. Shukto : A Zesty Combo of Vegetables

Shukto

A healthy, wholesome vegetarian dish Shukto is prepared with plantains, brinjals, radish, bitter gourd, sweet potatoes, and drumsticks. The typical Bong-style mixed vegetable has a thick texture and aroma of the signature panchphoran.

The traditional Shukto is so delectable that it dominates all the meat delicacies of the state. This bitter and sweet flavoured dish with a creamy texture is cooked in milk. This West Bengal traditional food can make you fall in love with its delectable taste. 

Read More : Famous Festivals Of West Bengal

13. Dhokar Dalna: A Vegetarian Delight