By Supriyo Hazra
Calcutta, September 28, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / IBNS) Durga Puja is time for trying out the delicacies on the Bengali palate.
Lights, colours, decorations and high spirit is not complete without good food and specially the lip-smacking delicacies that are specially prepared during these days.
So if one is planning for the exact menu he can choose this year to make the season really exciting one then here are few tips that one can follow.
Mahasasthi: The festival commences with Mahashashti as pandals get the last minute touches to welcome visitors. While the organizers decorate the pandals with the colours that they consider to be the most exclusive one, in your home you can cook something really special to herald the festive mood right from the lunch time.
So to start the day one may prefer to prepare some fulko luchi (a secial Bengali fluffy bread) and along with it you may choose alur dam (potato curry), begun bhaja (friend brinjal) or easy looking cholar dal with a topping of coconut to make it really irresistible.
You may prefer to have this menu either for your lunch or your morning heavy breakfast. Even you cannot negate the importance of a beautifully decorated plate of luchi-alur dam for dinner as it is the true choice of any Bengali person.
Mahasaptami: Bengalis are known for their association with rice. And during Puja one cannot think the menu to be comptete without a proper preparation of rice. A Bengali mother will always be seen cooking some delicious Bangali Polau with Dal Pancharatna (pulse), Pabda macher jhol ((Butter Fish Curry)) and a plate full of chingrir malai curry (prawns).
Mahaashtami: On the day of Ashtami Bengalis visit the pandal to offer anjali (special prayer) to the goddess. Traditionally on this day every Bengali household prepare vegetarian dishes.
Khichuri, mixed vegetable curry and Koraisutir (peas) chop, and spicy cauliflour slowly and silently finds a place in the plate of a Bengali on Ashatami.
Mahanabami: Nabami or the ninth day of the festival arrives with a mood of melancholy as it is the last day before Dashami or the terminal day of the festival. Nabami is marked by delicious foods and some mouth watering preparations to make the day really interesting.
If you are really tired of having Bengali dishes all these days, it will not be a big mistake if you choose to change your option and prefer to add some Moglai preparations on your menu.
Mutton Biriyani, Chingri (prawns), Khasir Kasha Mangsho (mutton curry) and Pineapple chutney may feature your dinner before you leave with your family for a whole night 'trip' in various corners and pandals of Kolkata and return back late on Dasami morning.
Mahadasami: Dasami or the tenth day of the festival arrives with a mood of gloom and sadness as it is time for the Mother Goddess to leave earth and return back to her house in Kailash mountains. So after you return from the bishorjon (immersion of Godess at Ganges) you may select Chicken Fried Rice, Narikel Mocha, Rui macher Ganga - Jomuna (fish curry) to finish the day.
Sweets play an important part in any Bengali festival and Durga Puja being the most important event. Rasogolla, Khirer Chop, Sandesh, Kheer kwamola (citrus kheer) ,payesh and Kheer are always there to make your festival days more sweet and spicy.