It was one evening that I got this call from Debjani (she blogs at KitchenofDebjani ) and I could sense the excitement in her voice. Someone had approached her if we were willing to collaborate for a Bengali food festival. Last December, Debjani and I had conducted a very successful Bengali pop up, which had become the talk of the town. Since then, we have had several people coming back to us, requesting for another one. However, we were on a silent wait for an approach from a place with a structured set up. That would help us in focusing more on the food, rather than the logistic. Chilekotha was that angel in disguise for us and the planning for the Bengali Food Festival with Madhushree and Debjani started.
Read about chana koraishutir chop which was a superhit in our pop up Link
Bengali Food Festival at Chilekotha started from the 15th of July and will be on till the 31st of July
While curating the menu, we had to keep in mind to offer something exclusive, something that is not already there in the menu of Chilekotha. We also wanted to showcase some of our family recipes and some that we had collected over the years. Both of us have few of the recipes already in our respective blogs. This food festival is also spread over two weeks, giving enough time to our followers and people who enjoy Bengali cuisine, to plan and visit Chilekotha.
Chilekotha is a nostalgia ridden quintessential Bengali restaurant with a very enterprising lady, Deblina Chakrabarty, running the show.
With tastefully done interiors and a menu which raises curiosity, there couldn’t be a better set up than Chilekotha. The chefs are very efficient and helpful. Best part is that they are open to suggestion and are not bothered (or at least not showing ) by our intrusion.
Address of Chilekotha
The formal address is 7/2 B, Dover Lane, Kolkata. It is actually quite easy to find the place. It is in Gariahat area. From Gariahat crossing you need to go towards Ballygunje. The second left turn, right before the flyover ends, leads you to Chilekotha on the left hand side of the road. Another easy way to understand the location is that the Singhi Park Durga Pujo happens right on this road.
Highlights of the menu: A few dishes which are close to our hearts and are the showstoppers in this menu
Bangal Barir Bora Shukto aka Kolmi shaker bora shukto
I have always known shukto in this format. I am yet to share this recipe on the blog but this is a stellar dish. Every single person who has had this till now have spoken highly of it and each time, I remembered by grandmother, who was the creator of this recipe. Dida (my thakuma or paternal grandmother) hailed from Rajshahi. My grandfather was from Pabna. So, technically, I am a bangal and hence the name bangal barir bora shukto. The tempering of the spices in this dish is different from the regular shukto and the bitterness is from the kolmi shaker bora instead of bitter gourd.
This is a surprise dish and pleasantly shocked everyone who tried it. Debjani grew up in a large North Kolkata joint family. With many family members, the ladies of the house, sometimes resorted to shortcut in times of crisis. And as they say that necessity is the mother of all inventions, this particular recipe is the fruit of a crisis. In place of chhanar borar dalna, came roshogollar dalna. Roshogolla is easily available and without much effort or hard work, which is needed to make chhanar bora, this was a superhit at their place.
This is a unique ilish or hilsa dish, almost unheard of. And it is not an innovation or fusion. It is a traditional and authentic recipe which Debjani acquired from her friend’s mother back in 2006. That lady was from Barishal and it was her family recipe. The dish looks very unimpressive and who makes ilish with onions? But the minute you put a spoonful of that light stew in your mouth, the flavours simply explode. Onions and mustard oil is a deadly combination and works brilliantly with the saltiness of the Hilsa.
Macher dimer torkari
Macher dim is fish roe and we Bongs, love to eat all parts of the fish. The common way of having fish roe is to make deep fried dumplings with some spices and have it as it is or add them to a dalna gravy with potatoes. This is different. It was at my office Biswakarma pujo that I tasted it for the first time. Like it happens in many midsized offices, our peon was also the cook and he made this outstanding dish with fish roe and potatoes, which stuck to my taste. I begged Nitya (our peon) to give me the recipe and since then, it has become our favorite. The fish roe is deep fried and then crushed and added to the torkari. It almost looks like grainy posto for afar but at a closer look, you realise it is something else.
Few must try dishes at the Bengali Food Festival at Chilekotha
Bori bhate, chal potol, niramish mangsho, matir harite murgir dom, mawaghater Ilish bhorta, Ilisher lotpoti and many more fascinating dishes are there in the menu. The a la carte has a few high priced dishes like Samudrer dharer kankra kosha, Ishpecial hansher mangsho, chingrir korma and bhektir stew are truly delicious masterpieces. The desserts are daaber roshomalai, where daab or tender coconut is used as the primary flavour. Son papdi Mishti doi cheese cake is a fusion dessert which is utterly divine.
All the details about the food festival is also present at the Chilekotha Facebook Page.
Point to be noted: For the Ilish thala, we are not using khoka ilish. Only Ilish which is more than a KG in weight (the last one was 1.2 kg) is being used.
In case you love doi Ilish then you can check out the recipe here
Here is the menu :-